As a brand new practice started in January of this year, REALM Collaborative is going through the challenges of establishing credibility in a field saturated with well qualified competitors. One of the reasons Brian Bernstein, Carmine Russo Jr., and Nick Gilliland decided to start a new practice was they saw a pattern of high profile projects in the Mid-west and Ohio region, where their new office is located, often times, only being commissioned to high end designers from either the East or West coasts. Brian, Carmine, and Nick’s goal is to increase awareness of local design practitioners that truly understand their local setting in order to promote proper urban design, master planning, transit oriented development, and landscape architecture in the region. With challenges, like Columbus, Ohio being the largest city without a form of mass transit for example, REALM sees opportunities to design better and healthier communities through Visioning, Design, and Implementation.

Because it is a young practice, but with veteran practitioners with a combined 37 years of experience, REALM has to get creative with resources needed to get the job done and ways of finding work. A large scale project is not necessary to get the ball rolling and with proper proactive networking and community engagement, it won’t be long before REALM has multiple projects in the pipeline. In their talk, Carmine and Nick elaborated on the many opportunities available around the city that foster the strong connections necessary to build and sustain a healthy practice. Opportunities like tree planting service and small scale green infrastructure projects may seem inconsequential but actually prove to be rather lucrative in the long term. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Brian, Carmine, and Nick of REALM Collaborative going forward.

Image Credit: REALM Collaborative

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