Five Questions With
Who is Sims Key?
Sims earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University in 2000, primarily in photography and design. He also studied architecture for 4 years at Clemson University, earning his Master of Architecture in 2006. Sims joined Equip Studio in 2011, after working for 5 years at ELS Architecture and Urban Design in Berkeley, California. At ELS, he was involved in several award winning projects ranging from master-planned communities to natatoriums to mixed-use projects. At Equip Studio, Sims has been the project architect on numerous projects and project-types. He excels at effectively and efficiently managing project teams, whether it be a new project or renovation; a church project or a cafe; a single client or a building committee.
Sims has a passion for helping people come together and work well as a team. “I love when creativity and hard work are applied to problems with many constraints and great solutions are achieved. I enjoy contributing to communities, especially those that are in need and lack opportunity, bringing together resources and needs. Achieving a community of flourishing, whether it be an office culture, an impoverished neighborhood, a church, or my own family, excites and motivates me.”
The community that Sims inhabits is primarily with his wife (Kate) and 3 children (Ansley, Charlotte and Curtis). He also spends a lot of time with his Grace & Peace Presbyterian Church family as they seek to love and serve the Poe Mill neighborhood. Living in and loving downtown Greenville, Sims is a member of Greenville’s CEOs for Cities cluster as well as helping out at the Frazee Center.
1. Before starting Equip Studio, you spent several years at an architecture firm in Berkeley, California. What was it like living and working on the West Coast?
I had a great experience working out there. The two main differences were that there was so much development work going on everywhere all the time and everyone votes differently. I was able to work on some enormous city center developments in Fresno, San Jose, and Las Vegas. The design principles are very similar on a fifty acre development and, say, a porch renovation, but the amount of players that have to come together to make it happen prove it to be a very difficult and political process.
2. You received a bachelor’s degree in Art before making the switch to Architecture. Why is it so hard for you to make up your mind?
I really had no idea what I wanted to do coming out of high school, which is why I attended a liberal arts college. I just kept taking classes that I hated and would scratch majors off the list (fortunately for me, Furman didn’t have architecture, so I wasn’t able to scratch it off). I did find a lot of enjoyment in the design and creation of photographs, pottery, sculpture and drawing so I continued on that field. A few mentors in my life started encouraging me to give architecture a try after college and I felt like the skills required really used some of my gifts.
3. As a self-described “day trader” one of your computer monitors is dedicated entirely to stock tickers. Is it difficult to concentrate on your work while you watch yourself lose money in real time?
No one is supposed to know this.
4. You enjoy exercise and ride your bicycle to work everyday. Since removing your training wheels, what is the greatest thing you have ever done on a bike?
The two greatest things in the world for me have always been the NCAA March Madness tournament and the Tour de France. I took up cycling in grad school once my basketball skills digressed due to my vertical going from 6 to 3”. Amid this new cycling addiction, a friend of mine and I started dreaming about following the Tour de France around one year on our bikes. Well, in 2009, we packed up our bikes, flew over there, and watched Lance get his butt kicked in person. I quickly realized that those hills they climb are kind of tall…and steep.
5. You are freakishly tall but never made it to the NBA. What advice would you give a young person with a desire to play professional basketball so that they don’t make the same mistakes that you did?
Be taller and quicker and better at jumping, shooting and passing. But I did score 27 points one time, although we lost that 8-year and under quarterfinal game.
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