Mar2“So, when did you decide you wanted to be an architect?”

You might say I was a late bloomer…I was not one that realized when I was in the womb or as an infant that I would be the next Frank Lloyd Wright. Or at least I didn’t know for some time…


Sam’s Favorite Skyscraper – The Chrysler Building

I have always liked to draw and doodle, making things out of clay, and enjoyed creating with Legos (which seems to be a typical “architecture” connection now that I look back). One of my favorite things to do was to trace over cartoons from the Sunday funnies section to learn how to draw people and things. The photo above is my Mickey Mouse Club Light Up Drawing Desk. I don’t remember when I got it, but it is a light table that I used to learn to draw. I would place an original drawing on it and put a piece of trace paper over it. The light shone through both to make it easier to trace things. Believe it or not, I still use this light table often in my work when overlaying sketches and ideas over photographs of existing buildings (call me “old school”…). I just have to keep stock of tiny Christmas tree light bulbs to keep the light shining bright.
My uncle had studied to be an architect and encouraged me to look into it, but never really gave it much thought until high school, when the ominous question was posed – “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We started looking at colleges and universities, mostly art schools, until I met with a guidance counselor and discovered this wonderful career called ARCHITECTURE that combined all of my favorite things that I was good at…art, science and math. With good grades and hard work, I was admitted to the very competitive Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Department and the rest is history…


Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain

Architecture turned out to be so much more than I thought it was…it was not just designing buildings and drawing floor plans, it is about history, and innovation; it is about technology and materials; it is about realizing how a building affects not only the people inside of it, but also the neighborhood surrounding it; it is about communication skills and working with engineers, consultants, contractors, builders, construction managers, and developers to bring a clients’ dreams to reality; it is about shelter and providing buildings for all, not just the elite; it is about communities and urban design and planning and looking to the future and revitalization; it is also about art and making beautiful spaces.

I’m so glad I found this career…

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