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7 Questions for ISoA M.Arch Alumna Trina Sandschafer

Alumna Trina Sandschafer on how she arrived at a Principal position in one of the US's most prestigious architecture firms as a direct result of having attended the ISoA

Year graduated from UIUC:  M. Arch, 2006

Firm where employed: Booth Hansen, Chicago

Your Title: Principal

What’s your area of focus at Booth Hansen?

As a member of our firm’s Design Review Committee, I have the opportunity to touch most projects in the office, where we consider the concept and overall direction of the project.  Within my own projects, I have worked primarily on master planning and residential projects.  I have worked from large scale to detail level.  My current focus is our high end residential projects.  As a principal, I also have business development, communications, and hiring roles.

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?

ISoA was an excellent springboard for my current position.  In fact, I’m part of this office today directly because of my architecture thesis project, which was also a master planning project.  That project and ISoA taught me how to bring clarity to complex problems.  I was able to view micro and macro scale, to consider equally design and technical, to question how we could improve the status-quo, and to consider the end user.

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?

Take the following classes:

Psychology – This will be supremely important as you navigate your career.  You have to understand the dynamics of your colleagues and your clients.

Business – You want to be an architect that knows how to stay in business.  How do you win projects?  How do you structure contracts?  How do you handle invoices?

Writing – You will have to write much more than you might expect: daily emails, RFPs, project descriptions, proposal letters, and letters for add-services – all professional correspondence represents you and your firm.

Speech – You need to be a confident speaker. This is true as you interview for your first job, as you present your ideas to senior people at your firm, and as you become someone who represents your firm at project interviews.

ISoA was an excellent springboard for

my current position. - Trina Sandschafer 

Name something you miss about school?

In school, you are free to create without the constraints of budgets, timelines, neighborhood interests, or client expectations.  The options are seemingly limitless and of your own control.

Something you don’t miss about school?

Spending all my money on model supplies and printing. 

I had many excellent professors

at Illinois. - Trina Sandschafer 

Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?

I had many excellent professors at Illinois.  I have a great deal of gratitude for Professor Dearborn, who was my thesis advisor.  I took on a huge project, and she helped guide me, push me, and lead me to solutions that were creative, pleasing, and attainable.  She helped me consider the user experience which is supremely important in our profession.  I also had the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant, working with Professor Hinders.  It was very beneficial to me to see how he guided young architecture students in scale, proportion, and gave overall constructive criticism.  These are things I have taken with me as I mentored young staff at our office.

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?

I would take more breaks.  Architecture school is intense. There comes a point when you are not working in your optimal zone. This would be the time to take a walk outside of studio, to turn your attention to something else, and then come back to the problem.  Creative brains need down-time.  The best ideas come to the surface when we’ve given our mind some time to reflect.

For more on the New Buffalo Residence - where Trina happens to be both the architect and scale figure, see http://www.boothhansen.com/portfolio/new-buffalo-residence/

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7 Questions for ISoA alumna Kat Stowell

World traveller, and app & wearables-innovator, ISoA alumna Katherine (Kat) Stowell, on the wisdom of taking any class (Philosophy of Phenomenology!) and joining any club that interested her, and much more

Photo caption: Kat Stowell at the Grand Trianon, 2017

Year graduated from UIUC:  M. Arch, 2016

Firm where employed: Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects, Chicago

What are you working on these days?

At present, I am working on a 102-unit apartment building for independent seniors located in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. This affordable housing development was financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits administered through the City of Chicago Department of Planning & Development, along with financing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Illinois Housing Development Authority. I have been involved with both design development and documentation of this building. Some of my responsibilities include interior design and visualization, building design, and the development of construction documents.

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?

My time at ISoA prepared me for my current position. As a graduate student, I served as a teaching assistant for ARCH 231 and 233 under Randy Deutsch and have been able to directly translate some of those skills into my current position. At WJW Architects, I use ArchiCAD to model and am a member of the technology committee; part of my responsibilities include managing the project template and staying up to date on the latest software and technology while sharing that information with the rest of the firm.

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?

Do not be hesitant to try new things or push yourself to take challenging courses while in school!  During my first year of graduate school, I made the decision to take any class that interested me, apply for scholarships I qualified for, and join student groups that I wanted to be a part of regardless of how challenging or how hectic it made my schedule. After making that decision, I took a variety of classes which set the tone for my graduate studies and future career. I participated in the Volterra Program during the summer of 2015, I took a 400 level Philosophy of Phenomenology course, I created my first piece of furniture in the woodshop while learning from Carl and Hugh, I created an app in conjunction with a Hospital design, I prototyped a responsive wearable piece for canines with my groupmates and I was the student director for the career expo. It’s never too late to take control of your education and career path; don’t hesitate!

Take advantage of the 3D printers, the vacu-former

in the annex, the woodshop, and the laser cutters to

name a few! I also loved studying in the graduate library.

Go check it out if you haven’t yet. - Kat Stowell

Name something you miss about school?

One thing I miss greatly about being a student is all the different fabrication methods at your disposal. Take advantage of the 3D printers, the vacu-former in the annex, the woodshop, and the laser cutters to name a few! I also loved studying in the graduate library- go check it out if you haven’t yet.

Photo caption: Kat Stowell sketching at the Pantheon 2017

Something you don’t miss about school?

While I loved my time at UIUC, I do not miss the lack of sleep.

If I had a do-over, I would have attended more

lectures, taken more challenging classes, and

watched more tutorials sooner. - Kat Stowell

Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?

While there are a multitude of talented professors at ISoA, one of my favorites was Jeffery Poss. I participated in his Essential Dwelling studio and vacu-forming seminar during my final semester at UIUC and his teaching methods had a lasting impact on my design philosophy. Students in his classes are given the opportunity to explore new design methods, graphic representation techniques, and pushed to make models in all scales and of all materials. He also offered fantastic reviewers while sharing his expertise and taking us on several site visits. Two other professors who encouraged my professional growth while also teaching me a great deal were Carl Lewis and Randy Deutsch. Both Carl and Randy helped to shape my understanding of architecture as a career while helping me focus my goals both short and long term. Also, John Senseny is a fantastic history professor and I am so glad I chose to take one last history class with him during my last year of graduate school.

Photo caption: Kat Stowell at the Serpentine Pavilion Francis Kere 2017

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?

My one regret in school was not diving in completely head first until later in my education. If I had a do-over, I would have attended more lectures, taken more challenging classes, and watched more tutorials sooner.

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7 Questions for ISoA alumna Taylor Knoche

Taylor Knoche recalls what she loved & appreciated about her ISoA BSAS days and shares what it’s like to work at the world’s most admired and successful architecture firm, Foster+Partners

Year graduated from UIUC: May 2013

Firm where employed: Foster and Partners

Your Title: Architectural Assistant Part II

What are you working on these days?

Currently working on, the Pavilion, a 1.5 million SF hospital facility that will support Penn's world-renowned researchers, clinicians, and faculty. As part of the PennFIRST team — comprised of Foster+Partners, HDR, BR+A, Southland Industries, L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty, the new inpatient facility at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania will be will be designed as an innovative facility that offers improved healthcare delivery for generations to come. The facility will house 500 private patient rooms and 47 operating rooms while offering support and respite spaces for visitors and family members.

It is important to remind yourself of why YOU

chose to study architecture and not get caught

up in comparing yourself to everyone around

you in the studio. - Taylor Knoche

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?

ISoA offered me the technical expertise to offset my masters degree in design. While many of my peers had architectural design backgrounds, none of them had the rich understanding of the structural engineering and integral systems as those of us who had studied at the UofI. The courses offered through the School of Architecture are deeply ingrained with technical knowledge and enhanced by the dynamic relationship the school has with the top ranked engineering program. I have always seen structure and systems as an integral expression of architectural design.

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?

Architecture can be a very competitive, time consuming, and challenging field of study; it is important to remind yourself of why YOU chose to study architecture and not get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone around you in the studio. Some students will be better at graphics, others at presenting, others at involvement, but what is the most important is to recognize YOUR strengths and what makes you, YOU. The amount of time I wasted thinking that I was not creative enough, not graphically strong enough, not involved enough, was so not worth it.  

Having structural knowledge and

terminology is key to ensuring the

design intent. - Taylor Knoche 

Name something you miss about school?

Football season. The sound of the Marching Illini practicing on South Quad while we worked away in the Annex or TBH. The trees along the quad turning bright colors of yellow, orange and red against the iconic brick buildings of the campus. Sneaking away from the Architecture Building to grab a coffee in the Pelli Clarke Pelli Architect's designed business school building. Walks to the Japan House and arboretum for inspiration.

Something you don’t miss about school?

All my extra spending money going to art supplies and wood models. Thank goodness for the Art Coop in Lincoln Square Mall that was within walking distance or I would have been completely debilitated.  While I appreciate a good model and I find them a powerful design tool, they get a little expensive during school.

Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?

Prof. Abbas Aminmansour. His passion for structural steel design is apparent in every course he teaches, and it is infectious. From the sizing of rebar in a concrete column to steel beam deflection, the value of understanding structural design is imperative to be able to communicate with the engineering team and general contractor on a project. The current project I am working on is a 5 min. walk from office to the site. We routinely make it to the construction site to get an update on the steel erection and construction phasing strategy. Having structural knowledge and terminology is key to ensuring the design intent. 

While many of my peers had architectural design

backgrounds, none of them had the rich understanding

of the structural engineering and integral systems as

those of us who had studied at U of I. - Taylor Knoche

Prof. Heather Minor. Prof. Minor, first of all, has one of the best Architectural History themed wardrobes that I have ever seen, I still remember her library book, wood shelf printed skirt! I loved it! She was such a breath of fresh air and brought new light to architectural history. During a James Scholar semester honors project, Prof. Minor, recommended the book Architecture and Geometry in the Age of the Baroque, which I did an extensive review and summation of the themes. Through our routine check-ins, she became a mentor and great source of advice, always pushing me to follow my goals and aspire for more.

I could keep going about so many others including; Carl Lewis, Lee Waldrep, Paul Kapp, Alejandro Lapunzina. Can not express my gratitude enough.

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?

I had a profound interest in German culture and was able to take additional courses through the Language department in pursuit of a Minor in Germanic Languages and Literature. While I would not replace this academic experience at all, I would have liked to actively pursue more business oriented courses in addition to my German classes. Unfortunately, there is not enough hours in the day, so choose wisely.

Anything else you’d like us to know?

Anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

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10 Questions for ISoA M.Arch + M.B.A. candidate Rebecca Palmer

Checking in with the dual degree candidate, VP of UIUC Society of Business Management in Architecture, Ryerson Traveling Scholarship recipient, architectural trailblazer Rebecca Palmer on the importance of BALANCE!!!

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

I chose ISoA for so many reasons, for both undergrad and graduate school! Being a world-renowned architecture program with a diverse group of faculty members, I knew that UIUC was the right choice. Also, the program is very flexible, and you are able to take a wide variety of electives to truly shape your experience to your personal goals.

I have had so many incredible opportunities

come out of the ISoA, and I wouldn't change

anything about the path that I took. - Rebecca Palmer

Are you glad that you did? Why/why not?

I am absolutely glad that I chose this program! I have had so many incredible opportunities come out of the ISoA, and I wouldn't change anything about the path that I took. I have made lasting friendships, learned from great professors, participated in many student organizations and had the opportunity to truly create my own path in the program with its flexibility.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I am currently pursuing a joint degree (M. Arch and Master of Business Administration), and am very interested in the business development and leadership aspect of architecture. I am inspired by the impact the built environment has on all aspects of the world, and enjoy communicating complex design ideas to clients and non-designers so they are able to feel connected to and excited about their projects. 

What did you do this past summer?

This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe for 4 weeks thanks to the Edward L. Ryerson Travelling Scholarship. While there, I visited architecture firms, other architecture schools, and explored the cities to experience so many things I had learned about in school (Feel free to visit my blog to see my journey!)

Additionally, I was generously selected as the recipient of the RATIO Scholarship in Architecture, and in addition was able to participate in a summer internship at RATIO Architects in Champaign. The firm (small, but mighty!) is an extremely fun place to work, and I worked on a wide variety of projects in the Champaign-Urbana area. One of my most exciting projects was helping create graphics for a proposed $150 million development for Downtown Champaign - if the project moves forward, it will completely transform the downtown area!

I feel that the ISoA does a great job

preparing students for their careers

in architecture. - Rebecca Palmer

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

I feel that the ISoA does a great job preparing students for their careers in architecture. I took a very diverse group of classes that helped broaden my knowledge and give me a more holistic understanding of design. Taking classes outside of ISoA was key to preparing me as well!

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about my time at UIUC, it would be to experience more architecture in an academic setting. We have the opportunity to learn about so many famous designs, travelling to visit some of these works would have been icing on the cake. In Champaign, we are so close to many great cities (Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Miwaukee...the list can go on!)...I would like to take more time to visit these places!

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

I currently do not have a specific plan of where I would like to work upon graduation. I think I would ultimately like to stay in the Midwest, but am willing to see where my path takes me!

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Take advantage of every opportunity you get! The ISoA presents amazing opportunities for students (guest lectures, study abroad, etc.). Join student organizations, and be active in them. Take advantage of firm tours, guest lectures, and networking opportunities. Apply to scholarships, especially travel ones. Looking back, I missed many opportunities because I was "too busy" with studio and other classes. Manage your time, and spend at least 1-2 hours a week on other opportunities outside of class. You will never regret attending a lecture or networking event, but you will always regret missing one!

It seems like common sense to say

"manage your time"...but seriously,

manage your time! - Rebecca Palmer

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

BALANCE, BALANCE, BALANCE!!! It seems like common sense to say "manage your time"...but seriously, manage your time! Schedule out all of the time you need study, and con't forget to schedule time for fun and relaxation. Take care of yourself!

One of the most important things I learned in Architecture School is knowing when to STOP designing and to move on to the next step. Nothing will ever be perfect, and mistakes are important in helping you grow as a designer. Also, do not sacrifice other classes for studio! Design studio is a vital part of Architecture School, but don't lose sight of other classes that are crucial to a holistic understanding of design.

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

Oh, there are so many incredible professors! I would have to say that one of my favorite professors was Professor AnnaMarie Bliss. I had Professor Bliss for my Junior studio (second semester), and I learned so much from her about time management, the design process, and communicating design ideas. She was very dedicated to helping all of her students succeed; no matter how hectic her schedule was, she would always make time for a student that needed it. Although she is a Doctoral Candidate and not a full-time faculty member, she has brought so much to the School of Architecture in her time here, and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be in her class!

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

If any students would ever like to reach out to me about any questions at all, I am always willing to help! Please feel free to e-mail me at rlpalme2@illinois.edu anytime.

 

10 Questions for Meghna Majethiya

Wise words from co-winner of the ASCA AISC Steel design competition (3rd place) & future ISoA alumna, the ever-quotable 2018 M.Arch candidate Meghna Majethiya

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

Like most other international students, I considered the programs of many schools of architecture all over the USA/UK. I chose to study at ISoA because it was one of the few schools that offered such a flexible program. I had the liberty to choose my area of specialization. It was an obvious choice also because the U of I is very well-ranked in the country.

I chose to study at ISoA because it was one of the

few schools that offered such a flexible program.

I had the liberty to choose my area of specialization.

It was an obvious choice also because the U of I is

very well-ranked in the country. - Meghna Majethiya

Are you glad that you did? Why/why not?

ISoA has given me a lot, and I am really glad that I made the decision to study here. I’ve had the chance to learn from some amazing faculty members here at ISoA and interact with professionals from various firms. The student population here at the U of I is really diverse and there is a lot that I have learnt just from working in teams. I have also made some really close friends here, which has added even more to the whole experience. We also have a beautiful and safe campus.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I steered my Master’s program towards building performance. I wasn’t exposed to this area of study during my undergraduate program in India, but studying about energy efficient buildings has really spiked my interest. I am currently doing an independent study with Professor Scott Murray that is based on analyzing and designing energy efficient façades in the Indian context.

I have also made some really close friends here,

which has added even more to the whole experience.

We also have a beautiful and safe campus. - Meghna Majethiya

What did you do this past summer?

I visited my family in India for a few weeks. I came back to campus and continued my job at the Illini Union, where I work on a BIM model of the Illini Union and any ongoing renovations/repairs. I wanted to make the most of the summer, so I did things that I usually don’t get to do during the school year—I attended some ballroom dance sessions and travelled around the country. I went on a road trip to Pennsylvania to see Fallingwater!

I definitely think that ISoA is preparing me for a career

in architecture. We have had many lectures from famous

architects from across the globe, and we have also had

professionals as reviewers for our studio projects.

- Meghna Majethiya

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

I definitely think that ISoA is preparing me for a career in architecture. We have had many lectures from famous architects from across the globe, and we have also had professionals as reviewers for our studio projects. This opportunity to interact and discuss our projects with professionals has been of great value to me and others. Everything that I am learning, especially in my building performance courses, I think is very relevant and it is helping me keep up with the current practices in the industry.

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

I wish we could have some trips within the country to see famous structures. We have studied and read about so many great works of architecture, but as an international student I haven’t had the opportunity to visit most of them in person. Travelling to see and explore architecture is a whole new experience altogether!

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

Once I graduate, I would like to get some work experience in this country. However, I want to eventually go back to India and establish a career there.

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

The only thing I would tell a freshman would be that a career in architecture is a rocky climb but anything is possible with hard work and perseverance.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

I think time management is important for students of architecture. This helps maintain a work-life balance, which is something that I think most of us fail to achieve.

I have had some really good professors

here at ISoA, but if I had to pick a favorite,

I’d say Prof. Scott Murray. - Meghna Majethiya

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

I have had some really good professors here at ISoA, but if I had to pick a favorite, I’d say Prof. Scott Murray. He was my studio professor last semester. I also took his seminar “Experimental Envelopes” last spring and I’m currently doing an independent study with him. He guided us really well last semester with our project. He is very knowledgeable especially about building performance and envelope design. He is also meticulous and encouraging. I have learned a great deal from him.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I have had a really great year at ISoA. I am a member of the Gargoyle Architecture Honor Society. My studio partner, Wei Lin, and I also won the ASCA AISC Steel design competition (3rd place) for our project last semester! As a future alum, I hope I will be able to give back to ISoA as much as it has given me.

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7 Questions for M.Arch alumnus Wei Yu

Despite graduating in 2015, working for Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, and now Booth Hansen, former Track 3 student & ISoA M.Arch alumnus Wei Yu (Fish) can't seem to stay away from campus. Here's why - and more

Year graduated from UIUC: 2015

Firm where employed: Booth Hansen, Chicago, IL

Your Title: Associate Architect

What are you working on these days?

I am currently working on a U of I dining hall addition and renovation project. I started the project from the Schematic Design phase at the beginning of this year, and we are currently finishing up all the submission drawings and documents for construction. It is a challenging project considering some of the unique existing conditions.

There was a lot of flexibility in school

where I had the opportunity to explore

things I was interested in – parametric

design and digital fabrication. - Wei Yu

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?

ISoA prepared me very well; the most useful thing that I took away from my 4 years at U of I would be the ability to analyze and solve problems. It is the foundation to rationalizing any conceptual designs or developing architectural details. The school taught me the principles rather than how to use a specific program or draw specific details, which I appreciate the most. Also, there was a lot of flexibility in school where I had the opportunity to explore things I was interested in – parametric design and digital fabrication. I was able to take advantage of the resources we had at school, expand my knowledge and skillset.

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?

Really take advantage of all the resources the school has. Expand your professional network early on and most importantly, have fun!

Name something you miss about school?

I miss the freedom of exploring design without limitations, working hard with friends in studio, and going out with them right after. 

Something you don’t miss about school?

Having to work during the weekends all the time, especially on Sundays when there are football games going on and all my non-architecture friends would get to watch them all day long without me.

I learned a lot from my professor, Carl Lewis,

who I had many classes with when I started

my Track 3 program. What I appreciate the

most was that he challenged me, and motivated

me to always do better. Wei Yu

Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?

I had the opportunity to serve as the president for AIAS in school, and professor Randy Deutsch was my faculty advisor, focusing on professional development. Through AIAS and Randy, I was able to meet and develop relationships with many architects and other professionals while I was still in school. I am a strong believer that to be successful, it requires not only the qualifications and skillset you have, but also the mentorship and guidance you get from others around you. I also learned a lot from my professor, Carl Lewis, who I had many classes with when I started my Track 3 program. What I appreciate the most was that he challenged me, and motivated me to always do better. 

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?

I would take more classes outside of Architecture – real estate or finance. I would eat better, and drink better. 

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7 Questions for ISoA alumna Sudipta Rakshit

ISoA alumna Sudipta Rakshit on the importance of travelling the world, and pursuing her varied interests in architecture, construction management, real estate and business

Year graduated from UIUC: Spring 2017 (M.Arch)

Firm where employed: LM Consultants, Grayslake, IL

Your Title: Architectural Associate

What are you working on these days?

As an Architectural Associate, I am currently training under architects and engineers in my firm to conduct physical due diligence. We investigate the property in question and analyze cash flow for investors. The reports we provide can directly impact the financial success of an acquisition. On the other hand, as a Business Development Associate, I work on the development of new business opportunities and maintain existing ones.

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?

I chose to be a part of ISoA because it allowed me the flexibility to pursue my varied interests in the field of architecture, construction management, real estate and business. Juggling classes from all these departments has prepared me to easily transition into the industry.

Photo Caption: On top of the world!

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?

Explore all the options and seek opportunities. It is important to understand that architecture is not only about design. Finance and coordination are equally important. I would encourage students to pick up some basic knowledge in these related fields. As architects, we are trained to imagine the nonexistent and then build. Thus, we must be capable of applying these skills to our own life –focus on your goals and then create the path to it.

Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods.

Travelling allows one to explore out of their

comfort zone and greatly helps in understanding

how the differences in surroundings influences

people and places. Sudipta Rakshit

Name something you miss about school?

The fun-loving atmosphere of a college town.

Something you don’t miss about school?

The late nights and erratic sleep schedule.

U of I has many professors

that I adore.Sudipta Rakshit

Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?

U of I has many professors that I adore. Professor Poss allowed me to explore “crazy” ideas through design. Professor Sudarshan equipped me with the knowledge of structural analysis and made difficult seem easy. Studying and working under Professor Anthony taught me to notice issues that usually go unnoticed. Through Professor Deutsch, I learned the importance of networking in our profession.

Photo Caption: Selfie taken in Tanzania.

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?

I would focus on the present instead of constantly worrying about the future. 

Anything else you might like for us to know?

Outside of studio, I am an artist, dancer and an avid traveler. At 26, I have been to 21 countries and this has played a big role in shaping me as an individual as well as an architect. Travelling allows one to explore out of their comfort zone and greatly helps in understanding how the differences in surroundings influences people and places. 

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10 Questions for Matthew Giddens

A third generation Illini, the always-upbeat ISoA BSAS candidate Matthew Giddens on what it was like to be an Architecture Intern at Walt Disney Imagineering and more

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

As a third generation Illini, there was no debate that Illinois was the place for me. As I grew up and found my passion for architecture, it really was the perfect fit! I was fortunate enough to participate in Discover Architecture, a two week summer intensive before my freshman year and the friends I made during the program eased my transition into college.

Are you glad that you did? 

I have loved my time here in ISoA! I have learned from incredible professors and worked on projects within the local community, which have allowed me to better understand my projects I love being able to go to the site, take real measurements and visualize my concepts in reality.

I have loved my time here in ISoA! - Matthew Giddens

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I love commercial architecture, specifically entertainment and restaurants; any opportunity to let the user lose themselves in detail and feeling. I really appreciate the architecture in places like the Rainforest Cafe because of the element of full-immersion.

What did you do this past summer?

Over the last 8 months, I worked as an Architecture Intern under Walt Disney Imagineering! I was working on a ski-lift that would take users from parks to resorts around Disney property. It was an amazing experience working with a great team and I think it will be cool to tell my grandkids that I worked on something that will be there for a really long time.

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

Many of the things I’ve learning in the classroom have direct application to the real world. It was fascinating to see how the different disciplines worked together to create the product we will eventually see. Understanding the ‘lingo’ of each discipline and how they all worked together is just as important as the design itself. Communication tools that I have learned here at ISoA has helped me immensely interact in the real world.

Communication tools that I have learned

here at ISoA has helped me immensely

interact in the real world. - Matthew Giddens

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

I wish there was more internship/co-op opportunities built into our curriculum to get more hands on learning experience. I was able to gain so much from working in the real world, because I was able to see the relevance of my coursework in real world applications.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

I don’t have a preference to where I work. I think the fun of Architecture is that it’s all around you! No matter where the adventure takes me, I will be happy to study, practice, and learn.

University of Illinois and the School of Architecture

have provided me with amazing opportunities and

memories that will last a lifetime. - Matthew Giddens

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

My one piece of advice is to get active in all forms of architecture. Architecture can range from furniture making to construction management. With so many applications, it is best to expose yourself to as many variations as possible. I have gotten involved in many ways, such as my previous internships and events like Habitat for Humanity. Through these experiences, you can learn the ‘lingo’ of each discipline!

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

Time management! It is important to start projects early because it is easier to change something once you’ve started. Get information onto the paper, and do not be afraid to ask others for their input. Always think about the user and remember that they are the ones using it everyday, so design for them.

One of my favorite professors was Jeffery Poss. 

Professor Poss was an amazing mentor who challenged 

my every design and made me think and internalize 

about the WHY not just the WHAT. - Matthew Giddens

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

One of my favorite professors was Jeffery Poss. Professor Poss was an amazing mentor who challenged my every design and made me think and internalize about the WHY not just the WHAT. It made me become detail-oriented and focus on what matters versus what looks good. I thank him for challenging me and making me a better student and designer.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

The University of Illinois and the School of Architecture have provided me with amazing opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime. If you were to ask me four years ago what my future holds, I would have never guessed this was going to be my adventure! I am thankful to the faculty and staff here at UIUC and ISoA for giving me the tools to learn and cannot wait to see what my future holds!

...

 

10 Questions for 2018 M.Arch candidate Shirlo Selvam

Second year graduate student Shirlo Selvam on her belief that architecture can change the world for a better future, and why she feels that coming to ISoA was the best decision she made in her life

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

Back in India, when I was looking for an opportunity to pursue Masters in Architecture abroad, I came across the ISoA’s website, which had a ton of information with student portfolios, faculty information and facilities. I realised that being a part of ISoA will be the next major step in my life and will definitely enhance the architectural education that I had in India. Also looking into digital fabrication units, facilities, and studios, I was sure that ISoA could provide me a wide spectrum of opportunities to improve my design capabilities, processes, with more hands on experience.  Fellow Architects and my professors from India encouraged my wish to study Architecture in ISoA since they also believed that the school would support and help me broaden my vision towards Architecture.

This is the best decision I made in my life.

True to my dreams, the school is all that I

hoped for and even more. - Shirlo Selvam

Are you glad that you did?

This is the best decision I made in my life. True to my dreams, the school is all that I hoped for and even more. From a more conventional education I had, this was a great breakthrough for me. I am able to explore many ideas and design processes that were not exactly encouraged in my Bachelor’s education. It almost feels like I met the people who speak my language in Architecture. The sense of freedom I have when I design is something I have been yearning for. The support from the faculty and fellow students and the resources I have here is the backbone of my new and developed design capabilities.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I am usually more inclined to Architecture that plays a diagnostic role in its urban context. Our cities are far too urbanized and there are many opportunities for Architects to make their proposals play a role in many fields such as community engagement, environmental stability, ecosystem replenishment.

What did you do this past summer?

I am involved with two residential projects under construction in India and a new residential project, which is just starting up. I was developing drawings for these projects. My father’s construction firm is helping me complete two of the projects since they started right before I left India. As for the new project, I had to spend time with the clients with over video calls to get to know them for over a month to conclude about their needs and wishes. It was a lot of exchange of information and a long process with time zone change, but fruitfully, the project is soon to be on ground.

Other than that, I did some travelling mostly around Illinois.

ISoA provides great opportunities for

students to come across professionals

and collaborators. Shirlo Selvam

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

From my observation over the year and interactions with past year students who are successfully practicing in reputable offices, I definitely know that ISoA is moving me through my ladder up in my career.  ISoA provides great opportunities for students to come across professionals and collaborators to help students understand and explore their fields of interest for their career path. It creates a great platform for improving our skills that are demanded in the field.

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

During my Bachelors studies, I wish I had more exposure to Architectural theory to shape my philosophical ideas and digital fabrication to push my limits through my designs. However, the knowledge from India usually strengthens my design thoughts and claims most of the time. So I would not trade one for another even if I am time travelling. ISoA is providing me all the opportunities I missed out and my design approach has evolved to different levels after being exposed the studios and lectures involving a great deal of fabrication.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

As of now, I am fantasizing about making sustainable communities for India and Mexico. However, these thoughts change every season. On a general thought, I would like to work on regions with tensions due to socio- economical, political reasons. Like the famous self-taught Architect Tadao Ando, I also believe that ‘The way people live can be directed a little by Architecture’.

Every person you come across in this school

is a resource. Express your ideas and designs

to anyone who comes across. Shirlo Selvam

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Every person you come across in this school is a resource. Be bold to express your ideas and designs to anyone who comes across. They might surprise you with the tiniest detail that you may have never thought of.  

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

Discover and Rediscover your passion and love for Architecture as a student. Finding your purpose in this field will help you chose better career paths.  I chose Architecture because I believed the field is going to help me change people’s lives for better. Being a part of this field, enhanced my personal values and my design ideas and skills always revolved around those values.

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? 

I have too many favourites. I am thankful to all my professors who have been instrumental in shaping me as an Architect for the future. Starting with Prof. Eric Hemmingway in the first semester for the LAKA competition, I was able to extend my concepts and ideas to the ‘the dark side of the moon’ as he calls it. It was a great start for being a student again from practice, to be myself and express myself in my designs. In the spring, Professor Kevin Hinders gave me the freedom to explore few structural concepts of tensegrity for the ACSA steel competition with a great deal of support from Professor Sudharshan Krishnan. This fall I am in the Maker/Thinker studio with Professor Thérèse Tierney. In just two months, I can see myself at a different level in exploring and expressing my ideas. Exposed to 3d printing and program modelling, I can see my design capabilities shifting gears for the better. Professor Tierney supports my ideas and theories about Architecture being a wholesome entity, playing a complimentary role in a large scale by enfolding the urban context that it is established in.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I believe that Architecture can change the world for a better future, which gives me more reasons to indulge in it every second of my life. I like exploiting my capabilities and time for it than anything else since I believe I have an opportunity to make the future a better one for many. I am inclined towards preserving nature and all its resources because I know and have experienced the difference it makes with its presence and absence. My designs usually revolve around bringing back the Arcadia in the Utopian context. I plan on adapting ‘Zero waste lifestyle’ someday in the future. 

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10 Questions for Kirti Panwar

2018 ISoA M.Arch candidate Kirti Panwar on why she chose ISoA, the Chicago Studio, and how she found her zeitgeist

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

Illinois School of Architecture offered me the flexibility to choose my courses, and hence, strengthen my base in my interest areas. The school has an amazing faculty- showcasing a mix of the practice and research with diverse expertise. Thanks to its proximity to Chicago, this environment has offered a wealth of opportunities such as Chicago Studio, which allowed me the much needed exposure in the industry of Architecture.

Illinois School of Architecture offered me the flexibility

to choose my courses, and hence, strengthen my base

in my interest areas. - Kirti Panwar

Are you glad that you did?

I have completed one year in the Graduate program of Architecture, and I am very glad to have chosen this university. I have found my ‘zeitgeist’, what I want to be and do in architecture. I am in this pool of knowledge, with every batch-mate, every professor and every opportunity teaching me something new at every step.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I applied to this university with a strong inclination towards the urban aspect of architecture and certain factors that I held important as a budding architect. I have found my answer, encompassing the environment, the lives of people and importance of sustainability with the creation of architecture- urbanism. The university provided me with various seminars and subjects to be able to arrive at this answer and now I am guiding my remaining year to becoming a wholesome architect with the sensibility of the urban place and environment.

What did you do this past summer?

This past summer brought an unexpected opportunity of being a teaching assistant for a program- Discover Architecture. It is a summer-camp for high school students to introduce them to architecture and to this school. Discussing and communicating ideas with high-school students was a fun and a unique learning experience. I also studied and passed my Exam for becoming a LEED Green Associate- which was another way of expanding knowledge. Leisurely speaking, frisbee games and swimming with friends also enriched my summer.

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

ISoA has a rich mix of faculty, many of them from a strong practice background and network. Their experience and wisdom are valuable. Chicago Studio is another opportunity to dive into the Chicago firm culture and experience architecture as an industry of its own. There are other courses as well as time-to-time organized workshops by clubs which help every student to extend to the practice. Many studio projects also help us gain qualities required in a firm- either by choice of project, or through teamwork or a rich jury for reviews. Collectively, the school gives us many opportunities to prepare ourselves for a career in architecture.

ISoA has a rich mix of faculty, many of them

from a strong practice background and network.

Their experience and wisdom are valuable. - Kirti Panwar

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

I would like inclusion of classes enhancing communication and psychological skills which would help us understand our clients or the communities we would indulge with. Also, I would like to experiment and work with more model-making equipment and methods and make myself more familiar and aware of materials.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

I would love to work in the United States, there are many cities in this country which are a hub for architecture students and have many budding demand and architectural scenes. I have a strong love for Europe, for their approach to architecture, coupled with strong urbanism and sustainability- the Netherlands, the Scandinavian side, Barcelona, Paris, etc. I have a desire to work as an experience in Tokyo, Japan since Japanese architecture, architects and culture fascinate me immensely. If any other opportunities come my way, I will take them. I feel seeing different places have something highly productive and unique to offer to an architect. I would eventually settle in my home country- India and serve it in my own possible manner.

Explore, explore and explore! - Kirti Panwar

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Explore, explore and explore! As a freshman, I dived into whatever possible and developed a lot of extra-curricular oriented skills too. It is all a part of personality development. It is surprisingly crucial to figuring out your inclination toward a specific component of architecture, it being a magnificent field. I wish I knew through my undergraduate studies, the importance of time management- I knew that it is important but somehow never fully understood it, at least not enough to work towards achieving it. I understand its importance now and I am working on it. It is one important life skill to hone and master.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

I would recommend time management, as mentioned above and a sense of discipline. They both together are important to maintain work-life balance and give attention to one’s health, which is something I continue to work upon. I would also recommend that try to learn whatever you can, from whomever you can. It is good to be confident but replace your ‘I knows’ with anything you find you didn’t know and can learn. Also, self satisfaction is the key, with the work you produce, with how you play your part as a team and it is more important to focus on rather than appreciation. We joke that architecture students have no life, but it is recharging for the grey matter to indulge in something apart from architecture. And being in touch, spending time with family and friends is important, they are and should be an important part of your life.

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

I have been lucky to get great professors in both of my semesters. The amount of effort they put into your studio projects and seminars, and the passion they radiate for their subject is truly inspiring and educating. My first semester was Chicago Studio- a whole new experience in its own and being in a different country, learning a different culture, altogether made the first semester crucial. My professor for Chicago Studio- Prof. Deutsch, made this process very fruitful and smooth. I have gained valuable life lessons from him as my teacher.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I am an inquisitive person. I love architecture and always have since a very young age. Its power to create, enhance and serve the environment and people have always inspired me. Out of studio, I love dancing, playing basketball, swimming, reading, gardening, arranging rooms and spending time with family and friends. I am a nature person which stems from my upbringing. I love traveling and feel that it is super essential and fun to learn from different lives, places and cultures. When I become rich, I would like to spend on traveling, food, sport shoes and on creating my own library.

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7 Questions for ISoA alumna Annie Sit

A rising star within her organization, Senior Associate and licensed architect Annie Sit is living proof of the success that can come to those who, with some hard work and dedication, graduate from the ISoA Track 3 M.Arch program 

Year graduated from UIUC: 2014

Firm where employed: CannonDesign, Chicago

Your Title: Senior Associate 

What are you working on these days?

I am working on the construction administration phase of a replacement hospital in northern Wisconsin. The project is about 350,000 square feet, including a hospital and a medical office building. Targeted date for substantial completion will be early summer 2018. Besides project, I am assisting with fee and schedule proposal for a RFP. I also developed a "how-to guide" on IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health, the authority having jurisdiction for healthcare projects in Illinois) submission and review process for the Health Studio in the Chicago office.  

The Track 3 M.Arch program...was very

flexible and allowed me to focus on pursuing

my interests in healthcare. - Annie Sit

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?

Very well. I was enrolled in the Track 3 M.Arch program, which took 4 years to complete. Although it seemed long, the program was very flexible and allowed me to focus on pursuing my interests in healthcare. For example, I did three independent study research projects with Professor Worn. Each project concentrated on a specific topic in the field of healthcare design, from evidence-based design, pre-design research/programming, to the development of imaging technology in western medicine. These learning experience were so unique and gave me a different perspective on healthcare architecture.

Photo: Annie Sit with Jim Skalla, Vice President at CannonDesign (and

also a proud alumnus of ISoA!)

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?

Listen, observe, and be open-minded.

Name something you miss about school?

Working on studio or class projects with friends. 

Something you don’t miss about school?

Scheduling time slots to use the laser printer near the end of semester. There were so many students but only 4 laser cutters were available.

Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?

I am fortunate to learn from many professors at ISoA who are experts in their field of studies. Three of the professors continue to inspire me - Professor Bill Worn, who always challenges me to think critically and encourages me to explore new ideas; Professor Kathryn Anthony, who is a strong advocate for equality and diversity in race and gender in our profession; Professor Randy Deutsch, who is a great mentor and provides a lot of guidance for my career growth.

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?

I would spend more time with family and friends, eat well, and exercise more.

...

10 Questions for Nathan Mollway

2018 B.S. in Architectural Studies candidate Nathan Mollway on his plans to couple his interest in design with his minor in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability and more

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

My first exposure to the curriculum was as a high school student through the Discover Architecture program hosted by the Illinois School of Architecture. I agree with quite a few others when I say that there is such a romanticism associated with the field of architecture, so the opportunity to engage with the ISoA program at such a fundamental, tangible level was beyond rewarding and one that effectively gave me the drive to commit as an incoming student.

Are you glad that you did?

It would be difficult to describe anything else for which I’ve worked so hard and, by result, valued at such a level as I do my Bachelor of Science degree from ISoA. I’m grateful to my peers and esteemed professors here; all of whom having made it increasingly clear that I made the right choice in choosing ISoA for my undergraduate education.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I hope to build upon my minor degree in Earth, Society, and Environment Studies to further my focus in sustainable design. Ideally, I aspire to partner this with my pursuit of design for broader social and equitable applications. Architectural expression is most harmoniously pursued with an urban and/or community context in mind, and I hope to carry this perspective forward as I grow within the field.

What did you do this past summer?

I participated in what can only be described as a pivotal 12-week internship with Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects, based in Chicago, IL. The degree of responsibility afforded to me by the professionals with whom I had the opportunity to work was unparalleled to anything I had yet experienced, and the passion each member of the WJW team brought to the office will continue to motivate me as I advance in my academic and professional careers.

I believe in ISoA’s ability to create that

foundation from which we as students

can build our careers. - Nathan Mollway

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

I believe in ISoA’s ability to create that foundation from which we as students can build our careers. As with any field, I think it takes a strong sense of self and an effective set of skills to succeed, and I have confidence that ISoA provides its students the starting point to continue what is an evolving process of development.

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

If I had the opportunity to go back, I would hopefully take with me the understanding that your time and how you spend it cannot be replaced. I would take more time and care in understanding who I was as an incoming student and in what ways I wanted to advance. I think it was an effective self-evaluation midway through my academic career that really brought with it a reframing of personal goals.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

I would love to gain experience in a multitude of spaces, and hopefully a wide-range of cities. In five years’ time, even though I cannot foretell where it will be precisely, I hope you’ll find me in a comfortably lit space surrounded by engaging peers and projects, each grounding me in the profession and surrounding community.

Take the time to enrich your understanding

of the field at every available opportunity,

and reach out to your peers in the classes

above. - Nathan Mollway

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Understand that you will grow immeasurably as a student of architecture. Take the time to enrich your understanding of the field at every available opportunity, and reach out to your peers in the classes above.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

We are our greatest resources; have that conversation with your professor, explore the studio spaces of a class above your own. Visualizing where you can go as a student in the school of architecture should require a broad perspective. I just recently learned something new about an architectural (software) program I use almost daily because a few days prior to answering this question I just happened to be discussing an irksome feature about the program with a fellow classmate that could be easily resolved. This is a minor example, but we can learn a lot from those immediately closest to us, if only we take the time to reach out.

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

I had the privilege to take two courses under the direction of Professor Jennifer Burns in my completion of ISoA’s architectural history requirements. She encouraged a comprehensive understanding of the great artists and architects who came before us, and the level of personal commitment and compassion she brings to her position is reflected in the high appreciation her students have for her work.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

This has been the hardest question to answer, surprisingly enough. Part of me wants to be goofy and write about my unparalleled love for banana cream pie, but I also want to maintain a professional profile. So, both sides won and you get this. Ultimately, I want to thank ISoA for asking me, and many of my peers, these questions, and I hope those reading gain a stronger understanding of who makes up the architecture program at UIUC.

...

 

10 Questions for Casey Revelle

Catch-up with Casey Revelle as she simultaneously pursues two Masters degrees in fields of study she is passionate about

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

Like most architecture students, I was going through the panic of finalizing my portfolio and applying to graduate schools all over the country without knowing where I wanted to end up. I’ve lived in Illinois my entire life, and completed my undergraduate degree at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, so my main priority was to get out of Illinois! Nevertheless, I knew U of I was ranked among the best in nation, so I attended the graduate open house. That’s when I found out about the dual-degree programs offered, a program of study that wasn’t offered from any of my other schools of interest. I was attracted to the opportunity to structure my education around my interests and long-term goals. The rest is history! 

I knew U of I was ranked among

the best in nation, so I attended

the graduate open house.

Casey Revelle

Are you glad that you did?

Absolutely! The campus as a whole has a great student culture. You can’t help but feel the pride the students and community have for U of I. ISoA in particular has helped me build lasting relationships with fellow students, professors, and working professionals and is preparing me for my future in architecture and construction.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I’m currently pursuing a joint Master’s degree in Architecture and Construction Management, which allows me the flexibility to focus on two fields I’m passionate about. I enjoy design, but I’m also interested in how, when, and by what means and methods the project can be built.

ISoA has helped me build lasting relationships

with fellow students, professors, and working

professionals and is preparing me for my future

in architecture and construction. Casey Revelle

What did you do this past summer?

I moved to the east coast for the summer and interned with The FWA Group Architects in Charlotte, North Carolina. There I worked on several projects at various stages, ranging from design development to construction administration. It was a great opportunity to work from both sides of the spectrum and get hands-on experience both in the office and out on-site.

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

One of the great things about ISoA is its commitment to helping students succeed in the workforce. There have been countless successful architects, designers, etc. come through the School of Architecture, and they often return to the campus as guest lecturers to share the career paths they’ve taken since their time at U of I. The annual career fair is also a great opportunity to talk with world-renowned architecture firms about your passions, get feedback on your portfolio, even land a dream job!

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

Studying at universities that are strong both technically and in design has given me a well-rounded education in architecture. But if I could change one thing, I would have studied abroad. One of the best ways to learn is by traveling and experiencing the architecture you’d otherwise only read about, and college is a great time to pursue that. Luckily, ISoA offers programs both in undergraduate and graduate studies that allow students to go abroad for short or long-term.

One of the great things about ISoA is its

commitment to helping students succeed

in the workforce. Casey Revelle

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

I’m willing to go where the work is. Right now, I’ve got my sights set somewhere along the east coast, which is currently home to some of the fastest-growing cities. I’m also interested in places like Houston, Texas that are already established, but are in the midst of rebuilding after the wake of a hurricane.

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Ask questions! Do the readings! Yes, it will be on the final exam! I think one of the most important things to remember during your time in architecture school is that you’re building a foundation for yourself (no pun intended), and how strong it is will be completely up to the amount of work you’re willing to put in. Take the time to learn it now instead of waiting until you think you’ll “need” it.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

Work smarter, not harder! Even as a graduate student, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the complexity of your projects. Time management is such a crucial skill not just in school, but in the workforce. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals is a great way to keep yourself on track and make room for some free time. Find a hobby, join an RSO, just do something you enjoy that gets your mind off of architecture for a little while before you head back to studio to pull that all-nighter.

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

My first semester at U of I, I took a studio with Professor Bognar. He has a contagious passion for architecture that is not confined to the studio. He’s traveled the world time and time again, meeting with world-renowned architects and speaking at events around the globe. His willingness to share his experiences and design philosophies with his students has left a lasting-impression on my own views of architecture.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I’ve been lucky to serve as a Teaching Assistant under Professor Randy Deutsch for a sophomore-level practice course that teaches students about the anatomy and construction of buildings. It’s been a great opportunity to connect with students, manage a learning environment, and build on leadership skills.

...

 

7 Questions for ISoA alumna Karolina Snarskyte 

From Architectural Intern to Associate and Project Architect in no time, Karolina Snarskyte is leveraging her ISoA education to great impact in her firm and in the city! 

Year graduated from UIUC ISoA:  M.Arch, May 2013

Firm where employed: Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture

Your Title: Project Architect

What are you working on these days? 

Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) works on a variety of commercial and residential projects in Chicago and across the country. Currently, I am working on a new construction residential tower in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. The building is 40 stories tall with 69 custom luxury condo units. You can say I work on 69 custom homes at once. 

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now? 

Extremely well, my education equipped me with the technical knowledge and skills directly applicable in the work place.

With so much of design happening in the

digital space, understanding basic construction

conventions is a major advantage. Karolina Snarskyte 

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students? 

Find a way to get hands-on construction experience, whether through design-build studios, volunteer work or other activities. With so much of design happening in the digital space, understanding basic construction conventions is a major advantage. Also, ask questions and don't forget that college is what you make of it.

Name something you miss about school? 

Architecture history classes. I was always fascinated with understanding history through the built environment.

John Stallmeyer taught me a lot

about finding the design problem

and solving for it.Karolina Snarskyte 

Something you don’t miss about school? 

Late night printing problems. 

Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why? 

Too many! John Stallmeyer taught me a lot about finding the design problem and solving for it. While abroad in Versailles, Alejandro Lapunzina taught me the fundamentals of architecture, attention to detail and professionalism. Randy Deutsch showed the importance of networking. Marci Uihlein not only taught structures but also grit in getting through a problem. And of course, Abbas Aminmansour taught me how to "steel"!  

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why? 

I would pursue a second degree in conjunction with Architecture, either in Construction Management or Business. There is a gap among young professionals in understanding business and construction. I believe architects can be more influential if they can speak the language of developers and contractors.

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10 Questions for Top Nasueb

Local Kid, Top Nasueb, Does Good! Self-described townie attended Urbana Middle School, Urbana High School, UIUC Undergrad, and is now pursuing a UIUC Grad dual degree while serving as an exceptional TA

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

I chose ISoA because the school offers many flexibility within the field of architecture. The various courses allow you to design your education if desired. Whether you want to specialize in structures, technology, urbanism, sustainability and/or preservation, you have options.

Are you glad that you did? Why/why not?

I am glad that I chose ISoA because I can focus on architecture, structures and construction management all at the same time. My goal is to become a master builder, and I believe this is one of the best school for it.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

My area of interest is in technology, performance, structure and constructability aspects of architecture. I am a very detail oriented individual, and I enjoy learning about how a building comes together.

Whether you want to specialize in structures,

technology, urbanism, sustainability and/or

preservation, you have options. - Top Nasueb

What did you do this past summer?

I worked on a high-rise Judicial Courthouse during my summer internship at Wight and Company, and I traveled to Italy for a summer architectural design workshop in Volterra. Also, I visited Greece for a personal study of the Acropolis in Athens and Akrotiri in Santorini.

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

A lot of what you do in the professional world will be different from school. However, ISoA does an excellent job in exposing me with the basic knowledge of what I will need in my professional career. 

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

I wish there were more collaboration with different departments. Creating a building requires various experts from different fields, and it is important to learn how to communicate and coordinate tasks with different people.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

Because I grew up in a warm climate zone, I would like to work in states such as California, Texas, New Mexico, and Florida.

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Take risks. I believe one of the best ways to challenge yourself is to take risks, and doing it during one's undergraduate years is the perfect time. Once you are a graduate student, it is very challenging to propose “crazy ideas.. It is not because you are prohibited, but rather, because there are more parameters to follow.

One of the best ways to challenge yourself is

to take risks, and doing it during one's under-

graduate years is the perfect time. Top Nasueb

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

Studio along with other courses will be challenging and demanding. It is important to relax and do fun activities once in a while. Work hard, play hard.

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

I have to note Professor Sudarshan Krishnan for his comedic performance in structure classes. He made the topic a lot more interesting with his cheesy jokes. He is probably the only professor that remembers my long and complicated real name. Also, Professor Randy Deutsch deserves recognition. Everyone knows his undergraduate classes are extremely early and dry, but he always shows up prepare, very enthusiastic, and very animated.   

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I am a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and the new Treasurer for the Gargoyle Honors Society. I am currently pursuing my dual Masters in Architecture and Civil Engineering: Construction Management. Also, I am a townie that went to Urbana Middle School, Urbana High School, UIUC Undergrad, and UIUC Grad. 

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7 Questions for Meagan Radloff

2017 ISoA alumna Meagan Radloff talks to us about developing time management skills, spending less time worrying, and the importance of taking risks

Year graduated from UIUC: Spring 2017

Firm where employed: Bulley & Andrews

Your Title: Project Engineer

What are you working on these days?

I am part of the masonry restoration team for Bulley & Andrews.  We perform all services necessary to restore, maintain, protect and preserve a building's envelope. Currently, I am working with 3D scanning technology to turn existing buildings into computer models for high-precision measurement and analysis. This 3D documentation gives us faster and more accurate data to minimize field time, accelerate project timelines and reduce development risk.

The Illinois School of Architecture played

an integral role in preparing me for a career

in construction! - Meagan Radloff

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?

The Illinois School of Architecture played an integral role in preparing me for a career in construction! I chose ISoA because of the dual degree offered in architecture and construction management. The time management skills I learned while earning two degrees, along with the endless opportunities and available resources, really made for a great career platform.

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?

Don’t be afraid to take risks! Whether it be in your design, a class you aren’t sure about taking or a fellowship that seems just out of reach. College is a great place to break out of your comfort zone and explore new passions. You may be surprised how much your interests and goals change based on new experiences.

Don’t be afraid to take risks! Whether it be in 

your design, a class you aren’t sure about taking 

or a fellowship that seems just out of reach. 

- Meagan Radloff

Name something you miss about school?

Studio culture and collaboration.

Something you don’t miss about school?

The late nights that turned into early mornings.

Did you have a favorite professor? 

My favorite professor is Professor Deutsch because he inspired and encouraged my unique path through architecture. Professor Deutsch has an interesting perspective on alternative routes relating to the field and went above and beyond to help me explore those options. There is no doubt that he is passionate about his career but it’s the fact that he has so many careers and finds passion in all of them that truly sets him apart as a memorable professor.

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?

If I could go back, I would spend less time worrying. Throughout my education, I spent a lot of time focusing on the future and sometimes I would forget to live in the present.  One of my favorite quotes that helped me break the habit is, “worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere”. -Unknown 

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10 Questions for Chris Isenhower 

Scholarship recipient, Outstanding Student Leader, Teaching Assistant, Fellow in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, take a moment to catch up with May 2018 Master of Architecture Candidate Chris Isenhower

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

Growing up, my family started taking me to Illini sporting events as soon as I could walk. I knew all along for undergraduate studies I wanted to come to Illinois, and if I could have only applied one place, it would have been U of I. I figured out architecture was what I wanted to do through my love of math and science, along with curiosity of drawing. For graduate studies, I looked at several different options, but was drawn back to Illinois because of the flexibility the curriculum provided me. Since the University of Illinois is a research-based institution, I knew I would also get the chance to explore my interests and learn from some of the best faculty in the world.

It is hard to even describe the amount of

personal and professional growth I have

gained through the University of Illinois.

Chris Isenhower

Are you glad that you did?

It is hard to even describe the amount of personal and professional growth I have gained through the University of Illinois. I have been able to take advantage of the opportunities both within the department, and outside the department on the campus level. In undergrad, I was heavily involved in Student Alumni Ambassadors, which coordinates large-scale campus events like Illinois Sights and Sounds, iHelp, and Homecoming, among others. Through this involvement, more opportunities to get involved came along, and I was able to build a professional development skill-set alongside what I was learning in the classroom. These various experiences led to internships, connections, and gave me a unique perspective coming back to studio.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

My interests lie at architecture’s intersection with sport and tourism. With the flexibility of the graduate program at Illinois, I have been able to take elective courses in the highly-ranked Recreation, Sport and Tourism (RST) department, allowing me to find the fuse between the two, and prepare myself for a career within the sport and tourism design industry. I am starting research this year with a professor within RST looking at how the built environment effects outcomes of sport for development and peace programs in the Pacific Islands. These community sport and educational programs play a major role in villages across the islands, and with improved insight into how the built environment effects these outcomes, they may be able to improve programming reach and further drive impactful success.

The professors I have had, as well as

the technicality of the coursework

have prepared me for a career in

architecture.Chris Isenhower

What did you do this past summer?

This past summer I worked at Populous in Denver, Colorado as a Student Intern in their Events Group. Populous is a global architecture and design firm that designs the places where people love to be together, like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics, and the Super Bowl. Their events group focuses on event bids, overlay design, masterplanning, event operations, signage and wayfinding, and accreditation. I was able to partake in projects for some of the largest professional leagues, as well as international federations of sport. I am excited to be returning to the firm upon graduation with a full-time position.

(Photo: Populous site visit to the new Colorado State University Football Stadium)

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

Yes, I feel the professors I have had, as well as the technicality of the coursework have prepared me for a career in architecture. While in school, it may seem overwhelming at times, but the information you are taught is extremely valuable for practicing in the profession. The flexibility to take elective coursework in other world-renowned departments helps give you a broad perspective that you may not get elsewhere.

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

Looking back, I think a computer science class regarding programming and coding would have been useful as technology continues to change in the industry. I also think more experiential learning programs with firms would be beneficial to a student’s architecture education. I have been fortunate to have many different internship experiences with firms of different sizes, industries, and cities. However, if that could be integrated into the program as semester-long design research projects with firms across the US, the firms and students would both benefit. It might also help students determine which area of architecture they like the most. The architecture student organizations do a great job of setting up firm visits, and a design research initiative could be the next step to continue to set Illinois apart from other schools.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

I have interned in St. Louis, Cleveland, Denver, and will be moving to Kansas City upon graduation for a rotation in the Americas Headquarters of Populous. I think a variance of experiences in different places helps a student grow and travel to places they may not have thought about otherwise. I am excited to see where my work takes me, and would enjoy an opportunity to work internationally on a large event or project if the opportunity arises.

It is never too early to start learning software.

The industry continues to change with technology,

and the more you know sets you apart from others

seeking that same job you might be applying to.

Chris Isenhower

What one piece of advice would you give to a current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Thinking back to my freshman year, I am amazed at how far I have come through determination and hard work. There are definitely many things I would advise to younger students who are just starting their architectural education, but there is one that stands out. I would say that it is never too early to start learning software. The industry continues to change with technology, and the more you know sets you apart from others seeking that same job you might be applying to.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

Get involved both inside and outside of the architecture school!!! Some of my best memories from architecture school are from late nights at studio, but my others are all from the RSOs I was a part of, and the experiences they brought me. They help you establish time management skills and help you establish your interests outside of architecture, which help you become a more well-rounded person. There is also a thrill you get from staying up most of the night building balloon arches for homecoming, decorating the quad at 6am, and then having to go to studio and try to spread Illini spirit to all of your sleep-deprived classmates.

(Photo: Illinois Homecoming Parade, 2014)

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

Within the architecture department, I had Professor Chasco my senior year for Capstone Studio. He made me think about design in ways I never had thought about before. I had never had a professor so invested in us as students, and wanting to know what we do outside the classroom and our interests. I remember one time he came into studio on a Saturday and asked me why I wasn’t at the football game! There is more to the college experience besides the classroom, and he helped remind us of that. He was a big reason I chose to stay at Illinois for graduate studies, after truly seeing what the program could offer me and the faculty I could be learning from in the graduate program.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

At Illinois, I have been able to have a broad range of experiences inside and outside the classroom. In 2015, I traveled the country researching sports venues through the Allerton American Traveling Scholarship, and have been able to visit various other cities through studios, including a trip to New York City last fall with Professor Kevin Erickson. I served as President of Student Alumni Ambassadors, as well as a year-long term as the Urbana Student Representative on the University of Illinois Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. I was a selected to the Senior 100 Honorary in 2016, and was named the CASE ASAP Outstanding Student Leader for the Great Lakes Region in 2015. My senior year, I served as a Fred H. Turner Fellow in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and am a member of the Gargoyle Architecture Honor Society. I was previously a discussion section leader for FAA 101, and currently serve as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Randy Deutsch in Architecture 231. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies with High Honors from Illinois in May of 2016, and I am currently a Master of Architecture Candidate, with an expected graduation of May 2018.

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10 Questions for Alexander Sulek

Treasurer of the Society of Business Management in Architecture (SBMA), Director of Events for the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), BSAS Class of 2019 candidate with a Minor in Business, Alex Sulek is continuously looking for ways to advance his education - and his career!

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

ISoA was the very first architecture school I toured and continued to hold other universities up to that standard as I visited them. After four years of college searching no other school felt right besides University of Illinois and the School of Architecture. At Illinois, I felt the curriculum had the perfect balance between technical and conceptual work. Finally, with the school’s proximity to Chicago, it offers students networking potential in one of the greatest cities, known for its architecture, in the world.  

At Illinois, I felt the curriculum

had the perfect balance between

technical and conceptual work.

- Alex Sulek

Are you glad that you did?

Deciding to attend ISoA has been one of the best decisions of my life. Upon enrolling in the university, I have continued to become more and more impressed with the network the school has established. Additionally, University of Illinois creates such a broad education that I feel comfortable pursing any goals I desire with graduate schooling and professional practice.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I am very interested in tall building design. In my free time, I often find myself on architecture firms websites reading about their latest works and how they have become possible. On top of that, I have a strong interest in the areas of hospitality and lifestyle design.

What did you do this past summer?

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to receive an architecture internship in the New York City area. Throughout the duration of the summer, I lived on the NYU campus with other interns, worked 40+ hours a week, and took two summer classes for my Business Minor. In my free time, I toured the city and witnessed some of the world’s most impressive architecture.

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

ISoA provides the necessary courses and resources to prepare me for any architecture related career I desire. Students take classes across the whole spectrum. From using Revit to comprehend the construction of a building to taking a course solely on lighting design, the ISoA education provides a diverse variety of classes that have really helped define where I would like to begin my career.   

ISoA provides the necessary courses

and resources to prepare me for any

architecture related career I desire.

- Alex Sulek

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

I believe that ISoA should have students enrolled in a professional development class freshman year. Networking and establishing proper connections with firms is an important subject that needs more focus early in the curriculum. I have discovered this need through mistakes I have made while looking for an internship. Learning the do’s and don’ts of networking would be a very beneficial skill to develop throughout ones education and professional career.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

After my summer internship, I am torn between New York City and Chicago. In New York, impressive international firms have offices such as Bjarke Ingles Group and Snohetta. However, Chicago has an exciting network of top firms in a comfortable city that I have come to call “home” for the past 20 years.

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

I would tell all freshmen to learn how to sketch and hard draw as early as possible. I have noticed that students who have the best sketching abilities tend to produce some of the most powerful work so I believe that there is a consistency with the skills. Additionally, programs such as Revit and Rhino have so many layers to them that is never hurts to get familiar with the interface and capabilities of the program early. It will make projects easier later on and enhance your creative talents. Finally, I recommend that all students read about architecture every day. Whether it is one article online or Architectural Record magazine, students should begin to familiarize themselves with successful projects as early as possible.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

To improve the life of being an architecture student I would recommend staying on top of your deadlines and keeping a consistent schedule. Even if you have class at different times each day try to start your day early and at the same time. This has always helped me be more effective with my time management and I have continuously produced successful grades.  

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

Professor Deutsch is extremely knowledgeable about the direction architecture is going through BIM and new construction techniques and strategies. He has written books and has also taught at Harvard for summer courses. On top of this, Professor Deutsch teaches a course about construction science and helps students understand how buildings practically come together. Finally, Randy is very well connected with the Chicago architecture network and understands the proper steps to take towards achieving my career goals. 

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

For me, architecture has been a passion of mine ever since I was in elementary school. With this history, I have had the opportunities to learn and develop my skills throughout every phase of my education. That said, I continuously try to take steps to improve my knowledge of the profession. I am highly involved outside of school here at Illinois. I am the Treasurer of the Society of Business Management in Architecture as well as the Director of Events for the American Institute of Architecture Students. I am continuously looking for ways to advance my education and am always open to talk about anything. 

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10 Questions for Logan Walker

Dual MBA / Master of Architecture student, President of the Society of Business Management in Architecture (SBMA), VP of Outreach for Rho Epsilon student Real Estate Development Program, Student Senate Representative for the College of Fine and Applied Arts...and that barely skims the surface of what makes Logan Walker stand out at ISoA.

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

My initial reasons for deciding to go to Illinois School of Architecture came from the rich history of architecture and the graduates that have come from the program. ISoA graduates make a global impact and the school is highly ranked around the world. My decision to go to the Illinois School of Architecture for graduate school stemmed from my exceptional experience as an undergraduate student at the Illinois School of Architecture. Having professors who truly want to see you succeed is key for a success in any program. I can honestly say that ISoA has faculty who will go out of their way to make sure that students succeed.  

Are you glad that you did? 

I am very glad that I chose the Illinois School of Architecture for my graduate studies. I toured Berkeley, University of Washington, U Penn, Columbia and the University of Michigan. I must say that none of these schools have the alumni connections that UIUC has. Only 12 schools have a joint MBA / M-ARCH program and UIUC is one of them. The Chicago studio really caught my eye and helped to draw me back to my alma for graduate studies. I know the value that this institution provides and I strongly believe that UIUC graduates are extremely well prepared. We can balance the rigorous coursework while also being able to carry a conversation with others. This is key to the business environment and likely why companies will hire students because they want the student who is not only smart but one they can also carry a conversation with.

ISoA graduates make a global impact

and the school is highly ranked around

the world. - Logan Walker

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

My passion for architecture stems from the impact that it can have on the built environment. In studio, I always look at the bigger picture that architecture has on a community. The core and shell of buildings will leave a lasting impact on the environment and everyone who interacts with them. This is a broader look at the urbanism aspects of development. Considering this, real estate development is what invigorates me. Building on my architecture foundation, I can bring unique insights to how people will interact with the built environment. This, to me, will enable me to make the key decisions that will leave a lasting impact on a community.

What did you do this past summer?

This past summer I worked at Project Management Advisors, PMA, in Chicago as an Intern Project Manager. I was able to grow in my knowledge of the built environment and how developments are managed. PMA are the owner’s representative for development projects. For instance, I drafted and sent out AIA contracts to contractors, searched and recommended architects for projects, and sent out RFPs for engineering firm material testing. I was on a construction site almost every day and coordinating projects with owners and contractors.

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

I definitely feel that the Illinois School of Architecture is preparing me for success in my future aspirations. There is such a depth of knowledge being gained in how to create active and engaging environments. I strongly believe that I will be well prepared at graduation to make a real impact on the built environment.

My decision to go to the Illinois School of Architecture

for graduate school stemmed from my exceptional experience

as an undergraduate student at the Illinois School of Architecture.

- Logan Walker

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

I think that the most valuable experiences that I have gained as an architecture student thus far have been the hands-on activities. As architecture students, we are visual people. I have been able to participate in day-long mentorships where I can see first-hand the work that I aspire to do. I could see the program encouraging more students to partake in case competitions and having an action learning environment to enhance connections with industry leaders while also balancing this with classroom learning.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

For now, I am open to multiple possibilities of where I would like to work. What I do know is that I want to make an impact. I want to have ownership in where I work and own the buildings that I create. Ideally, I want to have a global impact on the built environment and to be working on the complex mix-use developments. For this, I see myself in the NYC and or Chicago market where I will be able to work on projects around the world.

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

If you are going to be somewhere, be there. I would say that this is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to an incoming student. If you are unsure, try it! You will not be sorry for putting in more effort and chances are that it will only increase your interests!

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

I would have to say that I would love to see more professors who encourage students to be engaged in extracurricular activities and networking opportunities. I know that most professors do encourage this, however, they are not as flexible with students to be able to attend these events. I think it builds unity in the program and increases chances for students to jumpstart their paths after architecture school.

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

It is hard to say who my FAVORITE professor is… The professors that I have gained the most from in my architecture studios have been Professor Hinders, and Professor Murray. I love the knowledge of architecture that I gained with Professor Hinders. Each day I felt like I was learning something new that I could apply to my future. Professor Murray really lets students own their projects and experiment with whatever they are passionate about. He is such a huge advocate of letting students learn what they want while also keeping you on track to have an amazing project. Finally, Professor Burns probably was my favorite professor. I would always be excited to go to class and could not wait to hear what we would cover in class. Her modern architecture class really hits on my aspirations to know how the built environment came to be. I love reflecting on how the built environment was shaped and why. She covers this all in the Modern American architecture class in how cities were formed!

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I am a dual Master of Business Administration, Master of Architecture student. I have been actively involved on campus. I am currently the President of the Society of Business Management in Architecture (SBMA), and the Vice President of Outreach for Rho Epsilon the student Real Estate Development Program. I was previously the American Institute of Architects, AIA, Illinois Student Director where I communicated with each AIAS chapter across the state. I was the AIAS President, Vice President, Treasurer and helped coordinate and lead trips to NYC, Chicago, and Boston. I have been active in the Student Senate where I was the Student Representative for the College of Fine and Applied Arts for the past two years. Finally, I have competed and won a $10,000 case competition for CoreNet Global, a corporate real estate organization, in Philadelphia last year. 

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7 Questions for David Emmons

David Emmons is a Lecturer at the Illinois School of Architecture, and a whole lot more

Why did you choose ISoA to teach architecture?

I was fortunate to be offered an adjunct position directly out of graduate school and thought that teaching would be a great opportunity to continue learning from the faculty I looked up to in school while also leaving an impression on students as they begin to build their careers.

How would you describe your focus/area of research in architecture to someone who is outside academia and the profession?

Within the School of Architecture, I contribute to the “detail + Fabrication” program area which can range from independent studies to workshops and tutorials for both undergraduate and graduate students. This came in part because I worked on a design-build project at the Student Sustainable Farm several years ago that introduced me to materiality and constructability, but also budgeting and marketing. In my own personal research/area of focus, I have been working on projects and collaborations that explore future tourism(s) at multiple scales and intentions. These have ranged from astronomy centers in the middle of the ocean to visitor stations on the moon and Mars.

Do anything interesting this past summer? The last place you traveled to?

Over the summer I was working on several architecture competitions in addition to several furniture pieces. The furniture pieces are part of a series of explorations of Cherry wood, including a coffee table, bench, and side table. The last place I traveled to? I guess that would be Seattle – I spent a week there over the summer visiting family.

Do you believe ISoA does a good job preparing students for a career in architecture?

I believe so, yes.

I have been working on projects...rang(ing) from

astronomy centers in the middle of the ocean

to visitor stations on the moon and Mars.

- David Emmons

If you could change one thing about architectural education, what would it be?

Any question about architectural education and pedagogy is tough…partly because what students do in school is often “other” or not related to what one would do in the profession of Architecture – but I do not necessarily consider that a bad thing. What I mean by that is students can learn a lot in school about how to design an imaginary structure or how to create a beautiful image, but at what cost? Is an imaginary structure or a beautiful image enough? I think that students in architecture often oversee how important it is to communicate verbally…specifically, how to listen. I guess in short you could say “listen more, draw less.”

Caption: Student projects from Arch 271 Graphics for Architects,
taught by David Emmons and Andrea Melgarejo de Berry.

Do you keep in touch with former students? If yes, how?

Yes, actually. The students that continue on to graduate school often fill me in on what they are working on and where they plan to work over the summer or whatever. Often times it is through email, but sometimes through social media such as LinkedIn. Also, I try to talk with as many former students (now graduate students at U of I) as I can to find out what they are working on and sometimes invite them in to review sophomore and junior students of mine.

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew as an architecture student that you know now?

Ask questions. Be persistent. Find things within the field that truly interest you and explore them to the fullest. But mostly, ask questions…not just to professors, but to other students. Again, listen more, draw less.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

Work in the studio, not at your apartment or your dorm. Work in the studio – watch movies in the studio, eat sandwiches in the studio, draw sketches of each other’s projects in the studio, drink coffee in the studio (but don’t spill please), listen to music in the studio, argue in the studio, listen to each other in the studio. Your life may not be more fulfilled, but it will certainly be more chaotic, which is good. 

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10 Questions for Lauren Garriott

2019 Master of Architecture candidate Lauren Garriott is the Co-Vice President of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS), installs art shows at the Krannert Art Museum, and someone you should know

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

I had heard the undergraduate and especially the graduate architecture programs are ranked among the best in the nation, in addition to its great study abroad programs. The university is also a short distance from my hometown and being close to home is important to me.

Are you glad that you did? Why/why not?

Yes, of course. I cannot imagine not being able to form the strong friendships that I have with the great people I had met. The familiarity with the campus and faculty and having a leadership role in NOMAS are what drew me back to school for my graduate studies.  

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I have become passionate about community engagement through architecture. I want to learn more about community development projects, like designing for underrepresented communities, and how, as designers, we can help create a sense of community to enrich the lives of people.

Caption: From Lauren's time abroad traveling to Rome for a sketching workshop.

What did you do this past summer?

This past summer I worked at Harding Partners in downtown Chicago for three weeks. I was given the opportunity to work on the conceptual design for part of a university master plan located in Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, I spent most of the summer spending time with my family and friends whom I had not seen for several months while I participated in the Barcelona Study Abroad Program last year.

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

Most definitely. I admit there might be a couple courses that I feel do not prepare me for the kind of architecture career I want, but that is why I chose to take the community design and urban environment studio and a social/behavior factors for design course this semester to push me in the direction I want to pursue in architecture. It is not about the school itself preparing you, it should be about how you use the great resources offered through the program to make yourself prepared.

[One thing I would change is] I would

be involved in more organizations and

professional events my freshman and

sophomore years. -  Lauren Garriott

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

I would be involved in more organizations and professional events my freshman and sophomore years and would take it upon myself to do an independent study for the area of architecture I am interested in. Both would allow me to work alongside a creative collective of minds and gain much beneficial knowledge in the long run. Fortunately, these changes can still be easily made.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

Ideally, I would love to work in a city like Chicago as a base and be able to travel outside the state and country for work. After studying abroad and traveling around Europe to 15 countries, I have learned that there are many great opportunities abroad for architects, plus experiencing other cultures and their way of life is a wonderful life experience in itself. 

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

It is not about time management but task management. Prioritizing your tasks every week will help you stay focused on that task in that moment. Making a written checklist for this will provide you motivation to cross off each task until you have finally (and thankfully) completed everything you needed.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

It might sound silly but actually setting a consistent bed time for yourself during the school week will allow you to get the daily rest every human needs. Pulling all-nighters might sound great in terms of getting tasks done on time, but you actually lose productivity the longer you stay awake, which is not good when making important design decisions after 3:00AM and is never good for your physical and mental health. I say this with personal experience.

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

I do not have one particular favorite professor, but I will mention a few professors I have had who are great at what they do and being supportive of their students. They are Professor Bliss, Professor Uihlein, Professor Anthony and Professor Mitaski. If you have had any of them, you know they are passionate about what they teach simply by listening to them, and they show how much they care for their students by offering their time and services to support and guide their students to reach their full potential.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I am proud to be the Vice President of NOMAS this year and am lucky to have become a graduate assistant preparator at the Krannert Art Museum installing art shows and doing other museum work. I am also always willing to help any students about architecture courses or college life, or if they need someone to listen to their concerns as long as there is free coffee involved. Just kidding. But that would be very nice.

...

 

7 Questions for Kelsi Stephens

Catch-up with ISoA alumna Kelsi Stephens. How well did the school prepare her for her "dream job"?

Year graduated from UIUC: Spring 2017

Firm where employed: Stantec

Your Title: Architectural Designer

What are you working on these days?

As a part of the health studio at Stantec, I am working on a variety of healthcare projects including hospital master plans, cancer centers, outpatient care centers, and emergency departments. I am a part of the medical planning team and the design team, so we focus on integrating clinical functions with great design so that we can create environments for health and healing. I am also currently working on passing the ARE and exploring my new home, Chicago. 

I attended the University of Illinois for

graduate school because I knew that it

would give me a lot of experience in

design & the technical skills to succeed.

- Kelsi Stephens

How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?

The Illinois School of Architecture did a great job preparing me for my current job. I attended the University of Illinois for graduate school because I knew that it would give me a lot of experience in design, but also the technical skills to succeed. In addition, graduate school allowed me to grow my professional skills such as communication, collaboration, and networking. It is this balance that really makes ISoA a school that prepares students for a career in architecture.    

What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?

One of the most important things you can get out of school is just being involved. Make time outside of studio to be a part of student organizations like AIAS, be an active member on campus, and attend as many lectures and events as you can. You will meet a variety of different people and develop different skills than you do in the classroom. This is invaluable experience that will make a difference and set you apart when you graduate.

Name something you miss about school?

Projects without a budget and having friends around all the time.

Something you don’t miss about school?

Staying up late working in studio.

Caption: Kelsi's view from her desk at Stantec (see "Dream job")

Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?

My favorite professor is Professor Worn. Professor Worn pushes you to challenge what is considered conventional, pushes you to ask questions, and puts his students in unique opportunities to learn from a variety of different people. He really goes above and beyond for his students, helping us to grow professionally and personally. Professor Worn's health studios gave me the skills, vocabulary, and confidence to pursue my dream job in health design. 

If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?

If I could go back and do college over, I would take more business classes so I would be better prepared for the business side of the profession such as managing project budgets, developing client relationships, and marketing our work. I would also take more time to focus on eating healthy, maintaining my mental health, and getting exercise.  

 
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10 Questions for Marco Nieto

A senior in the ISoA BSAS program, Marco Nieto – the president of NOMAS, Alpha Rho Chi board member, graphic designer/researcher at Blackline Supply, and graphic design assistant for the ISoA – is someone you should know.

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?

ISoA made the most sense to me when I was applying, mainly because it was both an esteemed program, as well as close to my hometown and in the state I've grown up all my life in.

Are you glad that you did? Why/why not?

I'm incredibly grateful that I chose UIUC, it's been an amazing steppingstone for my career and further reinforced why I love design of all fields.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I like to center my projects around public use and the site-specific context and environment. I believe that if any piece of architecture can be picked up and placed anywhere else in the world and make absolute sense, then it fails to activate the site it was originally designed for to the fullest.

What did you do this past summer?

I took my time this summer to revisit older projects and refine my skills within design. I haven't had my first internship yet, so rather than fall behind and let my breaks slip away to nothing, I put in the effort to make sure that my brain isn't getting rusty. I feel like this strategy has proved to be wonderful, as I always come back to campus the next semester ready to hit the ground running almost immediately.

[ISoA has] been an amazing steppingstone

for my career and further reinforced why I

love design of all fields. - Marco Nieto

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

Absolutely. Everything from the faculty to the rigorous schedule is a small taste of a bigger career that I cannot wait to experience for myself.

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

The biggest thing I would say is getting involved in organizations and competitions my freshman year. I've learned a great deal from professional activities and working with others, and getting an early start on that kind of involvement really shows itself at a young age. 

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

My current goal is to work in a big city, preferably New York City. Something about the deep culture, variety of activities, as well as large hub of inspiration of creativity is captivating.

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Definitely manage your time well enough. If you have an hour or two of free time in between classes, instead of going home and grabbing lunch or napping, go straight to studio to make more progress on your projects. You'll thank yourself when you catch a mistake that takes a longer time than expected to fix, or when you do everything right and finish a night earlier than everyone else.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

One thing that seems hard not to do at first in studio, is to compare yourself to other students. Some find it demoralizing to look around and see other projects that are subjectively better than their own. All that really matters is that you're willing to explore design in your own unique way and you aren't afraid of the results, regardless if it's good or bad. 

Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?

Both Professor Dearborn and Professor Stallmeyer have taught me a great deal my junior year. Whether it was architecture and the landscape or the city, they taught me to always push myself harder to meet my own expectations and to fail fast. Learning from your own mistakes and improving upon those as quickly and as efficiently as possible sets you up to be in the best position possible for the end of the semester when it all matters. My skills wouldn't have adapted as well as they did without them. 

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

This semester I've been lucky enough to say that I'm the president of NOMAS, involved in the professioal and philanthropy side of Alpha Rho Chi, graphic designer/researcher at Blackline Supply, as well as a graphic design assistant for the ISoA! You'll most likely find me or my work spread around the school, and I am always more than happy to help younger students whenever it comes to design.

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10 Questions for Michael Cooper

Currently a Junior in ISoA’s BSAS program with an NCARB record already with +1000 hours signed off on, Michael Cooper is the Project Lead for the 2017 Race to Zero team, and so much more...

Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture? 

While looking for architecture schools I learned there is an important range between art and engineering embedded in every school's curriculum. I chose U of I Architecture because I saw it as a school that falls in the center of the spectrum. Studio classes provide a great opportunity to continue learning about creativity and design while construction and building science based classes prepare you to work in the field and design buildings that can function properly.

Are you glad that you did? 

I am glad that I came to U of I because this school offers a number of opportunities to push myself. There is always another learning opportunity for those who want it. It almost makes me wish I was 2 people.

Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?

I am Interested in almost all areas of architecture. I am interested in Sustainability, Construction, BIM, Development, Design and probably more that don't come to mind right away.

What did you do this past summer?

This past summer I worked as an BIM Intern for F.H.Paschen Construction. I was responsible for running the coordination process for a 25M dollar building at O'Hare, creating new standards for the company, Writing research papers about future BIM processes and anything else BIM related.

[ISoA] has continued my learning and made

it possible for me to get my most recent job. 

- Michael Cooper

Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?

Yes, the school has continued my learning and made it possible for me to get my most recent job. I cannot stress the importance of opportunity available for those looking to truly push themselves. Anyone can be ready for a great job after 4 or more years here.

If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?

I would say that I would prefer more building science classes. There is always more to learn as it pertains to building a great building seeing as new technology is always emerging. Also, I would be interested to see class credits provided for extra curricular activities that teach the students more about their prospective field.

What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?

I am excited to hopefully move somewhere a little south of Illinois. Most of the fastest growing cities with some of the best jobs in the AEC community are to the south. I am looking at Nashville or Charlotte at the moment.

What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Instead of focusing on your grades or GPA, focus on your personal development. I am not an A+ student but through hard work, dedication and pursuing my interests, I have been lucky enough to work at two great jobs for a total of 4 years. I even have gotten to work these jobs during the school year helping me grow with real world experience.

What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?

Dive into your interests as they pertain to architecture. I focused on learning software, which helped me in many classes reduce the time on projects. If you are interested in history of architecture, learn as much as you can and it will help you in many of your classes. Any experience is helpful

Did you have a favorite professor or high school teacher? Who was it and why?

I have two. At U of I, Professor Randy Deutsch has taught one of the best classes I have taken. He taught information that directly correlated to all of the work that I was working on at my job as an architectural intern. He provides useful information and is focused on the development of his students. He pushes them because he know what they are learning is important. My other favorite is my high school teacher, Dan Liepert and the applied tech teachers at Glenbrook South High school. He allowed me, and worked with me, to push myself and learn what we agreed would be important for my future. As a teacher responsible for 5 different classes and their curriculum, he is always busy. Yet he manages to continue improving his curriculum through dedication and a wanting to help all students.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I am always open to talking with anyone about their interests in architecture (or anything really) and helping in any way I can. Feel free to reach out to me and ask me anything.

Currently a junior in ISoA’s BSAS program, Michael Cooper is the Project Lead for the 2017 Race to Zero team. You can reach Michael via email at michaelkencooper@gmail.com