Achieving licensure is a rigorous and demanding endeavor. In New Mexico, licensing requirements include completion of a degree program at an accredited institution, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the licensing exams – i.e, the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), and National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). It takes significant time, commitment and focus.

We think it’s a big deal when our design interns reach the milestone of professional licensure. Licensure qualifies our team members to advance their careers and become leaders and project managers that contribute great value to our practice. We are thrilled to share the accomplishments of two promising designers – Chrystal Taliman and Jackie Bryan – each recently successfully completed their testing and have been promoted to Associates at SMPC Architects.  

We asked these two women about their achievements and how they position themselves within design practice.

Chrystal Taliman, Associate / Interior Designer

Chrystal recently completed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Exam for licensure and is a member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). She has worked with SMPC Architects for just under two years but has over eighteen years of experience within the design industry, seven of which have focused on Interior Design.

Jackie Bryan, Associate / Architect

Jackie recently completed The Architect Registration Exams and associated requirements for licensure. She is a member of the AIA, ASLA, ULI, and the Arid LID Coalition. She is the Co-Director of Education on the Board of Directors for Albuquerque AIA Chapter and sits on the steering committee for the Arid LID Coalition. Jackie has been with SMPC for over four years.

What projects have you been involved with here at SMPC?

Chrystal:  I’ve worked with a large variety of interiors and user groups, such as Sandia Resort and Casino, Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, Sandia National Laboratories, and Santa Fe County Administration Building.

Jackie:  Many of my projects have been with education clients. Working with Albuquerque Public Schools, Health Leadership High School, CNM, and New Mexico School for the Arts. CNM will be the first project that we may get to collaborate on.

What importance do you place on licensure?

Jackie:  It signifies my crossing of a threshold and entering a new professional environment; communicating an agreement of trust between the public and myself, showing a level of expertise to clients, and placing me in a position to protect my profession. I take it seriously because of the effort I made to get here.

Chrystal:  I agree with Jackie, it is an indication recognized in the design industry that I am proficient in the principles of interior design and show competency in understanding and applying current codes established to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. I am passionate about my profession and its integrity and have dedicated a great deal in order to receive this recognition.

Design vision must come from somewhere, where do you find inspiration?

Jackie:  Words. I tend to write lengthy narratives guided by design briefs. I try to explore and explain the design problem to myself; placing myself in scenarios to understand use, purpose, and desire. The same string of descriptive words will generate differing solutions unique to each individual mind. I love that early flexibility.

Chrystal:  Art. I am inspired by all medias and have found it to contain a variety of attributes such as expression, reflection, and remedial; I like that it is non-discriminatory and provides everyone with a voice. It is interesting that art has been here since the beginning and has established itself as a form of historical documentation and preservation.

Can you describe your ethos?

Chrystal:  I’m driven by cultural experience. Being of Native American heritage, I was taught to walk in two worlds, my heritage world, and the urban world. It has afforded me to see things from two very different perspectives and to understand that everyone and everything has a culture; inherent cultures that arrive despite nationality, race, or creed. For example, spatial arrangements of architecture for healthcare provides and serves for a culture of healing; similar to a program for an educational facility would serve and provide a culture of learning. It is the inherent “culture” of architectural space that I enjoy as an interior designer because created space has an impressive influence upon the human psyche.

Jackie:  I agree with the impact of space on the psyche of individuals. Spaces that only solve for the functional use miss an opportunity to improve the mental and physical health of the users. Those users could be humans, trees, microbes or any other living organism. It’s important to consider whole ecosystems when designing, to find or enhance systems that provide the most benefit for the most users. I think we can all live better if we design to seek balance.

In your personal workspace, what is your most needed item?

Jackie:  I start my day with a mantra and a quote. It puts me in the right headspace to stay positive and focused. I am also quite attached to my steel beam footrest.

Chrystal:  I have a giant mousepad, I feel it provides great range of motion for 8 hours a day of “mousing”.

Let’s end with the best advice you have given or received.

Chrystal:  Learn to float.

Jackie:  Make courageous decisions.