Perspectives 02.04.2020

Conversations with Colleagues: Josh Robinson

Josh is a designer in our Atlanta studio
In this photo, my mother and I are at the hospital during one of my days off from grammar school.
Q: What drew you to the design profession, and what’s keeping you here?

A: I had a unique childhood: I grew up in a hospital. While most kids were outside, my sisters and I went to work with my parents, who were both department heads for the respiratory therapy unit. I spent every snow day, holiday, and extra weekend there when they had to work. We loved it. The hospital to us was a place filled with mystery and chaos. I recall waving to babies in the nursery, playing with kids my age that were in the children’s hospital, and swiping pudding cups from the cafeteria. It was interesting to see the general public’s outlook on hospitals and healthcare facilities; it was alarming that people would rather try self-remedies than seek professional help due to their perception of healthcare facilities. From a young age, I felt a calling to mitigate this issue. After formal schooling, and working for a few years, I now understand the power architecture has to change the lives of those who inhabit or interact with buildings.

Q: What role does diversity, inclusion, and engagement play in the design profession at large?

A: When we have diversity and inclusion within the design profession, we design better projects. By having a melting pot of designers from different backgrounds, we all have unique perspectives during our design process. The synthesis of these perspectives often leads to a great project, that not only services one group of end-users, but all. Further, being inclusive of different–and even controversial–design ideas not only has the ability to lead to better project outcomes, but can inspire us as individual designers.

My best friends and me, moments before we graduated from Kennesaw State University in May of 2019.
Schoolmates and professors at AIA Atlanta day at the capital 2018.
Q: As a leader in the design industry, what steps do you take to expand professional design opportunities to members of the black community?

A: I try to stay connected to the next generation of designers. I am an active alumni member of Kennesaw State University’s National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (KSU NOMAS). On a bi-weekly basis, I meet with a set of mentees from KSU to discuss their career path and current issues they are facing in and out of school. In doing so, I hope to give guidance to these future leaders, but I also learn as much from them as they do from me.

Q: In what positive ways have your experiences at Perkins&Will changed you, personally or professionally, and/or your outlook on the world?

A: Perkins&Will has changed my outlook on the world; I believe in the power of possibility. Every day I am with an incredibly talented group of people, and with just one idea, we can make change in so many lives.  I know that we can make the impossible a reality because of who we are as a firm and what we stand for.

First day of work at Perkins&Will as a designer.