WBA Meet the Team: Tyler Malouf

Tyler Malouf joined the WBA team in December 2020 as a Project Manager in our Jackson office. Malouf joined the firm after six years at firms in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an Alabama native and graduate of Auburn University’s School of Architecture.

When/How did you become interested in Architecture?

I fully credit my art teacher during my senior year of high school. While trying to figure out where and what to major in, she suggested Architecture because of my love to create. I quickly applied and got accepted to Auburn University’s architecture school thereafter and am always thankful for her guidance and suggestion.

Tell us about your favorite project and why it is special to you.

If you mean projects that I have designed, I haven’t lived in Jackson long enough for that to happen here. A project that I am really looking forward to working on is the new Mississippi Forestry Association headquarters that will be built here in Jackson. I come from a family rooted in the timber and lumber business, so I grew up surrounded with all aspects of forestry- including a saw mill in my backyard. So, to be able to design a building with the goal to use primarily all wood products is a dream project, yet feels natural to me.

What inspires you both professionally and personally?

Being an integral part of the built environment by having a part in creating it excites me daily. Seeing the process of a 2D drawing come to life and knowing that I have (hopefully) helped create a better place keeps me inspired both professionally and personally. It never gets old thinking “Hey! I helped build that, and I am proud of it!”

Favorite podcast, book, or film?

Favorites are hard for me, but any podcast about true crime. Any film with Robin Williams. Currently really into any book set during the WW2 era. I just finished The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah and would say it is my current favorite, until the next one…

Do you have any hidden talents?

Having completed my architectural thesis at Rural Studio and getting to build the project my team and I designed, I learned how to complete electrical, plumbing, tile and wood work. I own more power tools than my husband (sorry, George).

What is your favorite meal?

I have had some great meals in some amazing restaurants in my life,  but I would say my most favorite ones tend to be a home cooked recipe shared with my family and a bottle of wine or two. I married into a Lebanese family, and thankfully love the food- so cooking Lebanese family recipes have been really fun.

When you need inspiration, where do you turn?

Art. I like to scroll the internet and “shop” for art, most of what I cannot afford. Regardless if I can or not,  seeing what other artists create gives my right side of the brain a spark when it needs it.

MEET THE TEAM: Nico Forlenza

With over five years of experience at firms in Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas, Nico Forlenza officially joined the WBA team in May. He was initially drawn to WBA’s unique portfolio of architecture and interior design projects as well as the team of talented individuals he would soon be working alongside. 

When did you become interested in architecture/interior design?

I honestly more or less stumbled into architecture.  I always have had an interest in puzzles and problem solving and there’s a variety of different fields that revolve around that.  When it came time to choose a major I visited an architecture office as well as an engineering office and the architecture office seemed way more fun.  That’s how I ended up in architecture school and ultimately came to love this profession.

Tell us about your favorite project and why it is special to you.

I haven’t been at WBA too long so my favorite project I’ve worked on so far was at an old office.  We designed the corporate headquarters for LifeWay in downtown Nashville.  That project stood out to me because it was extremely thoughtful in the way it took cues from not only the neighborhood around it but also the people that would come to occupy the space.  It’s this people-centric approach to design which is very evident in WBA’s work and ultimately attracted me to the firm.

What does your ideal day look like?

An ideal day for me would be a regular college football gameday.  Getting to go back to campus, hanging out with all my old friends, and eating tailgate food on a crisp fall day is the best thing in the world.  

Favorite meal?

Instead of my favorite meal the best meal I’ve ever had was during my study abroad semester in Rome.  We took a day trip to Napoli, where pizza originated and found a little hole-in-the-wall pizzeria run by an older Italian couple that had an ancient-looking pizza oven carved into the side of the wall.  It was hands down the most amazing thing I’ve ever had.

If you could travel anywhere in the world during these COVID times, where would you go?

If I could travel anywhere during COVID it would be to Iceland.  It’s isolated but beautiful and I’ve always wanted to see the northern lights.

Current favorite TV series/book/podcast?

Currently, my wife and I have been working back through old seasons of Friday Night Lights.  It definitely still holds up.


The entrance of the Wellness Commons on University Avenue. Photo by Rob Mohr (C’21).

By Madison Sellers
Junior Editor

There has been a clear effort by the University to expand mental and physical health resources this semester to combat new stresses on campus due to the pandemic. This effort has led to the growth of new programs like Peer Health Educators, increased offerings of virtual mental health workshops and peer support groups, and free flu vaccines to be provided by University Health Services. The construction of the new Wellness Commons had been planned long before COVID-19 struck, but there’s no better time to promote student health and well-being by opening a new, centralized health resource center on campus.

The Wellness Commons is one component of the University Commons project to enhance student life, which also includes the Learning Commons in duPont Library and the future Social Commons. Originally, a plan was designed in 2014 for one building to house the Learning, Wellness, and Student Commons together, but the design was changed from one building to three for better distribution across campus. 

The Wellness Commons will be the new home for the University Wellness Center and the Sewanee Outing Program (SOP), as well as Sewanee FitWell and a bookstore. The bookstore is now open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m and carries similar items like bluebooks, snacks, school supplies, and Sewanee gear. The SOP is currently still located in the Bishop’s Commons, but its future location is the bottom floor of the Commons next to the Wellness Center.

The central location next to McClurg will give students easier access to health resources, especially services provided by the Wellness Center. Previously located next to the Southern Tennessee Regional Health System Hospital, a long walk from main campus, the University Health Service (UHS) is now fully open to students on the bottom floor of the Wellness Commons. To visit UHS, students should make an appointment by calling 931-598-1270. 

FitWell is a fitness and recreation program with new facilities and weekly classes, and serves as another fitness option in addition to Fowler Center. 

“FitWell strives to promote relationships and connections in our student community with movement and exercise, in hopes of developing a lifelong appreciation of wellness and movement,” says Sarah Rundle, director of the Wellness Commons. 

Classes like indoor cycling (moved outside to the patio), total conditioning, yoga, and cardio remix are primarily taught by student fitness instructors, who have each completed training and passed a national certification exam. Rundle says they plan to gradually offer more classes. “It will be dependent on a number of things, including COVID-19 restrictions, demand, and availability of instructors and equipment,” she explained. There are also general exercise spaces available for use. Since FitWell is opening with a limited capacity to maintain health protocols, students must reserve time slots for working out.

In the next week, students will be able to sign up for classes and reserve spaces in FitWell through an online registration portal at https://fitwell.sewanee.edu/. A Sewanee FitWell app will also become available sometime this month. Currently, students can find the program schedule through this link, along with other resources like guided meditations and Wellness Center events. The link can also be found in the Wellness Center’s Instagram bio (@uwcsewanee). 

While construction is complete, the Wellness Commons is not yet fully open. This week was FitWell’s soft opening for student staff, and it plans to fully open to the student body in the next one to two weeks. 

The Biehl Commons, which will be a Social Commons and student union, will be the final piece of the University Commons project. Its construction is set to begin in early 2021 on the site of the Thompson Union.

To read the full article click here.