MHTN Professional Spotlight: Ben Hansen

Here at MHTN, we strive to make visions a reality. We want to recognize those who make this possible by highlighting our talented team members.

benhansen

Ben Hansen brings a passion for learning and educational spaces to MHTN. We asked him to share a bit about himself.  

Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I grew up in a place that I affectionately refer to as Utafornia.  Surprisingly, not many people have heard of it.  My parents separated when I was very young and for most of my childhood my father has lived in Anaheim, CA and my mother in Sandy, UT.  Considering I was never too far from the Wasatch Mountains, Disneyland, or sunny beaches, Utafornia was a pretty cool place to grow-up. Starting in 2004, I studied Architecture at the University of Utah.  I met my lovely wife Kira at the University of Utah and we married in 2008. In 2010, I graduated with a Master’s of Architecture and have been with MHTN since.

When did you first know you wanted to work in architecture?

When I was a young boy, my stepmom would quiz me every year about my likes, dislikes, and goals.  The answers I gave would then be meticulously logged into a type of journal.  Inevitably the question would come up, “What do you want to be when you grow-up?” For the first few years, I would respond the same way that most boys my age would respond by sounding off answers like fireman or astronaut.

I believe I was in the third grade when I decided to actually put some thought into the answer.  Instead of naming a default response, I asked my stepmom what the options where.  Among the list of professions, my stepmom mentioned something I had never heard of before, Architect.  I proceeded to quiz her on what an Architect does.  Being a huge fan of Legos, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and Erector Sets, I was fascinated with her response.
My parents supported me in my new found interest by getting me involved in construction projects, enrolling me in drawing classes and going on trips to places like the Hearst Castle and the Getty Museum. It was during my studies at the university that my perception of architecture changed, from buildings being objects to be admired into my current design philosophy of buildings being about people and for people.

What are you passionate about and how does that intersect with architecture?

I love to learn. When I was young, my dad would often advise me that, “It is just as easy to fall in love with a rich girl as it is with a poor girl” and “It is important to get a good education.”  I didn’t do so well at listening to his first piece of advice. However, I really listened closely each time he would tell me how important education was.  The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve wanted to help others to have positive learning experiences.  I have felt very privileged to have worked on projects that encompass a higher level of learning from LDS temples to K-12 Schools that are infused with 21st Century Learning Concepts.

What do you most love about your current job?

Being part of the K-12 team, I have really enjoyed working with students and educators to imagine or reimagine how their facilities can better support education.  Last year, MHTN facilitated a workshop with students and teachers from the Logan City School District.  This workshop was unlike any I had ever experienced, as far as receiving feedback and input from students.  As a result, the LCSD built a couple of prototype learning spaces within their existing high school.  Seeing the reactions of the students as they experienced their new learning spaces and watching them recognize that their opinions mattered will always be a highlight of my career.   

What are some interesting things about you? What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

When I’m not at work, I’m spending time with my wife and two kiddos.  You will often find us walking the trails around or house and nearby lake, playing croquette in the park, or preparing brisket and ribs on our smoker.  As often as we can, we like to travel with the hopes of experiencing new foods, discovering new places, meeting new people, and enjoying the vernacular architecture of different regions.