For International Women’s Day this year, we want to celebrate Dwyer Architectural, the women-owned firm with locations in Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, New York. Established in 2010, their nineteen-person firm has worked tirelessly within the healthcare, medical research, and higher education fields to create stunning designs for their clients. In 2013, they applied for and were accepted into the New York State Minority and Women Business Development (NY MWBE) program, allowing them to become a certified women-owned firm, a change that has helped them make a name for themselves within the architecture industry.
Originally, the purpose of the NYS MWBE program was to assist in the development of entrepreneurship among minority persons and women in New York State.
“I think this certification has done exactly what it intended to do,” said Kelly Yahi, AIA, NCIDQ, LEED AP, associate at Dwyer Architectural.
Kimberly A. Dwyer, managing partner and founder of Dwyer Architectural explained that among their firm’s original goals, one was always to become a certified WBE.
“Being the new kid on the block, it was one way to get our firm looked at in a different way than our competitors,” said Dwyer. “Soon after our formal approval as a WBE, a state agency took a chance on us and gave us the opportunity to demonstrate and validate our abilities as a firm. The certification continues to allow us opportunities including teaming with national firms that has offered us continued growth.”
Upstate University Hospital Community Campus Maternity Renovation in Syracuse, NY. Image courtesy of Dwyer Architectural.
One of Yahi’s favorite projects was the Upstate University Hospital Community Campus Maternity, particularly because she began designing it after the birth of her youngest child.
“I had just gone through the experience in a different hospital,” said Yahi. “So here I am designing one at another hospital, and I thought about everything that happened and the things that we needed. We were able to implement it all! I visited afterwards and heard the reactions of the nurses, doctors, and patients, and they were just so happy. It was awesome. That is why I love my job.”
Curt Henry, senior designer at Dwyer Architectural, shared how his favorite project to work on has been the renovation of the Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, New York.
“This particular project has been really big in helping us develop how we're utilizing BIM,” said Henry. “We’re renovating almost half of the building and adding three separate additions, so it gives us the opportunity to explore using BIM in existing conditions, which we haven’t had a chance to do before.”
“It’s one of my favorites because I’ve been working on the initial planning efforts for this project since I started at Dwyer. It has given me the opportunity to develop relationships with many people throughout the hospital while working through all the iterations of the design.”
Rendering of the Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, NY. Image courtesy of Dwyer Architectural.
As far as Vectorworks’ role in their projects, the versatility of the software allows Dwyer to easily move from simple modeling, to putting together their presentation, all the way to creating construction documents.
“What’s nice about Vectorworks is it’s given us the ability to grow the way we implement BIM at a steady pace, which is helpful because implementing it all at once is a large undertaking and requires a lot of foresight and planning,” said Henry.
“Healthcare projects can be a lot of renovations, so you don't necessarily have the opportunity to go in and model an entire existing building just to swap out a piece of imaging equipment,” Henry added. “But again, because of the flexibility of the software, and now that we've grown so much and are starting to get these larger projects, it's starting to grow with us as well in terms of not just the size of our project, but how we implement BIM.”
We asked them what advice they would give to firms and architects who are implementing BIM and they said, “Tackle it slowly, and be sure to ask your clients what exactly they want to do with BIM. What does it mean to them? And what are their goals?”
Not only has Vectorworks software allowed them to create beautiful designs, but it has helped this women-owned firm to grow within the architecture industry.
“After three years of success with our private clients, the certification got our foot in the door within the competitive NYS agency client base. It gave us the opportunity to prove ourselves as capable and talented individuals,” Yahi continued. “So, in doing that, we've grown exponentially in the past nine years.”
Happy International Women’s Day to Dwyer Architectural, and all other women-owned firms out there!