Interviewed by Veronica Ayala Flores, BS Arch’16
Q-What program and what year did you graduate from?
Bachelors of Architecture, 2012.
Q-What was the first position you took after graduation?
I became a designer at the architecture firm Austin + Mergold.
Q-Tell me about what you are doing today?
I recently started a new job at another architecture firm, Ballinger, as a designer. Basically it's a lot different than what I was doing when I finished my three and a half years at Austin + Mergold. There I was not just kind of a draftsmen, but I managed a lot of projects and I was a lot more involved in the design process. I was also finishing up Revolution Taco, a restaurant on 20th and Walnut, where I was doing the bulk of the work myself, and was really involved in detailing and overseeing construction.
After winning the Stewardson Fellowship and traveling, I knew I needed a new job, and didn't want to move laterally in my career, which is why I decided to move on to a big office instead of pursuing work at another smaller office. Right now I’m working on a laboratory, which has a lot more factors involved in it than the smaller scale projects I was working on. I’m interested in learning much more about how involved and potentially more intense the design process is when it comes to the systems complex projects like the one's that Ballinger works on.
Q-How did Tyler Architecture prepare you for this?
I like to say that when I graduated from Temple I felt ready to learn how to become an architect. My preparation ended up impacting the projects I worked on in the sense that I didn't necessarily feel like I could do a wall section, but I could understand the relationships between drawings really well. The technical knowledge I have is basically what I learned from working, but it wouldn't be much good unless I had a more holistic understanding of design. I’m glad that I didn’t have a completely technical education because I think that having a broader range of experiences makes for better designers, instead of just better technicians. That's why I really value the theoretical education that I had, which I find useful on regular basis, since it’s in service keeping the bigger picture or idea in perspective.
Q-How did you get where you are today?
I was having lunch with a friend of mine at work today and was telling them that after three and a half years I felt like at my last job my knowledge became good enough that I could handle most design problems that the office could throw at me. I started a few weeks ago, and I have gone all the way back to square one. In a transition to a new job you basically have try to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. I might not know the working process of the office, and it is difficult to learn how they do things when I already learned how to do them a whole other way. I constantly have to ask my coworkers how things work. But that’s the whole point! To learn! If you’re not learning something then it's easy to stagnate.
Q-What one piece of advice would you give a current undergraduate student?
I always valued self criticism. I think as a student, it is the one thing that pushes you to the next level because you do something and look at it and say “this is good.” Well, why is it good? Why is what you did applicable? What are the arguments against it? When students are more self critical I think they push themselves more.
Q-What do you wish you had taken advantage of while at Temple?
Well, I don't typically have a lot of regrets about my time at Temple, but I probably should have talked to more people - professors in the general sense, and others that could have challenged what I was working on. This can certainly be really helpful for cross disciplinary research as you get into the higher levels of education - to reach out to other people and say, “Hey, I’m doing such and such a project and it hinges on this idea that you know a lot about.” Like if I go to the philosophy department, a faculty considered really knowledgeable in philosophical aesthetics, and go to them and say, "Hey, I don’t know a lot about hermeneutics, but can you teach me about how people interpret art?” I felt like I didn't do that enough. One time in Comprehensive Design Studio I was designing a laboratory and called and talked to a doctor from Infectious Diseases at Temple. He was really helpful, but I wish I had asked if could have come in and see one of the labs at the medical school. If I had engaged him further, I would have had the opportunity to learn more about the spaces I was actually trying to design.