Being an architect: from paper to brick and mortar

Being an architect: from paper to brick and mortar

MARQUETTE — Architecture is all around us. Our homes, schools, and workplaces all started as ideas, designs, and plans.

“At the core of what architects do is we create the environments that people live in, and so you’re creating the experience that humans have,” said Barry Polzin, Principal Architect at Barry J. Polzin Architects, Incorporated.

If you’ve been to Marquette’s lake shore, you’ve seen a lot of experiences created in part by architect Barry Polzin. From the refurbished Flanigan Brothers building to new condos popping up at Founders Landing, Polzin has helped shape the look and feel of the area. While computers have become a useful tool for putting the plans for such projects together, much of that look and feel still originates on paper.

“The design process is still really a thinking process, and personally I still do it with a pencil,” said Polzin. “I still draw, draw out the concepts, draw out the initial ideas. There’s something magic about that hand and brain connection that happens, and you don’t get that with a computer.”

Being an architect is more than just creating a plan— it also requires careful coordination with engineers and developers to execute that plan precisely.

“It’s a matter of bringing all the pieces together and keeping the whole project in mind at all times,” added Polzin.

After spending over thirty years practicing his craft in Marquette, he is finally tackling the restoration of the Holy Family Orphanage.

“I’ve been trying to put a project together there for my entire career,” said Polzin. “In fact, I took my first drafting class in the basement of that.”

Polzin says that the long–incubating project is now going well; the National Parks Service just approved a part two historic tax credit application, and the project is about to go out for bids.