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Meet Nima Yadollahpour of ONY Architecture in Leather District & Back Bay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nima Yadollahpour.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I remember the first time I thought about becoming an architect. I was 10 years old. My family and I were traveling in Europe at the time and seeing the historic buildings and monuments amazed me. I remember one of my favorite hobbies then were making hotels and other buildings by taking cereal boxes and cutting windows on the sides, building floors out of cardboard, and making little elevators with fishing line as a way to pull them up and down. A few years later when my parents decided to build a new house, the entire process of design and construction fascinated me, and at that point I knew that I wanted to become an architect.

Fast forward about 10 years and after graduating from Syracuse University School of Architecture in 1998, I worked at a couple of architecture firms in Boston. One was a larger, corporate architecture firm and the other was a small studio led by two Harvard architecture professors. Even though both experiences were great, I always knew and wanted to own my own practice. The challenge of starting a new business from scratch, finding clients, and designing projects for them was very exciting. I was 30 years old when I quit my job and decided to strike out on my own. My wife and I had been married for two years and we had just bought our first home. The added pressure drove me to work harder and better to succeed; because I had made up my mind that there was no option to fail – to go work for someone else.

Along the way there have been many challenges, including the great recession which hit my industry harder than most others. Through it all, what has motivated me the most to survive and succeed, has been the dream of having my own architecture practice. More than 12 years since founding ONY architecture, I’m still pushing forward.

Has it been a smooth road?
In the beginning, the biggest challenges were finding clients who would trust and hire a brand-new company. I had come from working on corporate and research facilities and buildings and had started a practice focusing on residential architecture. I had little to no references for that type of work. I had a couple of small projects I was moonlighting while still employed, and when I took the leap I really had to stretch every dollar. The first several months were very challenging, but one of my first clients referred me to someone they knew who had a relatively large project in mind. I interviewed and ended up getting the commission. The timing was critical, and it really was the big break I needed. It allowed me to set up an official office in Boston (instead of working from home), and little by little more work started to come in.

Several years later, when in late 2008 and early 2009 the economy collapsed like most others it affected my business tremendously. I remember reading articles in the Boston Globe about the 40% rate of unemployment among architects. Like the beginning, this was a huge challenge. Again, I had to make every single dollar stretch, frugal with all expenses, and go above and beyond for the clients I had. Having a small/boutique practice allowed me to ride the waves of the recession better than some of the larger firms, and I managed to steer through the hardships.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the ONY Architecture story. Tell us more about the business.
My business is called ONY architecture. It is a small/boutique architecture and interior design studio based in Boston. It was founded in 2005.

We specialize in mainly residential design, whether it’d be lofts and condos in the city or new houses and renovations in the suburbs of Boston. About 85% of our work is residential and the balance involves office space design.

Being a modernist, we tend to work on contemporary, modern design though have experience in historical and New England vernacular architecture. Being that Boston and New England homes in general are built in a more traditional style, we’ve been able to carve out a niche in a more modern, minimalist design aesthetic. We’ve been able to really create our own architectural language which truly distinguishes us from most. Even though it tends to be more contemporary, we believe it’s timeless and can have a broad appeal.

Because of our work, I’m proud to say that I was selected as one of five under 40 designers in New England by New England Home magazine a few years ago.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Architecture is one of the oldest professions. It has gone through some changes over time; however, as a whole our profession is still what it was a few hundred years ago. What tends to change are trends in design aesthetics and building technologies. Design production during the design process has evolved and over the next 5-10 years it will become faster and more efficient for architects to design and coordinate all the different facets of a project. In addition, the technology we use to convey our designs to our clients will be more convincing. Either by the quality of 3D renderings, or even the use of virtual reality for clients to experience the design of their new home before beginning construction. In addition, the awareness and desire for a greener and better environment will mean that our future homes, schools and offices will function much more efficiently, and will be built more and more out of sustainable materials.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
ONY Architecture

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