Five Minutes with Mark Odom, Architect

by Lisa Davis on March 4, 2019 in Lifestyle, Home,
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Austin architect Mark Odom is focused on creating architecture experiences around transforming old structures into newly designed, modern structures.

Odom and his design studio are known for designing Torchy’s Taco locations and the new Bumble headquarters in the Rosedale neighborhood of Austin. He was already working to restore the iconic Floorcraft Carpets building to its original aesthetic-style of the 1960s, without a specific client in mind. When Bumble approached him, he began reinventing the structure with an unexpected modern-day facelift.

With his attention to detail and a talent for making that which was once old into something new again, Mark Odom is opening eyes and turning heads.

Architect Mark Odom believes in communication, collaboration, transparency, integrity and creativity with each design project he tackles. Courtesy photo

What drew you into design and architecture?

The opportunity to solve problems creatively through our built environment. I love the idea of brainstorming conceptually then being able to think through the intricacies of how the solution will become a reality.   

What was the biggest obstacle when you designed the Bumble headquarters?

Every obstacle presents an opportunity. We had to take an existing building, with its obstacles, and find opportunities that allowed Bumble to celebrate its identity and program without compromise. When thinking creatively, most obstacles can be spun into stories which create site-specific moments that our clients are able to celebrate as their own.

At Bumble’s headquarters in Austin, Mark Odom Studio made a lifestyle-focused work environment a reality for the “female-first” dating app company. Photo courtesy Casey Dunn

What was the best part of designing three different locations for Torchy’s?

The creative flexibility. Maintaining the Torchy’s identity is always on the forefront of every project, however, we’re challenged to interpret that identity differently each time. The shaping of interior space as it relates to user experience is what excites us the most! How are Austin structures different from those in San Antonio? We try to be sensitive to context with all projects. We evaluate many elements before starting a project such as neighborhood, history, topography, climate, user, and adjacencies. These elements allow us to more specifically identify differences between the two cities and how each community is currently maintaining their identity while expanding their built environments.

“Torchy’s Tacos challenges our team to explore a different appeal and concept with every new location we’ve been fortunate to work on,” says Mark Odom. Photo courtesy Andrea Calo

Which of your design projects has been the most challenging?

Each one of our projects has its own set of equally challenging moments which just makes us better problem solvers over time, so it’s difficult pinpointing the most challenging project. But, the projects that often provide us with the most problem-solving opportunities are those that don’t resonate with context or surroundings and we’re left creating an environment that’s not tied to any existing patterns. These types of projects give our team opportunities to grow in their craft and project management.

Cover photo courtesy Casey Dunn

Austinite Lisa Davis is the Editorial Assistant at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a student at Concordia University-Texas.