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Friday Feature: Stephanie

Dec 24, 2010

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Stephanie. I’m an urban designer and intern architect.

What made you decide to go into your field?
My art history degree led to an interest in architectural history, which led to an interest in the process of how me make (and inhabit) buildings – and how buildings make us.

What did your family think of your chosen field?
They were pleased to have go from visual arts into a more respectable (and profitable) profession!

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why?
Marc Boutin, my senior studio prof and thesis adviser. His work really influenced my interest in cities and urban design and how buildings create urban spaces.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational path? (academic, financial, motivational, family or peer pressure, outside distraction, etc.)
The biggest hurdle by far is the one I’m facing right now: writing all the licensing exams while completing my intern hours to get my full professional registration.

What inspires you?
My walk to work in the morning. Riding my bike late at night in the summer.

What schooling is required for success in your career?
You must have a Master’s in Architecture to become an intern and work towards professional registration. In general, you can have any undergrad degree to get into the master’s. Visual arts or another design degree of some sort is very useful. Alternatively, a more technical background can be an advantage such as an architectural technology diploma. An undergrad in business would also be incredibly useful once you get into the work force. Architects are generalists, so the more you know the better!

What kind of people are the most successful in your field? Are there any specific attributes?
In order to get through architecture school you have to be fairly tenacious. It also helps to be a detail-oriented person.

What is the best advice you were ever given?
Honestly? It probably wasn’t related to architecture or my career!

Is your field growing? (ie. is there room for new entries and is there career growth?)
I think there will always be room for career growth as partners retire and more senior positions become available. The demand for architects is obviously dependent on the construction industry but it’s a pretty diverse profession and it qualifies you for all kinds of work.

What advice would you give someone considering a career like yours?
Making buildings is a huge undertaking. My advice is to look before you leap, so to speak, and try to figure out which aspect of the process you are interested in. Some people are more interested in the technical side of construction (architectural technician), or how the structure will function (structural engineer), or what the space looks like (interior design). Architects have to know a little bit about everything and coordinate things. Someone considering a career like this has a lot of options and it’s good to know about all of them before making a decision.