Method Architecture is a seven-person architecture and interior design firm specializing in experiential and place-based projects. Method’s typical projects include historic preservation, urban and mixed-use, education, hospitality, and high-end residential projects. We spoke with founder and owner Josh Kunkel to learn more about him and his business.
When did you realize you wanted to be an architect?
I actually realized a bit later in life. I had always wanted to be a meteorologist, but I took a drafting class in high school and was then hooked on being an architect. When I graduated, I applied and enrolled in Oklahoma State University’s architecture program and never looked back.
When did you realize you wanted to own your own business?
I have known since maybe high school that I would own my own business or be a principal at a firm. My dad is a small business owner, and I’ve seen the ups and downs, but I’ve also seen how good it feels to be going and doing your own thing.
How do you set yourself apart from your competitors?
We create places where people feel they belong. All too often, much of the architecture that’s created doesn’t relate to the individual person. We accomplish this by listening and celebrating the diversity of viewpoints of each project team. We are a diverse firm, currently 80 percent female and 30 percent Hispanic. That’s almost completely opposite of a typical architecture firm, and we love it.
How did you decide to locate your office in the Kendall Whittier District?
It’s all (former Kendall Whittier Executive Director) Ed Sharrer’s fault! My family and I attended the KW Food Truck Festival a few years back, and it was the most perfect day. The crowd was the most diverse we had seen in Tulsa, and we loved it. We felt that we belonged there. I was currently working for someone else, but we decided that day that, if I were to open a firm, this would be where we would do it. So, two years later, we did.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from reading, traveling and talking with other interesting people. I also draw inspiration from my wife and four kids. It’s much different navigating the world with four little ones who are ages six and under. When we do travel, I always look to experience great places and figure out how I might bring them back to Tulsa. Reading helps me gain a wide perspective on ideas and new ways of doing things.
What has been the most challenging aspect of owning a business?
Underestimating the constant and pressing need for cashflow. It’s kind of like the surfer riding a wave: it’s great when you are riding on top, but you can easily fall over and crash into the rocks.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of owning a business?
It’s incredibly fulfilling! I was able to make a role shift to focus more on the things I am best at: identifying and sharing the vision, creating a best-in-the-industry culture, and building great relationships with clients who share our vision and values. It’s extremely rewarding to work side by side with my talented team. They really are the best at what they do.
How do you stay innovative?
An incredible thirst for knowledge. I’m constantly reading or listening to something. Physical books, audio books, blogs, podcasts, news articles, etc. Last year I read 21 books, and this year, with the addition of audio books, I am on track to read between 50-75. There are no new ideas, there are only new perspectives. I try to discover as many of these ideas and perspectives as it helps me be a better leader.