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Heather Rowell, AIA, RID

Leaders Council Member; Principal, HR Design Dept


Heather Rowell, AIA, RID, a Houston-based architect, co-founded HR Design Dept with Eric Hughes in 2018. Their practice operates with a belief that architecture should be collaborative, responsive, and responsible. Prior to founding HR Design Dept, she was a principal owner of Content Architecture in Houston for 7.5 years. She holds a Masters of Architecture degree from Rice University, and a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from North Carolina State University.

Heather has taught architecture design studios at the Rice University School of Architecture and the University of Houston College of Architecture and Design. She has dedicated much of her extracurricular time to promoting the advancement of women and minorities in the architectural profession. In 2017 she was elected as the first Chair of the AIA Houston Women in Architecture Committee. She is an Executive Board member of the Rice Design Alliance and actively involved in AIA Houston’s Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Women in Architecture, and the Rice School of Architecture Mentorship Program (RAMP).

Motivation to serve on Leaders Council

I am a 2002 BEDA graduate from the COD. Throughout graduate school and my career that has followed, I have felt fortunate that I received a strong design foundation at NC State. I often boast to others how rewarding it was to have been immersed in an environment of diverse design thinkers. I was introduced to ways of problem-solving through the lens of my chosen path in architecture – but was also given the opportunity to be engaged with and inspired by those in other design disciplines. The school’s approach had an enormous impact on my trajectory – it broadened my perspectives, expanded my network, and prepared me to be a stronger collaborator. The Design Leaders Council gives me the opportunity to celebrate the legacy of the school I’m so proud of, expand the program’s engagement with the community and our alumni, and support ongoing initiatives to ensure the future success of the school and its students. I’ve chosen to build an architecture practice in Houston, Texas, but I am grateful to reconnect with NC State and the College of Design by serving on the Council.