Katie Roden Symonds, Senior Project Architect, JCJ Architecture
Personal careers are often shaped as much by formative experiences as they are from early impressions and interests. This is certainly the case with Katie Roden Symonds, AIA, LEED BD+C, WELL AP, Fitwel Amb., senior project architect with JCJ Architecture.
With a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in building science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Katie’s undergraduate studies began with in an interest in design expression that was intensified by exposure to a highly technical exploration of the built environment. Looking back, Katie recognizes that her experience at RPI was where her strength in design creativity and technical rigor seamlessly came together and connected with her interest in social responsibility and education. These complementary perspectives formed the foundation of her 20-year professional practice that continues to this day.
Katie has championed the practice of sustainable design from the very beginning of her career. In an earlier role, she was an internal sustainable design/LEED consultant for one of the Northeast’s acclaimed firms. Her involvement was fully immersive, from providing guidance to clients during project kick off and conducting charettes to running preliminary energy and cost analysis and writing specifications. What started as a passion quickly evolved into a personal commitment to bringing an integrated and evidence-based approach to the design process.
Over the last 15 years, Katie’s commitment and sense of urgency around sustainability and her resolve to educate clients and uplift the performance of her peers has only increased. In addition to being a practicing architect, she is an adjunct faculty at the University of Hartford’s Department of Architecture. She has presented and lectured at national and regional conferences, co-authored articles, and co-wrote the original U.S. Department of State Embassy standards for LEED/Green building guidelines. She is also an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council Connecticut Chapter and served on the board of directors as chair of outreach & engagement, among other roles. Katie’s current involvement and contributions to JCJ Architecture’s Sustainability Working Group supports its fundamental goals of educating clients, expanding innovation, and implementing sustainable principles in all of the firm’s projects.
As a practicing architect, Katie has played a key role on a variety of projects including institutional, K-12 educational, commercial and religious projects and is currently working on hospitality projects for JCJ. Striving to incorporate an understanding of the client’s needs in every aspect of design, Katie believes that achieving sustainability goals and designing something of beauty are not mutually exclusive endeavors. She continues to embrace the personal impact she can have in promoting environmental stewardship and the ways in which sustainable design can uplift our world at a global, local and individual level.