Thomas Merchel

Design Technologist

At SMMA

  • Tom manages SMMA's building information modeling (BIM) content library 
  • Created and oversees the maintenance of construction documents template for the firm's non-institutional commissions
  • Supports the proposal/interview process and client engagement by supplying pursuit- and project-specific visualizations (e.g., renderings, animations, virtual environments)
  • Develops efficiencies across SMMA's various departments and areas of expertise

A Focus on R&D

Tom views his role in the firm as unique in that, in many ways, it is centered on research and development. As a part of the firm's Design Technology Group, he is responsible for discovering and testing new applications, and blending nascent and existing technologies. 

“I’m always going to seminars, reading blogs, watching videos—keeping track of how things evolve and when they emerge,” he says. “Take VR, for example. The fact that we’ve been able to onboard and begin utilizing it so quickly has hugely benefitted not only how we convey design intent, but how we engage clients in general."

Literal and Figurative Building Blocks

Like so many who pursue a career in architecture, Tom's love of building and design was fostered by a childhood spent playing with Legos. "I used to buy the sets, but then go off the cuff and see what I could create without instructions," he says. "I've always been interested in finding ways to work faster and more efficiently, and design technology allows me to pursue broad architectural innovations without having to sacrifice involvement at the project level."