Technical focus, coordination part of seasoned architect’s repertoire

Form follows function, and function is at the core of every building project, explains architect Tim Nielsen with CNH Architects.

“The artistic side is very important, but the reality of it is that buildings are technical by nature,” he said. In school, the preparation is about 70 percent art and 30 percent technology, Nielsen explains. In the working world, however, those numbers are usually flipped.

The eight-year CNH veteran is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction. He’s also a Certified Building Official, which brings additional expertise in building codes.

About five years into his 20-year career, Nielsen took a greater interest in building codes and signed up for a course at North Hennepin Technical College. “It’s better to know more about them than less,” he said. Identifying and implementing code requirements in the early stages helps projects to progress more smoothly.

The architect’s list of select projects is extensive, with state and local government work often rising to the fore. One of the main differences between government and private sector jobs can be the number of people at the decision-making table, he explains.

A business project may have one or two owners who are given options and make decisions. Projects for government can involve roomfuls of people from different departments. “You have to listen. Listening is very key when trying to please many people.”

Fortunately, says Nielsen, many government projects involve their own experienced project managers who serve as intermediaries to drive decisions and move things forward.

Principal Wayne Hilbert said Nielsen is detail-oriented and very experienced.

Outside of work, Nielsen enjoys biking, music and sports. He is a resident of south Minneapolis.