Dubbe Moulder Architects  |  Jackson - Wyoming


We keep you informed of our business happenings and post about a variety of subjects on architecture.

Welcome to our new architect intern!

Ethan Moulder

What inspired you to want to be an architect?

My father was the one who inspired me to be an architect when I was a child. I knew I wanted to be like him when I was about five years old. From a very young age, watching him work made it clear that it was a profession I'd be interested in later. I enjoyed looking over his shoulder and seeing what he was doing on his drafting board. I spent a lot of time at DMA as a kid, even on the weekends. I didn't even think it was a job as it didn't seem like work but more of a hobby, something fun to do, and to realize that he is a professional and gets paid to draw every day and be creative was inspiring. It's something I really like about this profession. Also, as a child, playing with Lincoln Logs, K’Nex and Lego sets helped me spark creativity.

Where did you get your Master's?

At Kansas State University, the same university as my father. They offer a Master’s as a five-year program.

Was the education you received up to your expectations?

Somewhat: school prepared me for the creative and conceptual side of architecture, but it didn't prepare me for the technical and business aspects of the profession.

When do you envision getting your license?

Hopefully in September of next year. I am currently studying for my fourth exam of six.

Would you want to have your own firm in the future?

I’m thinking about that more now, as opposed to when I was employed in the last firm, because I’m getting closer to being licensed and, while working with my father here, I can learn so much about the business and the type of architecture I want to create. I’m hoping this experience will prepare me for having the opportunity to have my own firm. Yet I’m aware there are many different directions I can take once I get licensed.

What software do you like using?

I like to use SketchUp the most because it is the least restrictive. It allows me to push and pull surfaces around in a playful way, much like clay.

Where were you employed after receiving your Master's?

For a little over two years I worked at a commercial architecture firm in Kansas City called BRR Architecture ; they are the second largest architecture firm in Kansas City and they cover a large range of projects in the commercial industry ranging from shopping outlets and centers, grocery stores, hotels, offices, and movie theaters.

What type of work were you doing?

When I first got started there, I was working on Walmart remodels across the country for about a year and a half. I then switched departments, and I was working on a new construction project for an AMC movie theater. I also worked on a renovation project for a seven-story movie theater in New York City, which was the most interesting.

Why did you leave that firm and come to DMA?

Some of the commercial projects I was involved with lacked creativity. Also, working for a smaller firm should give me more opportunities to get exposed to all phases of design, from schematic design, to construction administration, and everything in between. The work DMA provides is also more customized and there is more design required. I will additionally be exposed to more client interaction and project variety and have more responsibilities.

So far, how is it different working at DMA from what you were doing before?

What I was involved with in the previous firm was prototypical, so I was more of a drafts person than a designer and that could feel a little repetitive. It was interesting from a construction documents standpoint, as I was able to complete bid sets of drawings quickly and efficiently all by myself. I also did some project managing, which was useful. Overall, it was a good experience, but in the end I wasn’t learning as much as I’ve learned here in a very short time period.

Which skills do you think you will be developing with DMA?

Skills in regard to communicating with clients, figuring out what their end goals are and providing a solution to their problem. Also skills involving design, from the programmatic phase to the time the drawings go out to bid; basically the whole design process, and that includes hand-drafting. Some people might think I’m crazy because I'm a millennial who still considers hand-drafting an important skill. It might be viewed as old school technology by some but I think it's important to preserve the artistic nature of architecture, and I definitely want to improve this skill, especially since my father has proven to be successful with it and is willing to teach me.

What and who inspires you in architecture?

Going from an idea on paper to a physical form is very inspiring, especially when the end result has such a large impact on the people and the environment. As far as architects, I find Frank Lloyd Wright very inspiring, because he was such a perfectionist and his work is so neat and orderly. While I'm still inspired by him, I also find inspiration in other more modern architects like Renzo Piano, an architect who grew up with a father who was a contractor. He is very innovative and does a good job exploring new technologies and finding new ways that building tectonics can go together using different materials. He bridges the gap between architects, contractors and engineers. Understanding all building professions is something that the modern day architect should so. An architect is a Renaissance man /woman and their knowledge should cover many fields.

What is the experience working at DMA so far, as opposed to when you were a kid coming here?

Having known this office for a long time, I feel comfortable being employed by both my parents. I've also grown up hanging out with the staff so I've known Kurt for a very long time, and Ben for ten years now. Everybody's very friendly, and I enjoy the small office culture. It's a unique opportunity for me to learn directly from the principal of an architecture firm; it was not possible in the previous firm, there are so many people you have to get to before you can talk to the principal, and oftentimes in larger firms the principals aren't designing much of the work.

So it's amazing to work close to my father, as he has so much experience and so much to teach me, and I have so much to learn. Having the mentor-mentee relationship is going to be very beneficial to my education, and future as an architect.

Is there a type of architecture that you prefer?

I find the prairie style interesting. It originated in Kansas, based off the wide open spaces, and I like its low profile and horizontality. Of course I'm also biased because I like the modern rustic style that my father uses every day ; after all he's the reason that I got into architecture and I've always loved seeing what has come out of this office. That's why I'm here, because I'd like to design the types of projects that my Dubbe Moulder Architects has been creating for the last thirty years.

What do you love to do on your free time?

I enjoy being creative and building things, such as a coffee table I recently designed. I also play sports: softball and sand volleyball are the main ones at the moment. Golf, camping and fishing are other fun activities during my time off. I basically like being outside, it clears my head.


Dubbe Moulder Architects