Introducing, Tom Walker!
Meet Tom Walker, Board & Vellum’s newest Site Design team member. Tom’s been building, drawing, and designing for as long as he can remember, inspired by the times he shared with his parents camping and gardening. Outside of work, Tom still loves to spend time in the great outdoors and is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in his faith community.
February 2, 2021
My name is Tom and I’m thrilled to be joining the talented multi-disciplinary team of design professionals at Board & Vellum.
When it comes to design, I think I’m tough to pigeonhole. I really enjoy thinking about the big picture and how everything fits together, but I also tend to dwell on the details – maybe certain things others aren’t always paying attention to.
Starting at a young age, I’ve always had an interest in design. From designing houses with Microsoft Paint on Windows 95 to spending hours hand-drawing cars for an imaginary car company I created, I spent most of my childhood drawing, designing, or building something.
Where this love really found its home, though, was outside in my passion for plants and the natural environment. The roots of this affinity may be owed to growing up camping and hiking around the Pacific Northwest with my dad and gardening with my mom.
Whether I was building a makeshift dam with rocks and sticks on one of the many rivers my dad and I camped on or creating a beautiful new garden with my mom, I think one common thread that has driven my passion for design is a tendency to get lost in the process as my mind wandered, thinking about the possibilities.
I remember during one Thanksgiving when I was in high school, my uncle telling me about landscape architecture. It seemed to bring all of my interests together so, after graduation, I began to pursue this career path.
Growing up just north of Seattle, I rebelled against my parents – both WSU Cougars – and attended the University of Washington where I received my Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Minor in Urban Planning. I then worked for several design-build firms with a focus on residential design, where I helped homeowners create their dream landscapes.
After a few years, a growing fascination with the urban environment and a desire to expand my knowledge led me to start thinking about the bigger picture. I had a strong desire to experience something new so I hopped on a plane to the UK and attended the London School of Economics where I earned a Master of Science in City Design and Social Science.
Through this program, I had the opportunity to explore the fabric of different cities with diverse cultures and gain a deep understanding of the social and economic factors that lie beneath the surface of the built forms we see. I was able to really start seeing how spaces and systems relate to one another. A big takeaway from this time is that design is not just about aesthetics and the physical spaces we inhabit, it is also an avenue for addressing social, economic, and environmental shortcomings.
I’ve spent the last 6 years with a focus on public landscape architecture and planning working at multiple scales in the rural and urban context, but there was still a missing piece. In grad school, I gained an enthusiasm for multi-disciplinary design as I collaborated with professionals with different backgrounds and skillsets. I realized how important having input from multiple perspectives is to the design process. So the opportunity to join Board & Vellum, (a multi-disciplinary design firm with a collaborative process and this same ethos) was a natural next step in my career.
Outside of work you’ll probably find me out with friends, looking for a new brewery or eatery in south Seattle, or out exploring our beautiful mountains and waterways, skiing, hiking, or boating. I also enjoy working on my house and yard, reading about cars and current events, and traveling and spending time at my family’s cabin on Hood Canal. Beyond this, I am very passionate about LGBTQ+ inclusion in faith communities and am part of a leadership cohort for an affirming Christian organization that works towards this end.