Why did you choose The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture?
My undergraduate degree is in Mechanical Engineering and when I first applied for architecture graduate school I really had no idea how to choose one! I applied to UTSOA (mainly because of its fantastic reputation) and a few others whose names I’d considered in my undergraduate search. I was actually rejected from UTSOA when I first applied so I began my grad school journey at Georgia Tech. This turned out to be very lucky in fact because I found my footing with architecture, fell in love with digital parametric design, and reapplied to UT when I was ready. I was accepted the second time (yes!) and transferred my education and all my stuff from Atlanta to Austin and the rest is history!
Describe your current role and the work that you do.
I am a project manager on a big project 3XN is doing in London! I manage a team of about 15 people while we develop the design during the equivalent of a Schematic Design phase for the project. This means that I oversee all the work the team does on elements of the design like the massing, facade, materiality, plan layouts, public realm, sketch occasionally myself, coordinate with consultants, meet with local planning authorities, and spend a good bit of time in London.
What’s something you’ve worked on recently?
I’ve been working on the London project for almost two years so that is my most recent work experience but prior to that I was working on a number of design competitions in Spain, Denmark, England, Switzerland and Ireland. 3XN has two main departments, Competitions and Project Development, and switching between departments is very common as competitions that we win feed directly into further development phases and back again.
How did UTSOA prepare you for your career?
I consider time in design studios to be the most important prep for my architectural life after school because it gave me the opportunity to find what interested me most in architecture, explore the edges of my creativity and, perhaps most critically, learn how to be inspired by others around me. Having the opportunity to work at a firm like 3XN which prioritizes design through my residency at UTSOA didn’t hurt either ;)
What is an important lesson you learned here that has stayed with you?
All your experiences, even the ones that seemed like detours, add up to who you will be as an architect. Also, that I am not good at building models unless there is a laser cutter involved.
What were some of the more memorable classes or experiences from your time at the school?
The course I probably think of most often is Four Masters of Modernism with Dr. Richard Cleary. Somehow tidbits of knowledge about Balanchine, Le Corbusier, Picasso and Tchaikovsky seem to crop up in my daily experiences and I’m always happy to remember that amazing crossover course filled with great discussions.
Otherwise, I’m so grateful for the friends and teachers I met at UTSOA as I’m still in touch with many of them - who also moved overseas to work!