Opening doors for residential design

NAIT grads support Architectural Technology students with scholarships, mentorship

You won’t hear the words “cookie cutter” around the Boss Design Ltd. offices in St. Albert. That’s not the kind of work they do.

As owners of one of the largest residential architectural design businesses in the Edmonton area, Jeremy Walter and Brett Johnson (both grads of Architectural Technology ’03), have deliberately set out to avoid that kind of work.

There are no gimmicks, sales pitches or cheap discounts.

“We have built our business solely on referrals because of the quality of our work, our integrity and our passion to design homes people are proud of,” Walter (pictured right) explains.

Award-winning Boss Design hires NAIT alumni

Founded in 2006, Boss Design now has 11 designers in-house who create designs for about 200 homes a year. All but one are NAIT alumni.

Clients come to Boss Design for creative expertise and a spirit of collaboration to build their dream homes. Sometimes the process starts with a client’s sketch as a way to start the conversation, explains Walter.

Their work is now recognized nationally. In 2014, Boss Design, in collaboration with Alair Homes, received a national and provincial award from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association for best renovation over $500,000 and in 2016, again with Alair, they received an award for whole house over $500,000. Walter estimates the company has received over 20 awards for its design work in the last several years.

Company makes an impact on student learning

NAIT students studying Architectural Technology are impressed to learn about the calibre of work the company does, says instructor Bruce Tuchsen (Architectural Technology '83). Typically, Boss Design representatives return to NAIT every spring to review student designs and recognize award winners. It’s a rewarding exercise for everyone.

“The impact on our students is immeasurable.”

 “When the students hear what Jeremy and Brett have to say about their company and see examples of their extraordinary projects – coupled with their learning experiences here at NAIT – the impact on our students is immeasurable,” he explains. “Students see what they’re capable of.”

When they were students, there wasn’t much course content devoted to residential work, Walter and Johnson point out. After consulting with program instructors, a critical residential design elective was added, a move they say has helped the program grow. Students now see residential design as a career path.

“Not only are they generous donors to our scholarships, we value their input, knowledge and experience.”

In 2016, Walter established a scholarship for students with the highest academic achievement in residential construction and design.

“The folks at Boss Design continue to be a huge asset to our residential design elective course,” says Tuchsen. “Not only are they generous donors to our scholarships, we value their input, knowledge and experience.”

Published on April 26, 2018