Tom Trenolone, AIA


“Creativity is not talent, but attitude. It’s about being open, rather than closed.”

As both a designer and design advocate, Tom Trenolone has significantly contributed to the national dialogue about the role of architect and the value of architecture through his own work and the promotion of the greater whole of design culture. Tom serves as one of 12 global design directors and is a member of HDR’s Architecture leadership team. He oversees the firm’s annual Opacity design review, where jurors from architecture practice, academia and media critique the firm’s recent work. He is also founder of daOMA, a non-profit dedicated to public education and appreciation of architecture and the design arts. Learn more about Tom


Speed Sex Firepower

This presentation explores the discoveries from his Kagan Fellowship that set Tom on a global journey to investigate the shared creative elements of automotive design, fashion design and the U.S. military. Thus was born the Speed, Sex, Firepower construct: Speed helps us perform in an efficient manner and grants us the ability to explore options; Sex is about attraction, allure, style and market presence; and Firepower is our collective experience, capability and the leverage afforded by these skills.

Tom is driven not to simply contribute to the design lexicon, but is passionate about encouraging others to understand and embrace it, as demonstrated in his frequent speaking engagements and advocacy work.

Speaking + Publications

  • “Three Major Firms Collaborate on Massive Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago,” Interior Design, July 2017
  • “Speed Sex Firepower,” AIA South Dakota Convention, Sioux Falls, SD, September 2016
  • “Speed Sex Firepower,” AIA East Tennessee Chapter Lecture Series, Knoxville, TN, July 2016
  • “Speed Sex Firepower,” Hyde Lecture Series, University of Nebraska, College of Architecture, Lincoln, NE, January 2016
  • “Speed Sex Firepower,” AIA Minnesota Convention & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN, November 2015
  • “Transforming Studio Culture – A Panel Discussion,” AIA Minnesota Convention & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN, October 2015
  • “Raising the Bar: The New Parkland Hospital,” Architectural Record, June 2015
  • “Speed Sex Firepower,” AIA Western Mountain Region, March 2015
  • “Design Directions, A Dialogue with Design Leaders,” Dallas Architecture Forum, Dallas, TX, January 2015
  • “Design Talks: Architecture, Context and Preservation,” Sioux Falls, SD, May 2015
  • “Story in the Façade Parkland Hospital” The Façades Design and Delivery Summit, Chicago, IL, September 2012
  • “Two, then Four, then Eight,” TEDx Omaha, Omaha, NE, October 2010
  • “Just off Center: The Creative Culture of Flyover Country,” Central States Region/AIA Iowa Convention Des Moines, IA October 2009

Award Juries

  • AIA South Dakota Design Awards Juror (Chair), 2015
  • AIA Chapter Design Award Juries: Memphis 2012, Virginia 2011, Wichita 2008
  • AIA (National) Academy of Architecture for Health Design Awards, 2011
  • National AIA Honor Award for Architecture, 2002