John Hilmes

John Hilmes

New York, NY, US



How people use any product and how to improve that experience (whether a chair, website or building), is a source of endless personal fascination and curiosity. I enjoy the rigorous testing of both novel building envelopes and digital user interactions, as much as the “blue sky” thinking that precedes them. I am fluent in digital prototyping processes and have had the privilege of working in one of the most advanced digital fabrication labs in the country. I feel comfortable designing everything from new laptop stands for my desk to floating data centers at the city scale. I like shifting nimbly between scales to prevent the dreaded "lock-in".

I derive as much pleasure in designing objects and products as I do the collateral and events that accompany their creation. When given the responsibility of coordinating the work of a group into a journal, exhibition or opening, facilitating the cross-pollination of these diverse practitioners has proven a challenging but incredibly satisfying aspect of each project. This process of synthesis and remixing is fundamental to my design DNA. I am endlessly curious as to what these unexpected combinations can produce.



BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group, New York, NY, US, Designer

Member of the Google North Bayshore Campus design team. Design team member for the “Hot to Cold” exhibition (and monograph) at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Sep 2014 - current

rvtr, Ann Arbor, MI, US, Research Assistant

As part of a Research Through Making grant project, was part of a team responsible for the conceptual design and prototyping of a lightweight, pneumatic wall system.

May 2013 - Sep 2013

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, US, Digital Fabrication Lab Assistant

Trained on the waterjet, knife cutter and CNC routers. Responsible for training students, milling prototypes for students and faculty, and maintaining a clean and orderly facility.

May 2011 - May 2013

Northworks Architects & Planners, Chicago, IL, US, Staff Architect

Consulted with clients and specialized in 3D representation of projects from concept through construction. Implemented firm’s 3D software suite. Performed and documented site surveys.

Aug 2007 - Nov 2008

Wells Associates, Des Moines, IA, US, Intern

Model builder. Computer draftsman. Site surveyor.

Jun 2005 - Sep 2005


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, US, MArch, Architecture

Aug 2011 - May 2014

Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis, MO, US, Bachelors, Architecture

Aug 2003 - May 2007

Denmark International Study Program, Copenhagen, DK, Architecture

Aug 2006 - Dec 2006

Areas of Specialization