TZL 1432 (web)



Paving the way: Diana Brenner Principal at Brenner Design (Indianapolis, IN), an award-winning, woman owned architectural firm that designs and constructs innovative buildings and interior spaces.


B renner is the first woman architect to design a new building on the campus of Purdue University and Ball State University. She is one of only three female Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in the state of Indiana and the only woman ever to be awarded a Torchbearer Award in Architecture from the Indiana Commission for Women. “When I first started in business and people asked me what I did, I responded, ‘I’m an architect and I own my own firm.’ The next question was always, ‘Do you work out of your home?’ … I felt like they asked that because I was a woman. I don’t believe a man would have been asked that question. I feel proud that I have been able to sustain my practice for 30 years with no partners and have been able to work on high profile projects,” Brenner says. “Hopefully I’ve paved the way for women in this profession.” A CONVERSATIONWITH DIANA BRENNER. The Zweig Letter: You started the firm in 1992. What are some of the most significant changes your firm has experienced over the past 30 years?

Diana Brenner: There are three: 1. Technology. We have had to constantly invest in technology in terms of software and hardware to keep up with changes from CADD to Revit. We started with Revit early on – when it wasn’t fully usable for interior architecture – stopped for a while, then started using it again when it became more prevalent with our clients. We also use billing and procurement software that didn’t exist years ago. 2. Communication. We use email for most communications, and the Zoom, Teams, and Go To Meeting platforms became most useful during COVID. We are to the point where we don’t need a receptionist because the call volume is so low compared to email. 3. Work ethic. We’ve seen a definite decline in the work ethic of new hires. It’s difficult to understand why. I always look to see if the candidate worked during high school and/or college. I feel like that is a better indicator of whether they are reliable and responsible and will show up on time and make their work and career a priority.


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