Interview with Pierre Moulinier
An interview with Nia Architects’ Designer and Associate Principal Pierre Moulinier
Pierre, other than Anthony, you have easily been Nia’s longest-standing team member. Could you give me a quick overview of your history with Nia, and what you do in your current role as Associate Principal with the firm?
When I first began with Nia in the early 2000s, I was working offsite in larger Chicago architecture firms, where I learned important skills in construction, design, and documentation, mainly on educational and institutional projects. Those early years were also very important to me as a young French Architect transitioning from France to The US and studying in Arizona. After a few years of this, I began working in Nia’s office on senior housing design. By that time, Anthony and I knew each other well inside and outside the office.
Taking to a senior role at the office was normal with our day to day activities; in a small office environment, we are trained to perform all tasks independently or with a team depending on the workload. Design and construction are the two activities I have enjoyed the most, and where I have focused as an Associate Principal, and 20 years passed by really fast!
So what brought a young French Architect to the United States and Chicago?
I wanted to travel while learning new skills away from home. I first experienced the World Trade Center on a foggy day, which visually erased the towers, then the Twin Towers tragically disappeared in seconds, an image that is hard to believe even 20 years later.
French architecture offers almost anything you would wish for, but skyscrapers are just not part of the picture! Chicago checked all the right boxes for me, with an unparalleled blend of nature, urbanism, and architecture!
I think most of us in Nia’s Chicago Office would agree with you on that! What has been your favorite project to work on at Nia?
My favorite projects are ones that we have designed in-house and built: the Mount Vernon Senior Housing near Oak Park and, more recently, multi-unit walk-up buildings near Woodlawn Station.
Other than architecture, what are you passionate about?
Everything that involves arts, from movies to classical music and everything between. On the other hand, I am also passionate about outdoor activities in natural settings.
Nice! What inspires or motivates you in your architecture and design work?
My motivations are optimizing the users’ and owners’ perspectives early on. It is safer to try designing buildings that will exceed expectations while knowing that if something is not as good as we hoped for, which can be on any projects, we still meet the main goals! The details should be easy enough to build and not get changed during construction. My inspirations incorporate contemporary and modern principles that have survived the test of time.
What is your favorite piece of architecture?
I like architects that are minimalist in their statement.
Tadao Ando’s work always strikes me. For a single building, Mies Van Der Rohe’s 1929 Barcelona Pavilion is one “classical choice” and my favorite.
Definitely a gorgeous building! Well, thank you for your time. Is there anything you would want to add to share with our readers?
Yes, I would like to thank Anthony Akindele for sponsoring me, a foreign architect, and giving me the opportunity to work for Nia for so many years!
Designer and Associate Principal
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