At Opus, we create flexible and innovative spaces for people to live, work and play. During the design phase, our architects are laser-focused on creating value for clients with aesthetically pleasing spaces that maximize function and enable operational efficiency. It requires people who are creatively and analytically gifted like project architect Lisa Billing.
Building on an Early Interest
“When I was seven years old, I loved to draw and design," Lisa said. “I'd tape sheets of paper together, drawing floor plans on each one of them representing the stories of a building. They were highly amenitized, similar to the luxury apartment buildings we design at Opus today!"
When she was 13, Lisa took her design interest in a digital direction by modeling homes in 3D on her family's computer, demonstrating the thoroughness that makes her an exceptional architect. “I honestly documented every detail in those digital homes, all the way down to the location of every light switch and outlet."
This interest in spatial design and technology, combined with her aptitude in math and problem solving led her to study engineering at the University of Minnesota. “I liked it, but my heart wasn't totally in it. I realized that if I was designing and modeling projects in my spare time, I should consider architecture as a career. I appreciate both the creative and logical process, it was the perfect fit," Lisa said. Lisa sees architecture as the perfect balance of her interest in art and engineering. “Architects help clients create spaces that facilitate collaboration and productivity based on how they make the user feel, but they also perform scientifically with considerations like waterproofing and constructability."
Embracing Technology, Delivering Value
Since joining Opus 11 years ago, the scope of Lisa's work has expanded. Today, she is a project architect, leading projects from
design development through construction documentation and permitting, before wrapping the project up with construction administration. Lisa values the highly-collaborative nature of our model and working with diverse parties, including the client, to create solutions and bring them to fruition. “My favorite stage of a project is the final punch walk," Lisa said. “At this point the building comes to life from a collection of ideas on paper to a tangible space for people to live, work and play."
Lisa has continued her early exploration into technology, helping pilot new technology and facilitating continuing education. She was a BIM early adopter and continues to leverage BIM tools to drive value for our clients.
Lisa and the architecture team have used BIM to deliver value on many projects. The software has provided critical insights to problem solve and visualize the space, including on the Marquette University College of Engineering and The Maven on Broadway. Marquette wanted to put the principles of engineering in the building on display, which included an open central stair. Lisa create a simulated walkthrough with BIM to allow everyone to understand what users would experience as they walked down the corridor to and from the stair. On The Maven on Broadway, the team used Enscape camera views of the interior to help the entire team understand the full impact of a two-story vestibule.
[See how Lisa and our team deliver value with BIM.]
Integrated Team Creates Speed of Delivery
Because our project architecture team works so closely with the full project team, clients recognize speed of delivery. “With our design-build model, we can compress the overall project timeline because our development, design and construction professionals all work together – under one roof, so to speak," she said. “That makes us nimble and able to overlap phases of the project, instead of waiting for each phase to be complete before moving to the next."
Lisa became a licensed architect in 2013, a significant accomplishment that required eight 4 – 6 hour exams and 3,700 hours of experience in 15 categories. She is also a LEED Green Associate. Lisa has served on our United Way campaign committee and the Innovation Committee and currently serves on an Opus Foundation Action Team. She has also supported the next generation of architecture professionals through volunteer work with the American Institute of Architects.
Our associates are talented, dedicated and knowledgeable. They streamline complex projects and always deliver value to clients. Read more profiles of our team.