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VIA Architecture: Friday Feature: Aaron Schaefer

Jun 22, 2012

Meet Aaron Schaefer, one of the newest members of the VIA family:


Who are you and what do you do?

I am Aaron, and I am a husband and proud caregiver to a 5 year-old brown mutt and two-year-old human child.  When not doing those things, I dabble in Architecture.

What made you decide to go into your field?

Two things; as a child I had a penchant for recreating things I saw out of Legos, which, later on, I  deemed a skill most easily translated to the field of Architecture.  Or probably more so, spending many hours exploring the quiet spaces of the out-buildings on my grandparents’ farm.  I found great joy playing in these quiet, mostly neglected “ruins”, and then later I found Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, who also had a fondness for ruins.

What did your family think of your chosen field?

“You have to be good at math, right?”  You don’t, the machines do that stuff.

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why?

Bruce Johnson, my fifth year studio instructor, taught that an interesting concept or narrative can be sparked by celebrating things which may appear to be, at first glance, insignificant or peripheral to a central idea. Then utilizing them as a way of informing the original premise.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational path?

7am classes, who can function that early?

What inspires you?

Watching my son try to make sense of all this crazy new (to him) stuff out there.  He keeps me on my toes with his trusty sidekick “why?”.  I quickly realized that I too need to think twice about all that crazy stuff out there.  “Why?”, indeed.

What schooling is required for success in your career?

My experience was that for my 5 years of formal architectural education, you need about twice as many years of professional education at the very minimum as a basis to really “get it”.  Of course, there are exceptions.

What kind of people are the most successful in your field? Are there any specific attributes?

Those who wear black.

What is the best advice you were ever given?

“Don’t step in that.”

Is your field growing?

Though ever increasingly marginalized, architects are still the aesthetic and functional medium needed to execute good projects.  So, yes, there is room for new entries and growth.

What advice would you give someone considering a career like yours?

Be sure you love the work.  Good work comes from impassioned, engaged people, and conversely nothing is as draining as spending too much time doing something you couldn’t care less about.

What keeps you motivated in your field?

Finding, or seeing others find, novel solutions to old problems, big and small.

One Comment

  1. “Good work comes from impassioned, engaged people” – It’s true…and maybe the most important thing that people lose sight of.