Building Relationships: Brian Akert Expands Portfolio at Holland Basham

There are a lot of moving pieces that go into designing a building. For Brian Akert, associate partner with Holland Basham Architects, all projects hold one essential element in common: a galvanizing relationship between architect and client, something for which he has shown a singular skill throughout his career.

“What I have traditionally done here at Holland Basham is a lot of the front-end schematic design programming,” he said. “I’m really heavily involved up front, trying to understand what the wants and the needs of the client are, taking that information and turning it into 3D space.

“To understand how everything comes together on a site, you have to first look at it from a programmatic element, trying to figure out how two spaces might be able to conjoin together to create something greater than what they are separately.”

Committed to the Client

Akert said this close working relationship with customers not only provides the nuts-and-bolts information and vision for the building to come, but it also helps keep his focus right where it belongs.

“I’ve always taken the approach that it’s not a building for me, it’s a building for the client,” he said. “They’re the ones who are going to be inhabiting it and using it day in and day out.

 “Success for me isn’t a magazine cover, but that a client feels like they were listened to and that their needs were captured within that 3D space.

“That’s the goal, making sure the clients are happy at the end of projects and even within the first 12 months of being within a new building. If they’re happy, we’re happy.”

Akert caught the bug for architecture early. A creative kid, he was fascinated by how art and technology could intersect to make something tangible.

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“I always enjoyed creating as a kid, whether it was Legos or blocks. I enjoyed a lot of art classes as well,” he said. “I want to say it was about high school when I got into architecture as a field. I took some different computer-aided design classes and 3D modeling classes that really started to spark my interest in how you can create things, create environments. Using computer software was a really fun way to create space and create environments.”

One of the Team

Earning his Bachelor of Science in design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009 and his Master of Architecture, also from UNL, in 2011, Akert quickly found a home at Holland Basham.

“We work together as a team here quite often,” he said. “I’m trying to think of any project that I’ve been in a silo on, and I don’t think it exists. We always use multiple professionals – project architect, project designer, interior designers. There’s always a team that’s around every single project. It’s a very collaborative effort.”

This human expertise is aided greatly by technology, something Akert and his colleagues have steadily embraced to help spur innovation and accuracy in design.

“When I was in school, these tools were kind of in their infancy, but today we are just trying to stay on top of the various visualization components,” he said. “It’s about how we can use computational design to optimize those view corridors and help make our job easier.”

When he’s not working, Akert is equally passionate about being involved in community groups, through which he works to improve quality of life for all.

“That’s kind of who we are as architects; we tend to look at organizations that build the community,” he said. “I really value the different partnerships that we have and the different ways we can improve the community as a result.”