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Interview with CRAN Architect Matt Tindall

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The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) is a professional community through which residential design architects exchange and cultivate knowledge of custom residential design. Nichiha is a proud supporter of CRAN and we are pleased to share an interview with Matt Tindall, Tindall Architecture Workshop, Greenville, South Carolina. Matt is a residential architect and president of the Greenville chapter of CRAN.

Please share with us information about your practice and your background in architecture?

I have been practicing architecture for about 15 years and residential architecture, specifically, for the last 11. Before starting Tindall Architecture Workshop, I was the residential studio director for a larger firm based in Greenville. They were a great firm, but they were a very large corporate entity. About three and a half years ago, when I decided there were some things I wanted to do differently, I left that firm and founded TAW.

At the beginning it was going to be just me working out of my house doing residential work only. About six months in, I was way underwater with work so I hired my first employee. Three years later, I now have four full-time employees including my wife, who is a partner.

On your Houzz profile, you mentioned that you are not corporate, and describe your company as intentionally “small, local, normal and easy.”

Yes, we try not to be a “firm.” To try to give you a sense of how we operate, we all work from home. Obviously my wife and I work together at the house. Our three full-time employees, who are all registered architects, work out of their homes. It just so happens that we all live in the same neighborhood in downtown Greenville, all within walking distance.

Sounds like an interesting approach. Please share more.

We have a small office we use for presentations and conferences with clients, but that’s it. So we have little to zero overhead, we’re flexible, and we can be anywhere we need to be at any time. All the tools we need follow us around. 

We’re not trying to play the architect’s role, even though that’s our profession. I get up and go to work in shorts and flip-flops. That said, I haven’t had a single client complain that I don’t come across as professional and presentable. Architects tend to speak their own language and then use that language when they are trying to convey something to their clients. And it’s like a lawyer talking at you in legalese and you’re nodding your head like you understand, but you really don’t. We try to be people the clients relate to. Not dumbing it down, but putting things in ways that clients understand. We realize that we are not talking to other architects. We’re talking to people that hired us because they don’t know architecture. For that reason, we’ve intentionally stepped back from the corporate notion of what an architect looks like and sounds like. We don’t wear round wire-rimmed glasses, black turtlenecks and all that stuff. We are who we are. And I’ve found especially in the residential market it makes people feel more comfortable because you are just a normal person.

What is the service area for Tindall Architecture Workshop?

We work primarily in South Carolina, but we are licensed in North Carolina so we do projects there as well. Our work generally extends an hour and a half radius around Greenville. It’s approximately a 40-mile radius.

Please share your approach to residential design. What philosophy animates how you work?

From my experience, I’ve learned that every project can be a great project. For that reason, we purposefully entertain anything residential for our clients.

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