10 Qs: Getting to Know the People Behind the Projects…Nan

posted September 26th, 2019 in Culture

by Nan Schramm


Nan Schramm, Senior Associate, wears a button-down top, metal bracelets, glasses, and smiles while working on a design at her workstation

“There is a trend afoot for hospitals to achieve Net Zero – this new frontier is very exciting to me as hospitals are the largest drawers of energy per building type.”

Nan Schramm, LEED GA, EDAC, Fitwel Amb., is a Senior Associate and leads the interior design team in the Washington DC office.

1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Western Massachusetts in The Berkshires, an idyllic and culturally rich area.

2. How did you get into design?
After studying theater at a small liberal arts college in Vermont, I realized it would be hard to make a living in that arena, so I went to New York City to study Interior Design which had always been a passion.

3. Who influenced you?
My first boss, a woman architect with a small practice in the Flat Iron building in NYC. It was rare in those days for a woman to have her own practice and I learned a lot from her.

4. Why healthcare architecture?
After losing a job doing residential design during a recession, I took a job with a healthcare design architectural firm, and never looked back.

5. What inspires you?
I love spending time outdoors and hiking on the weekends. Nature never ceases to inspire me, patterns found in nature are an incredible complement to the healing process and influence most of the healthcare interiors I do.

6. What advice can you give young designers?
Make yourself heard and network by being a volunteer, and find a mentor to help you further your career.

7. Most memorable projects?
I’ll never forget my first healthcare project, Smithers Alcoholism and Treatment Center, housed in a triple landmarked Beaux Arts mansion on Park Avenue in NYC. I naïvely thought all healthcare projects were going to be that exciting.

8. What is your favorite part of the design process?
That “ah-ha” moment when I can see in my mind what the interiors will look like. It happens in a dream, or when I am driving.

9. Where do you see healthcare design in 5 years?
I feel like we will see a lot more community outreach by the large healthcare networks to help thwart disease before it is an issue in communities. There is a trend afoot for hospitals to achieve Net Zero – this new frontier is very exciting to me as hospitals are the largest drawers of energy per building type.

10. How do you unplug?
I have not had a TV in 8 years. This is not to say that I do not binge on Netflix as I do, however not having that distraction helps me power down when I am home. I am an avid hiker and have started amassing camping gear so that I can start doing overnights in a nearby National Forest. I am also a volunteer at a dog shelter and walk dogs for a few hours every Sunday.

About Nan Schramm

LEED GA, EDAC, Fitwel Amb, Senior Associate

Nan has been a practicing healthcare interior designer for over 30 years. While acting as Healthcare Forum Director for the New York City Chapter of the IIDA, she served as staff designer at a 1,500-bed nursing home and hospital for ten years. Being on-site enabled her to see the lifecycle of both designs and materials as well as bear witness to the special needs of a patient population. Nan has continued her career defining a vision for healing environments across all spectrums of care, while also writing and participating in committee work for The United States Green Building Council - National Capital Region. Nan is an avid hiker and enjoys volunteering at a local dog shelter.

see full bio



Sign up for news and notifications from E4H

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: E4H Environments for Health Architecture, 185 Talcott Road, Williston, VT, 05495, http://www.e4harchitecture.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact