Meet Nathan Cooprider: Artist, World Traveler and Our Newest Featured Architect

September 3, 2012

Nathan Cooprider is a registered architect with over 15 years of professional experience.  Growing up in McMinnville, OR he was always interested in drawing and inventing.  His path to architecture was a winding one of self discovery.  After high school, Nathan spent some time working in Israel, which he credits with awakening his interest in architecture.  “I was fascinated with the ancient buildings and urban spaces I was never exposed to growing up in McMinnville,” he explained, “I loved visiting the ancient city of Akka, with narrow cobblestone streets, courtyards and caravanserai.  Israel has so many layers of history and culture in its buildings and ruins.”

After his work in Israel, Nathan returned to Oregon to study architecture at the University of Oregon where he appreciated the broad perspective and the expanded vision of the art of architecture.  “The U of O focuses on environmental design,” he said, “but not just from the perspective of preserving the natural environment.  The emphasis was on shaping the environment we live in.  It broadened my outlook on design.”

As an architect, Nathan spent time working in Hawaii where he learned that there is no one size fits all for design and how important the specifics of the place, the climate and the client are in determining the specifics for any given project.  “For example,” Nathan explains, “in Oregon sunlight is a premium and we design to welcome the sun in for most of the year.  In Hawaii, on the other hand, you want almost no direct sunlight and shade is a premium.  In Oregon you orient to sunlight and in Hawaii you orient to ventilation and natural breezes.  A room without breezes in Hawaii is like a room without sunlight in Oregon.”

Nathan has worked with many prominent architects and architectural firms in Oregon including Waterleaf, Terraforma and Nathan Good architects. Nathan says that he has learned so much from these architects and has been fortunate to have had such great mentors in his career.  “My experience with these architects helped me consider how a building impacts a place and environment not just from the perspective of resources, but also from the perspective of culture and history.  The greenest building is the one that is not torn down in 20 years.  A building that works and that people love will be taken care of and should last for centuries.”

Read Nathan’s full interview and learn more about his approach to design and architecture.