ADC All-Stars: Paloma Tapia, Designer

Are you fresh out of college and looking for an architecture firm that will give you all the tools you need to thrive? A stuffy and traditional firm bogged down by old-school hierarchy isn’t the vibe. You need a place with opportunities to flourish, and that’s what you’ll find at Architecture Design Collaborative (ADC). At ADC, your opinion counts as soon as you join the team, and you’ll get the opportunities to leave your mark on your world through design that every artist strives for!

Since 2014, ADC has been a nationally ranked architecture firm that specializes in innovative designs, which is only possible because of our team. Read the next installment in our ADC All-Stars series to meet Paloma Tapia, an emerging Designer we’ve had the pleasure to work with! 

Meet Paloma Tapia, a Designer at ADC!

Born on February 6th, Paloma Tapia is ADC’s resident Aquarius! She more than lives up to her Zodiac’s reputation of being highly intellectual and creative, as she has shown time and time again that she never suffers a drought of inspiration. 

Paloma joined the team after graduating from Cal Poly SLO’s architecture program, and she credits her time in university as teaching her how to think creatively, the basics of architecture and building, and how to hone her eye for design. 

“As an architect, it’s so important to be open to observing and soaking up as much knowledge as you can. I like to approach every task as a learning opportunity. College teaches you a lot, but I’ve found entering the real world and professional workforce requires much, much more learning. I’ve embraced that here.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

Paloma definitely practices what she preaches! She may be a recent grad and new to the field, but she said that her perspective is her work superpower.

“I’m well aware that I just graduated university recently and am just starting my career, but I bring a fresh perspective and new creativity. And I love that, at ADC, they value that. No matter your title, you’re a valued company member.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

Paloma has been devoting time to forging a new career path but says she’d like to do more volunteer work. When she’s not working, she likes to make jewelry, take dance classes, draw, paint, go thrifting, and hang out with her cat, a plump orange and white kitty named Archie. 

As for Paloma’s personal superpower? She can observe people and the environment around her to find compassion and understanding for others.

“No one would disagree with that. It’s something Paloma’s especially good at. And in a firm that puts such a high premium on collaboration and adaptability, it’s made her an great asset from the moment she walked through the door.”

Chris Weimholt, Principal, ADC

From her desk, you can hear her listening to The Black Keys to get in the design zone or episodes of her favorite podcast, Financial Feminist. She says the podcast teaches her how to manage her finances while providing insights into our society’s patriarchal systems that affect finance.

Outside of work, Paloma’s favorite book is The Alchemist because it made her rethink her approach to life, and her favorite movie is Jojo Rabbit because it evokes every human emotion within two hours. 

What Paloma Loves About the ADC Culture! 

As we mentioned, Paloma joined the ADC team as a designer right out of college in August 2021. She’s working toward getting licensed and focuses primarily on helping out the architects with their designs and drawings.

She loves that every day is different and she hasn’t been pigeonholed in a single role, which has been exciting because she’s eager to get experience early in her career. 

“ADC was the perfect firm to start my architecture career after graduation. I get to work on different projects and help out, and it’s really great for discovering your passion in the field. You can get five years worth of experience here in just two years, so I’ve learned a lot. It’s been invaluable.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

But she also cites the office layout as something she loves about working here. She didn’t expect it to be so open and egalitarian. 

“Coming into a firm, I expected hierarchy and other typical office dynamics. But that hasn’t been the case. I appreciate how at ADC, we have all our desks together in a common space, regardless of position or seniority. It makes it easier to collaborate with my peers and superiors, and I can work closely with senior designers and even the company’s principals just by turning around. It nurtures collaboration and communication. Everyone is a resource, and everyone’s happy to help you develop and reach your full potential.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

Paloma has contributed to several projects, but her favorite was probably Casali Aliento. She says it’s one she was able to get more involved in. This was a permanent supportive housing project in Oxnard, and was a motel conversion project. 

She said that converting an abandoned motel was a great experience. She had fun adding kitchenettes and turning this motel room into a space where people can live. She even had the chance to go and meet some of the residents who live there.

“It really put things into perspective when I met the residents. In this field, you’re actually making a difference in people’s lives–a meaningful difference. It was an intriguing and fulfilling experience. At ADC, I love making a difference in the world.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

Honorable mentions for her favorite projects are the Alexan Victoria Gardens because she was able to spend more time working on creating color schemes and exercising creativity. And Montclair Station holds a special place in her heart because it was the first project she worked on and taught her the basics of multifamily design. 

But Paloma has also enjoyed the vibe at the ADC office, especially when celebrating holidays. Her favorite celebration is Halloween. 

“Last year, we had a big Halloween party that was super fun. We got into groups and decorated our desks and some people went all out. The office was fun to walk into, and the costumes and food were a real treat. It showcased the creativity of our team. Last year, I did a Dia de Los Muertos theme with makeup and buttons, and I put some skulls and flowers on the desk. It was a lot of fun.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

Paloma also loves company events, like happy hours and other activities, that contribute to our collaborative and inclusive culture! She says that the team finds opportunities to bond, and everyone makes it a very inclusive and welcoming work environment.

“It’s a diverse team, which I love. People here are open to all sorts of people and beliefs, and there’s no hierarchy when we get together. Because we have an open office, we’re always sitting next to each other. As an entry-level person, I’ll sit next to principals and design managers, and everyone gets to know one another on a personal level. There’s no awkwardness between bosses and employees or anything like that.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

As for the social events she’s enjoyed the most? She says that ADC throws a mean happy hour, and sometimes they even get taco trucks to come during lunch. And of course, the annual bowling tournament is one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year! 

“The bowling tournament is always a lot of fun. Last year, the residential team won. So hopefully we can keep that streak going. Between us, I don’t know if we’re going to keep the name, Phoney Bologna, but I hope we do because I already have the t-shirts made. We might even do full outfits head-to-toe this time.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

Most importantly, if Paloma had to pick the things about our company culture she likes most, she’d say it’s the work-life balance, the fact that ADC trusts and values its team members, and our ongoing commitment to transparency and open communication. 

And if she had to think of one word to describe ADC? She said that she can think of lots of words, but she’d pick collaborative. Even if it sounds cheesy!

“On Wednesdays, everyone’s in the office, and we can all talk. And the office layout and the openness of it helps with that, too, because we can turn around and talk to each other or ask questions. Even though I’m an entry-level person, I still get asked for my opinions and ideas, and I think that’s really special in a firm. They truly value everyone’s input.”

– Paloma Tapia, Designer, ADC

Do You Want to Join a Team of All-Stars and Create Innovative, Inspiring Spaces? Apply Today to Join ADC!

If you’re fresh out of school, you deserve to work at a firm that gives you the resources and support you need to not just lay the foundation for your dream career but break ground and start building it. And when you join ADC, we empower you to do that. Ready to architect the career of your dreams? Visit our Architecture Jobs page to apply today to join our team!