• cover of magazine grid with fleming's portrait

    Rob Fleming

      In 2000, Rob co-founded with Chris Pastore, the Engineering and Design Institute @ Philadelphia University, an interdisciplinary research center focusing on green materials, sustainable design and community outreach. Funded by a grant from the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, the center develops new green materials, serves as a resource for firms seeking to design green buildings and provides community outreach initiatives such as the Sustainable Design Resource Library. In 2006, The Institute, in partnership with The Green Building Alliance formed the Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership, a multi-university and non-profit consortium focused on green building technologies, materials and design. In 2004, Professor Fleming and Chris Pastore received the Pennsylvania Resource Council's "Leadership in Green Building Award." And in 2007 a Philadelphia Sustainability Award  from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.  In 2008, the Institute received Delaware Valley Green Building Council's, "Leadership in Green Building Award."

      Rob is currently working on a book: Design Education for a Sustainable Future to be published by Routledge/earthscan in early 2013.

  • close up stone walkway

    Eric Corey Freed

    • Website:organicARCHITECT
    • organicARCHITECT is the office of Eric Corey Freed, LEED AP, Hon. FIGP, a licensed architect (California, New Mexico, Arizona), and a recognized pioneer in the tradition of Organic Architecture, first developed by Frank Lloyd Wright. A lifetime proponent of individualism and sustainability.

      Eric is the author of four books, including "Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies", a best seller with over 200,000 copies in print, and "Sustainable School Architecture." His latest, “Green$ense for your Home” won the 2011 Outstanding Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

  • portrait Bill Smith

    Bill Smith

    • Website:Smith Advisory Group
    • Bill Smith is Managing Principal of Smith Advisory Group, an advisory firm created to provide Owners with strategic planning and management of design, development and construction for all types of projects worldwide. Smith Advisory Group provides full-scope development management services for project feasibility, master planning, design, construction, cost management, scheduling, building occupancy and final completion.    Bill formerly served as President and Chief Operating Officer of MGM MIRAGE Design Group (2000 to 2011) responsible for managing the design and construction of CityCenter, an $8.5 billion mixed-use project located in Las Vegas, Nevada.  CityCenter is an 18 million square feet facility and includes a 4,004-room hotel/casino, a 1,832-seat showroom, two luxury 400-room hotels, a major retail facility, 2,647 residential units, and parking for 16,800 cars.  CityCenter was developed in 60 months and opened to the public in December 2009.

  • portrait of greg jones

    Greg Jones

      Mr. Jones is the principal in charge for the new Santander Bank Headquarters Tower in Monterrey and for two other projects in Mexico, both in San Pedro: Sofia, an office and luxury residential tower, and Silica, which includes the master plan for a 25- ​acre mixed-​use urban village and the design of an office tower, two retail podiums and pedestrian arcade. He is also the principal in charge for Porta Nuova Garibaldi, the largest commercial development in Europe. The project comprises the master plan for a major mixed-​use development north of Milan’s city center and the design of its three primary office towers, retail podium and a new central piazza. The development’s signature office tower is the tallest in Italy.

      In Asia, Mr. Jones has led the design teams for the International Finance Centre, the tallest tower in Hong Kong; the NHK Osaka Broadcast Center and Osaka Museum of History; and Atago Green Hills, which includes the Forest residential tower and the Mori office tower in Tokyo; and the NTT Corporate Headquarters and showroom, also in Tokyo.

      In the U.S., Mr. Jones has led projects including ARIA Hotel & Casino, which includes a 4,000-room hotel, and a convention center, theater, casino and restaurants in Las Vegas. ARIA is the centerpiece of CityCenter, the largest private-​sector development in the United States. He has also led the design team for 516 Fifth Avenue, a hotel and residential tower in New York; and for office towers including 30 Hudson Street in Jersey City, 1500 Louisiana in Houston, 181 West Madison in Chicago, and 777 Tower in Los Angeles.

  • David Riz

      David Mark Riz is a principal at Ballinger, a leading national firm in the areas of academic, research, healthcare and corporate planning and design. Prior to this position, Riz was with KieranTimberlake, a practice recognized for its environmental ethos, research expertise and innovative design. In nearly 20 years at KieranTimberlake, David created carefully crafted, site-specific architecture that enriched human interaction, responded to the environment, and artfully celebrated the everyday. He continues to engage clients on a broad range of topics including integrated project delivery, new materials, optimal living and learning environments and environmental stewardship. David has led many award-winning projects, several of which have been featured in publications including Architect, Architectural Record, Metropolis, TIME, The New York Times, and Wired. His current projects include the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and a new Student Innovation Center at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He is a contributing writer to Taiwan’s Interior Magazine, has had his writing published in architectural journals and books, and is a frequent lecturer and juror at universities and conferences, where he has spoken about the integration of research and design, advocating for excellence in architecture that inspires new models of practice. David earned his B.Arch. from Temple University in 1985 (where he received the Thesis Prize) and his M.Arch. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. Prior to joining KieranTimberlake, David practiced architecture in Japan and taught design in Taiwan. He was inducted into the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in 2016. Riz currently serves as the chair of the Board of Visitors at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture.

  • Robert Shuman

      Robert Shuman is Associate Professor of Architecture in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University. He is also a principal at MGA Partners, Architects, a 25 person architecture firm located in Philadelphia, the successor firm to Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, Philadelphia, whose body of work includes significant buildings for the federal courts, regional college and universities, and other private institutions. Since joining Mitchell/Giurgola Architects in 1982, he has developed professional expertise in building design and documentation, construction administration, exterior envelope design and detailing, building systems integration, energy efficient design, building code analysis, and general professional practice.  Professor Shuman is a registered architect in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and currently holds an NCARB Certificate.  He is also a LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of the International Code Council.

      Professor Shuman’s perspective on architecture has developed over his career from the point of view of a maker of consequential physical objects.  This perspective has its roots in his early training as a carpenter, mechanic, and furniture maker.  After nearly 30 years of professional practice, much of which has required him to master the collateral activities of running a viable design based professional services business, his first principles still remain connected to the idea of ‘making’ with care physical things in time and space.

  • Denise Thompson

    Denise Thompson

      Denise Thompson, AIA (B. Arch) is an Associate and Project Manager at Francis Cauffman in Philadelphia.  A LEED-accredited architect, Denise joined her colleagues at the firm in creating a Sustainable Initiative.  As an active member of the Philadelphia AIA, Denise welcomes opportunities to provide mentorship for interns as they work toward licensure.  She was recently awarded the 2013 AIA Philadelphia and AIA Pennsylvania Young Architect Awards.

  • Melissa Bernstein

    Melissa Bernstein

      Melissa Bernstein, is a notable, active member of the Philadelphia Architecture community. Combining her interest in both structures and architecture, Melissa recently became a licensed architect in 2012 and works at Jacobs (formerly known as KlingStubbins) in the city of Philadelphia. Her work at Jacobs involves many commercial projects such as office towers, laboratory buildings, hotels etc. Aside from practice, she has a lengthy history with the AIA and currently holds the title as state representative for the Young Architects Program.

      Interviewed by Stephanie Haller, BS Arch'15

      What program and what year did you graduate from?
      I graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2008.

      What was the first position you took after graduation?
      While I was in my second year, I began as an intern for Brawer & Hauptman and worked there into the summer. I then took interest in the structures courses my third year that were offered in the architecture program which led me to apply to KlingStubbins, a firm that specialized in structural engineering as well as architecture. When returning from my semester abroad in Italy, I then interned for the architecture department of KlingStubbins.

      Tell me about what you are doing today?
      KlingStubbins had changed their name to Jacobs about three years ago, which is where I continue to work as a licensed architect. I am currently involved with the design of a basketball training facility.

      How did Tyler Architecture prepare you for this?
      The Adjunct faculty of the architecture department were my inspiration by how they balanced between working and teaching in preparation for the professional world. I also enjoyed the theoretical and practical approach that Temple Architecture has to offer, as it provided a well-rounded architectural education.

      How did you get where you are today?
      It all goes back to the studio instructor I had my second year, Dee Nicholas, who had mentioned and helped me find my first internship at Brawer & Hauptman. I also believe that with persistence and being active in the architecture community I am where I am today. In order to gain experience and learn about the architecture field, the initial step is to be proactive as both a student and an intern.

      What one piece of advice would you give a current undergraduate student?
      I had studied at the Temple Rome campus and one of the best things you can do that Temple offers, is to study abroad.

      What do you wish you had taken advantage of while at Temple?
      I have no regrets, I don’t feel that I missed out on any opportunities as a college student. Like many students in the major, I enjoyed the studio culture, and explored the city of Philadelphia as a part of my education. I also participated in yoga and tennis during the busiest times of my thesis year just to relieve some stress.

      How are you involved with American Institute of Architects?
      I was an active member and leader of Temple’s American Institute of Architecture Students chapter, first beginning with the title of Secretary then Co-President. After graduation I needed to take a break from architecture other than my time spent at work during the day. Six months later, I then decided to get back into the organization at the professional level so I started as Associate Director on the AIA Pennsylvania Board which lasted for a two year term (2009-2010). I participated in conferences and visited accredited architecture schools across the state. I then became the Regional Associate’s Director, which is one of eighteen (2011-2012) on the National Associates Committee which involved program sharing, communication and educating architecture students across the country. During that time I introduced a Group Mentoring Program in the city which has been on-going for the last five years. I’ve also lead Architect Registration Exam study sessions at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture. I then became licensed in 2012 and took a break which lead me to the Young Architect Program, as a representative for Pennsylvania and held the position for one year.

  • Keith Hartwig

    Keith Hartwig

      Keith Hartwig is an architect who is proficient in research, pre-design conceptualization, digital and hand drafting, digital and manual fabrication, animation, rendering, photography, and post-processing. His work has been shown in venues such as the Rochester Contemporary Art Center and the Museum of Modern Art. He earned his BArch degree from Temple University, where his work earned the ARCC/King Medal, the DaVinci Thesis Prize, and the Diener Brick Award. Hartwig lives and works in Philadelphia.

      Interviewed by Saumon Oboudiyat, BS Arch'15

      What program and what year did you graduate from?
      5 Year Bachelor of Architecture program

      What was the first position you took after graduation?

      Straight out of college I worked as an assistant artist for Bradley Pitts in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. For 2 years, 3 days a week, I commuted back and forth between Greenpoint  and Philadelphia on MegaBus. I showered in a sink and spent half my nights sleeping on an air mattress in an unheated / un-air-conditioned loft.
      Pitts describes his work as “a form of ontological research in which the 'empty', and therefore the 'real', are at stake.” Pitts goal is to “restore science and technology to a place where they can be used to investigate philosophical questions and subjective realities.” I assisted Pitts in the prototyping and scripting phase of the Yearlight Calendar (now for sale at the Guggenheim and Cooper Hewitt) and the creation of Singular Oscillations variable-gravity flight simulator exhibited at UC Riverside. Pitts taught me what it means to be an artist, how to market yourself, how to find projects, and most importantly, how to approach every project with unrelenting criticality and craftsmanship. He challenged me to go beyond surface, form and the purely visual in order to embrace the totality of subjective experience.

      Tell me about what you are doing today?

      Last semester I began teaching as an assistant adjunct professor in the Architecture Department. In November 2014 I was selected by the Temple Gallery (through the Tyler School of Art and Architecture) to work with Paula Scher (principal designer from Pentagram in NYC) for the Temple Contemporary Distinguished Alumni program. The 6 month long program will culminate in a dual exhibit of Paula’s work and my work on May 8th in the Temple Gallery. (Stay tuned for the press release!) I also work mostly full time as a designer and project manager for Veyko Metal Fabrication & Design in Philadelphia, PA.

      How did Tyler Architecture prepare you for this?

      The 5 year B.Arch program gave me a unique perspective on design, pushing me to think about architecture in unconventional ways. My thesis project, titled Machine Touristique, was a critical moment of discovery in my design education. The project investigated the effect of spatial design on our perception of experience. I began by analyzing the effects of extreme environments, such as low Earth orbit and the lunar surface, on the human body and mind. Working through maps, vignettes and narrative I explored the consequences of design on the body and its environment, and how design can become a mediation and extension of human experience into its surroundings. In this way architecture and design became dynamic and integral to the larger narrative of subjective experience. Exploring the envelope of experience through narrative devices and vignettes is implicit in my current work.

      Special thanks goes out to Jeremy Voorhees and the rest of the professors that taught my thesis class.

      How did you get where you are today?

      Some people refer to it as 'Hustling'. I like to think its perseverance and having passion for what you do. Also, surrounding yourself with talented and supportive people, who believe in what you’re doing, and aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re off track.

      What one piece of advice would you give a current undergraduate student?

      Always pursue your interests, and don’t be afraid to buck convention. Also, when thinking about working on a project, reach out to others who are like minded, but can approach the project from a unique angle. Part of what contributes to the diversity of my portfolio comes from my willingness and eagerness to work with people from other professional backgrounds. I’ve collaborated with musicians, scientists, engineers, graphic designers and curators. In this way every project is unique, challenging, and opens your eyes to new ways of dealing with issues of space, design and planning.

      What do you wish you had taken advantage of while at Temple?

      I wish I had taken more art intensive courses at Tyler. While I was enrolled at Temple the Tyler School of Art and Architecture was run out of the Ambler Campus. The physical distance between Tyler and Main Campus unfortunately created a psychological / communal barrier between the Architecture program and the rest of Tyler. Today students in all Tyler programs have the added benefit of being in the same physical space, sharing resources, and hopefully as a result, can create a tight knit interdisciplinary community.

  • Marc Krawitz

    Marc Krawitz

      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.

  • Greg Kochanowski

      Greg Kochanowski (B.S. Arch '93) has been promoted to Principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios in Los Angeles, CA. He joined the firm in 2007 and combines the techniques and strategies of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design to create forward-thinking environments. He was a recipient of the prestigious Young Architects Forum Award from the Architectural League of New York. He is currently senior lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design. From 1993 to 2013, he held several positions as a lecturer, faculty, and adjunct faculty member at various institutions, including the University of California, Los Angeles; Southern California Institute of Architecture; Woodbury University; and the Boston Architectural Center. Rios Clementi Hale Studios has earned an international reputation for its collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach, establishing an award-winning tradition across an unprecedented range of design disciplines. Since 1985, the architects, landscape architects, planners, and urban, interior, exhibit, graphic, and product designers at Rios Clementi Hale Studios have been creating buildings, places, and products that are thoughtful, effective, and beautiful.

      What program and what year did you graduate from?
      1993 B.S. in Architecture

      What was the first position you took after graduation?
      After graduating, I moved back to Boston and took a position at a small, single-person firm doing high-end residential work. I also started teaching undergraduate studios at the Boston Architectural Center. The initial job only lasted a year, and then, I moved to a medium-sized commercially oriented firm, but kept teaching until I moved to Los Angeles, CA, in 1997.

      Tell me about what you are doing today?
      Currently, I’m a Principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios, an award-winning, multi-disciplinary firm located in Los Angeles. We take on a wide range of project types of varying scales and complexities from architecture to landscape, urban design to interiors, graphic to product design. I’m also a Senior Lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design. My studios at Otis are along a similar vein as my professional work, focusing on the synthesis of architecture, landscape, and urbanism.

      How did Tyler Architecture prepare you for this?
      When I went to Temple, the Architecture department was aligned with the School of Engineering, not the School of Art. When I entered, I really had no idea what it meant to be an architect. I mean, I knew in the general sense—constructing buildings, etc.—but not the design or conceptual underpinnings. I was fortunate enough to have some great instructors, who not only opened my eyes to the likes of Rossi, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Venturi, Eisenman, Kahn, Le Corbusier, Libeskind, and the like, but also instilled in me a rigor and intensity of working that I carry to this day. Architecture is a tough profession, and you have to really love it. The program at Temple brought out that passion in me, and allowed me to see architecture not as merely a profession, but as a way of living and thinking.

      How did you get where you are today?
      That’s a long story. In short, as with most things, it’s a combination of luck, hard work, being true to your values, keeping clear goals in mind, and letting life take you in directions you didn’t expect. I moved to Los Angeles in 1997 to go to grad school at UCLA. I chose L.A. because it is so different from the East Coast, and I wanted a new experience. After graduating in 1999, I went to work for a former professor of mine, who was primarily interested in issues relating to architecture and urbanism. We entered a competition, in collaboration with Rios Associates (the former name of Rios Clementi Hale Studios), for the Fresh Kills landfill, located in Staten Island, NY. I was the lead designer on the project, and, as the project was primarily landscape, this was a big shift for me. But I fell in love with it, and realized that issues relating to landscape were inextricably connected to those of architecture and urbanism. It also introduced me to Mark Rios, who, although I would not join his firm for another seven years, became a person I started to watch, and that I admire to this day. In the interim, I worked for Hodgetts + Fung, an important critically oriented firm in the L.A. community. Craig Hodgetts is a virtuoso with an eccentric mind and an ability to make connections and take chances outside of mainstream conversations. We built some great projects while I was there, and I still carry those sensibilities with me today.

      All this time, I was also pursuing my own work through competitions and the occasional freelance project. I started to get some notoriety, and was fortunate enough to be awarded the Young Architects Award from the Architectural League of New York. During this time, I was also teaching at UCLA, SCi-Arc, Woodbury University, and participating on juries across the country (essentially, where I had friends). Teaching became—and still is—an important part of my thinking about architecture. There’s nothing like having to explain ideas to someone, or give a critique, to help you clarify your own thinking. Also, I love seeing that spark in a student’s eye when he/she sees the world in a new way, or connects with a part of themselves that might be dormant. In 2006, my wife and I had a daughter. My wife had to leave her job and I wasn’t making enough to support all of us. So, I took a position at HOK—solely for the money. It’s the only time that I’ve taken a job for the money, and it will be the last. I was only there for six months when I received a call from a friend of mine (the HR director) at Rios Clementi Hale Studios. They needed a senior-level person, and they were a perfect match with my interest in the synthesis of architecture, landscape, and urbanism. I haven’t looked back since, and nine years later, I was made a Principal at the firm.

      What one piece of advice would you give a current undergraduate student?
      Be true to yourself and think big, but also embrace failure. It’s typically a bad word, and discouraged, but really the only way you learn is to try, and try again. Architecture is a practice dependent on artifacts, drawings, models (digital and physical), full-size mockups, and sketches. It’s only through this active engagement with the work (making and doing) that you’ll get anywhere. In addition to this, you should absorb as much information as you can by reading, looking at precedents, going to lectures and exhibitions, and actively talking among yourselves. Give each other critiques, and don’t be afraid to take criticism or dish it out.

      What do you wish you had taken advantage of while at Temple?
      At the time I was at Temple, I wish there was a more direct connection with Tyler School of Art and Architecture. I took multiple classes in printmaking, which helped me shape some of the ideas I was exploring in architecture, but being more immersed, and adjacent to the art department, would have been great.


  • Alum Photo of Taleen Streeter

    Taleen Streeter

      Born in Lansdale, PA and being of Armenian-English heritage Taleen has always had a love of culture and traveling. Being Armenian she also has spent most of her time in Philadelphia being involved with the Armenian community and running various organizations and events such as the Armenian Youth Federation. While spending every free second involved with the Armenian church, community center or youth organization Taleen has also strived to build her career in the field of Architecture. It all began in 10th grade when Taleen first took Geometry. Her teacher then was fascinated with building shapes and world-wide architecture which was plastered all over the classrooms walls. After this class, Taleen began to toy with the idea of becoming an architect. She attended three pre-college architecture programs at The University of Southern California, Carnegie Mellon and the Architecture, Construction and Engineering mentor program in Philadelphia. After each program she was more convinced that this was the right field for her. During high school she interned at AlDamlouji + Parker Architects and Kimmel Bogrette Architects. After acceptance at Tyler Architecture between semesters she worked as a code enforcement intern for Whitpain Code Enforcement office and an engineering intern at Lower Merion School District Operations Department. While attending classes at Tyler Architecture she enjoyed studio time the most and loved making models for hours upon hours and spent many sleepless nights preparing for review deadlines, which was all worth it in the end. Studying abroad at Tyler Architecture Rome was a wonderful, life changing experience for Taleen. She traveled to many countries while abroad - Dubai, Jordan, Israel, Abu Dhabi, Hungary, throughout Italy, London, France - just to name a few. This sparked her love for traveling and culture. She knew once she graduated she had to work overseas on the magnificent megastructures being built - world famous architecture. Upon graduation she began working as a architectural designer for a New Jersey firm, then transferred to PZS Architects in Manyunk for a short while before her dream job came knocking on her door. It was her ultimate dream to work in Dubai as a designer for a top world design company. Life was surreal when she was accepted as a designer at Visual Energy Dubai. Today, she works as a designer for one of the Worlds Top Lighting Design Companys and is enjoying Dubai to its fullest. To work on international projects around the globe is an unbelievable experience. Living her dream two years since graduation is surreal and she is eager to see what the rest of her future holds for her.


      Q-What program and what year did you graduate from?                      

      Bachelor of Architecture, May 2014

      Q-What was the first position you took after graduation?

      Architectural Designer in a New Jersey architectural firm

      Q-Tell me about what you are doing today?

      Currently, I am a designer at Visual Energy’s Dubai office. Visual Energy is a British Architectural Lighting Design company, which was founded at the start of 2001. The company is one of the World’s Top Lighting Design Studios as named by Mondo Arc. Based in London Visual Energy has three branches- London, Brussels, and Dubai. Our projects range over high-end hospitality, commercial & retail, government buildings, religious and residential. Our projects are located around the world. We have made our mark in Dubai, UAE, Doha, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Aduja, Nigeria, London, Greece, and many other countries. It has been a dream of mine to work in Dubai, but I never thought my dream would become a reality. I have now had the privilege to work on such prestigious projects as the Bab Al Yam Restaurant in the Burj Al Arab. It goes to show that nothing is impossible.

      Q-How did Tyler Architecture prepare you for this?

      Without my creativity or the diverse projects and studios at Tyler Architecture I wouldn’t have been able to impress European designers, who loved the design flair from my portfolio, which was solely based upon the work I had created while at Tyler Architecture and Tyler Architecture Rome.

      Q-How did you get where you are today?

      Hard work, dedication, and a lot of persistence to achieve my goal of working in the Middle East. I fell in love with Dubai, when visiting while studying abroad at Tyler Architecture Rome. Following my overseas studies, I based my fifth year architectural thesis in Dubai and learned much more of the history and lifestyle here. I applied for a great many of jobs in Dubai over the two years since I graduated Tyler Architecture and one morning I got a call from an Englishman asking for an interview and here I am today living my dream.

      Q-What one piece of advice would you give a current undergraduate student?

      “Desire is the key to motivation, but its determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti

      Q-What do you wish you had taken advantage of while at Temple?

      Networking, because life is not just about what you know it is about who you know and who they know that will help you get to where you want to be. 

  • portrait of martina with puppet

    Martina Plag

      Martina Plag creates puppetry for adult audiences to address contemporary issues and advocate social change and awareness. She is German-born and practiced architecture for ten years before pursuing her love of puppetry.

  • Alum Photo of Alec Higinbotham

    Alec Higinbotham

      Alec grew up in a small town in Southern New Jersey, only an hour outside of Philadelphia. Though always enjoying drawing and model making as a child, he describes his decision to study architecture as “a leap of faith.” Before pursuing his Masters at Temple, Alec received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He enjoyed breaking out of the small town bubble and immersing himself in the big city atmosphere, which he saw as a great setting for studying architecture. During his undergraduate years, Alec had the opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain for a semester. He credits this experience as one that transformed his idea of design and culture and the world around us.

      Alec’s experiences in Washington, D.C., Barcelona, and Philadelphia have helped shape many of his design perspectives, and sees himself continuing his career in one of these cities.

      What program and what year did you graduate from? 

      I graduated from Temple University in 2012 with a Master of Architecture degree. I was part of the first graduate class following Temple's transition to a 4+2 year program.

      What was the first position you took after graduation?

      My first full-time position following graduation was as an architectural designer at a single-office residential firm in Alexandria, VA. Given the fact that it was a small office, I was fortunate to have a lot of one-on-one face time with the managing Principal so I learned a lot about the profession almost immediately. We primarily used Autodesk Revit for document production, and the managing Principal was equally interested in technology and pushing the boundaries of Revit as a design tool, so we had a lot of fun with that.

      Tell me about what you are doing today?

      My experience following graduation was a somewhat unique one. I wanted to make a point of experiencing different aspects of the profession and different building typologies very early on in my career so I could find the path I was most interested in pursuing long-term. I moved on from the residential firm after a period of time to work as an architectural designer at a firm specializing in healthcare design. The firm, Array Architects, provided me with many opportunities to pursue my passions for design and technology, and I found myself becoming even more intrigued by the concept of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Autodesk Revit. After some time, I moved on from Array Architects to work as a BIM consultant at a technology company. In my role as a consultant, I traveled in and around the Washington DC area working with different design firms to build Revit standards and templates, in addition to training them on how to use the software. After some time, an opportunity opened up at Array Architects and I made the decision to "boomerang" back to the firm. Currently, I work for Array Architects as BIM Manager, provided training support for our 8 national offices in addition to providing project-based support and best practice recommendations for design technology.   

      How did Tyler Architecture prepare you for this?

      Tyler Architecture prepared me for my "winding" career trajectory thus far in a lot of different ways. The lowest-hanging fruit is that my education at Tyler provided me with many of the technical skills needed for moving into the profession, but I believe it was much more than that. One of the greatest benefits an architectural education offers is that it trains us to think "outside of the box" in a really conceptual way, but also forces us to challenge our common conceptions of the world around us. I believe Tyler Architecture really excels at that aspect of architectural education.   

      How did you get where you are today?

      Although my career trajectory following graduation from Tyler Architecture is somewhat unconventional, I think I've arrived where I am today by taking risks. The firms I hopped around from were all great places to work, and there was never a guarantee that my next employer would be just as great, but I've wanted to experience as much as possible early in my career so I could really understand where I fit best. In a way, I think the whole process has been one of self-discovery. Fortunately, it has worked in my favor and I've been able to experience different aspects of the industry and come to a point where I can truly explore my passions at the intersection of design and technology.   

      What one piece of advice would you give a current undergraduate student?

      Regardless of your major or professional focus, the most important thing you can do is play to your own strengths. Everyone has something they excel at, and I don't think I've ever interacted with someone who is a master at everything they do. You may not know what your strength is yet while you are still in school, but that's okay - it will come with time and experience!   

      What do you wish you had taken advantage of while at Temple?

      The food trucks! But, in all seriousness, the things I didn't take advantage of enough while at Temple were extracurricular activities and community involvement. I was a commuter graduate student working part-time, so it was a bit more challenging to find those opportunities; but, I really wish I had made more of an effort to do so because I think they are a great way to meet new people and round out your education.  

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