By Kim and Rick Kern
For Pat Darrow, owner of MPD Architecture, it’s all about the job rather than the paycheck. “A project should be based on inspiration,” explains Ms. Darrow. “It should be on the inspiration of the client, what their ideas are, of what they want their building project to be. How are they going to use space? They may have a lot of ideas about what they want, but they don’t know how to communicate it on paper and into math and into art. We’re a servant, basically to the public to bring their ideas and have them materialize.”
Pat’s website bears out this philosophy even more concisely declaring, “We are devoted to the practice of architecture rather than the business of architecture: a philosophy that fosters creative collaboration between architect and client, ultimately resulting in superior projects that are economically viable.”
Of course, running a successful company does not preclude the business side of things, but MPD Architecture makes its priorities people and their projects and leaves the rest to the Lord. “I follow the principles of Jesus Christ and try to emulate how He would want me to do things and treat people and talk to people,” Darrow stresses. “So, it’s all based on that, the Holy Spirit that runs through me. That’s kind of my guiding light!”
As far as mixing business with the artistic pleasure of the architectural process, MPD has found a realistic balance between the two. “Some architects are not very business savvy while some business savvy people are not very creative, but it’s a mixture of the two,” explains Darrow. “You have to use both sides, just like you use compartmentalizing.” Elaborating, she continues, “The bookkeeping has to be done, the payroll. You know what business operations are and you certainly have to keep track of the different phases each project goes through: the feasibility phase, the schematic phase, the preliminary phase, the construction documents and the tech management. Each one of those uses separate talent. Some are more creative than others, but you have to be able to utilize both the technical part of your brain and the creative part of your brain at the same time.”
Ms. Patricia Darrow is the managing partner and founder of the MPD Architecture. She has many years of experience of leadership and architectural expertise in church, medical offices, hospitality centers, manufacturing, and residential design. Under her guidance, MPD has delivered excellence in design, project management, project quality, and client contact over the many years. “We opened the doors to MPD Architecture in the Buffalo region of New York State in the winter of 2005-2006 servicing many clients in the Western New York region,” reflects Darrow. “Since then we have expanded our coverage to include the Northeastern portion of the US, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maine. We are fully licensed and insured in all states.”
Under her guidance, MPD has delivered excellence in design, project management, project quality, and client contact building a stellar reputation along with countless structures. Additionally, Ms. Darrow has managed and coordinated project design teams communicating with numerous regulatory agencies to provide a smooth process for the client, design, and construction teams. MPD does it all, putting the client and their project first. They listen to their ideas, turn them into a design, develop the necessary blueprints needed to obtain a building permit, and act as the client’s representative in front of planning boards, public meetings, and building committees. It can’t get any better if you are looking for an architect.
For Ms. Darrow, architecture and its artistry has been in her blood a long time. “I’m an artist and I was an art major in high school,” she recalls. “I said, how am I going to make money doing art work? But I was very good at building, so I decided to learn the trade. It’s always appealed to me ever since I worked in a civil engineering firm.” Continuing she adds, “There was an architect that was there and I liked what he did and I pursued it. I learned mechanical engineering and civil engineering. I decided, because architecture does basically all of that, I decided, it’s just always been a dream of mine to be an architect.”
Interestingly, Ms. Darrow’s Bachelor’s degree is in Elementary Education while she has also earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture. Her career path played to her strengths almost immediately and it’s been downhill ever since. “Right out of high school, I started with Civil Engineering and then I moved on to Mechanical Engineering for a while,” she notes. “I worked for some architects for a number of years then went back to school and got my Master’s. I passed the licensing exam and opened up my own business.”
Her strong right arm at MPD is her Project Manager and soon-to-be partner, Daniel P. Uebler. Bringing many years of architectural experience, Uebler also has five years of construction in all facets of architecture, planning, design, and project management. His projects have ranged from large hotels across the country from California to Maine, various multi-use buildings, high-end residential homes, and many institutional and educational buildings throughout the eastern seaboard.
About six or seven-years ago MPD was approached by a developer who does church buildings and began adding churches to their roster of projects. They are enjoying widespread success having done churches in New York, Albany, Watertown, Syracuse, and different areas of New York State. In addition, MPD is also licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Collaborating on churches is a deeply satisfying venture for Ms. Darrow and she would like to further develop that aspect of her work. “We’re looking to expand,” she explains, “and we’d like to get more into the spiritual community to work on some more sacred spaces because they’re more the type of people we want to work with.” And while her own faith may prompt that desire, Darrow has a love and respect for all people noting, “Everyone is the same in Jesus’ eyes. We’re all human beings; we’re all sons of God. It wouldn’t ever be a problem to work with other religions.”
MPD has won a number of impressive awards for their work including recognition for Excellence in Design in White Plains, New York, and Excellence for Best Commercial Building, Institutional, Education for the Evangelical Church in Spring Valley, New York.
If you are interested in MPD Architecture bringing your dreams to life, visit their website at www.mpd-architecture.com or call them at (716) 778-7896.