Tuesday, December 26, 2023
By: Tatiana Rodriguez
When Brent Linden (BDES ’98) began studying at the University of Florida, he was unsure what his career path would be. Luckily, his roommate just happened to be studying at one of the top architecture schools in the country. After watching his roommate draw and make models in their apartment, Linden knew architecture was the profession he wanted to pursue.
Now, the Gator graduate is the co-founder and principal of Linden, Brown Architecture. Some of his job responsibilities include project leadership, corresponding with consultants, and just running the business overall. As a small firm with four people, everyone “wears a lot of hats,” Linden explained.
After graduating from the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Linden worked in New York for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. After getting his master’s degree in architecture, Linden moved to Portland and worked for Allied Works Architecture for 14 years as an associate principal and design director. He eventually ran a small practitioner practice for about six months before deciding to co-found Linden, Brown with his partner, Chris Brown.
Brown and Linden built up a rapport while working at Allied Works together, and Linden said that they realized that they have very similar values in terms of design and execution of projects, and how they would like to collaborate with teams inside the studio and even outside the city. Their similar value system is what made it clear that they would be a good team.
The most rewarding project that Linden has worked on with Linden, Brown was for Sequitur Wines, where the firm restored an old barn that would have likely been demolished into a grand fermentation hall.
“In the end, I think it’s pretty exemplary of the values that we espouse here, both through creating and collaborating with communities to make something exceptional, and also through the spatial qualities and sustainable qualities of reuse.”
Earlier this year, this project was highlighted when Linden, Brown won the Architectural Record Design Vanguard award, which is awarded to eight firms internationally. It has also recently been recognized with an Honor Award by the Oregon AIA.
“It feels great to be recognized, especially as a small firm, because it validates the amount of time, effort and mental energy that we put into the work,” Linden said. “When you love doing what you do and you get that kind of encouragement, it’s validation to keep pushing it as hard as we’re pushing it.”
Now, the firm is working on a project for the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph, Oregon. The center has community workshops, art studio classes, and an exhibiting gallery. Linden, Brown will be adding on to the building to accommodate a new ceramic studio and community event space.
Thinking back on his time at UF, Linden said that his favorite memory was being in the studio.
“I really just loved the studio atmosphere,” he said. He would be there late at night doing drawings and thought it was exciting. He said that he’s glad that UF was more design-focused because that’s what he was passionate about and what prepared him to become an excellent designer.
However, he also said that this made his time as a student more challenging. He was a “studio rat” and didn’t join clubs because he was so passionate about the design aspect and doing studio work. Paying attention to his other classes and taking advantage of the programs that UF has to offer are the two things he would tell his past self and prospective DCP students.
“Be prepared to engage fully in the program,” Linden said. “You can take away from it everything that you give to it because the program is so strong that if you’re willing to be fully engaged in the architectural education, you can get a lot out of it just because it is such a strong school.”