Gina Brown remembers almost the exact moment she decided to become an architect.
She was 5 years old, and her parents had just started building a home on a stretch of unpaved road in rural Texas. “Abnormally interested” in the construction process, as she put it, Gina asked her mother, “Who is the person that says what this is going to look like?”
“An architect,” her mom replied. And at that moment, a career that would touch on everything from project management to designing estate homes was set.
Gina was absorbed by how a building went from concept to construction, immersing herself in design books from Ace Hardware. After briefly studying marketing in college – she’d won a scholarship, but “it wasn’t for me” – she turned to architecture and interior design, earning a degree from the University of Houston.
That combination of skills has served her well.
Out of school, she went to work for a small firm, focusing primarily on hospitality design – restaurants and public spaces in hotels. As the only person in the shop who knew AutoCAD, a computer-aided design and software application, she quickly became the go-to professional for an even broader scope of work.
“I had a lot of responsibilities, and I knew how to figure things out,” she said. “I guess you could say I was resourceful.”
Gina’s resourcefulness, combined with her skills as a designer, caught the attention of Newberry in 2006, and she was hired as a design intern. She quickly rose to project manager and associate, and just a few years later became a principal. Additionally, she’s also known to her co-workers as someone who keeps all the internal office wheels turning.
Growing up in the country, and then moving to Houston, shaped her sense of style and value. On the one hand, she respects the humility of rural living; on the other, the refinement of the city. As a result, Gina’s designs reflect a balance between beauty and practicality, and she applies that insight to architecture and interiors that reflect her clients’ identity, personality, and budget.
“I take a lot of pride having clients feel like it’s their project,” she said, “not a ‘Newberry project.’ Our designs aren’t commodities, and they’re not about our egos. They’re about capturing who people are. So we do a lot of listening and work closely with them to make sure we reflect that in our projects.”
A mother of four who loves to cook, Gina has been something of a “pioneer” in helping to shape an office environment that fosters personal and professional satisfaction.
“We appreciate and respect the need for a healthy balance among work, life, and career,” she said. “That means a lot to us and our families.”
Gina’s efforts to support others go beyond her teammates at Newberry. She has taken part in Support for Casa de Esperanza, AIDS Walk Houston, and The Houston Heart Walk, while also assisting in architecture related designs for Galveston Urban Ministries. Though, her most prized philanthropy work comes from the creation of The Marshall Brown Foundation, an organization to assist financially and emotionally to families experiencing the loss of an infant.
Then there’s the matter of a 5-year-old’s moment of discovery becoming a reality.
“My dream was always to be a residential architect,” she said. “Now I get the chance to live it every day.”