BOB (Partner Emeritus):
Once in a while, a city or town becomes an architectural “Mecca.” Columbus, Ohio, Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut each had their time in the sun. The Chicago School in the late 19th century is a great example. Each of these lasted a few years as architectural Meccas and then faded away. For a short while, in the 1950s and 1960s my home town, Sarasota, Florida became one of those kinds of special places. Architects like Paul Rudolph, Ralph and Tollyn Twitchell, Victor Lundy, Mark Hampton, Gene Leedy, Tim Seibert, Bert Brosmith, and Frank Folsom Smith were designing amazing modern schools, churches, and public buildings all around me as I was growing up in Sarasota. I attended High School in a building that won many architectural awards and was published in all the architectural magazines. I thought every town had this kind of architecture. I had no idea that these unusual modern buildings were not the norm. I first met several these architects when I was in high school and worked for both Tollyn Twitchell and Frank Smith while in high school and during and after college. Sarasota was also known for its many famous artists and writers. I was inspired, but did not fully understand that I was growing up in an architectural and artistic wonderland. People traveled from everywhere to see what I saw every day. I can never recall a time when I wanted do anything else but become an architect. God did not give me a choice.
I've wanted to be an architect since I was in first grade. It was my teacher who saw the potential and told my mother to point me in that direction. During class one day, I drew a picture of a house being built (there was one across the street from our house that was being built and I just drew from memory what I had seen). The house was framed with studs, I also showed a stack of bricks and pile of sand beside it. My teacher said that she had never seen anything like that in all her years of teaching. I would give anything to still have that picture. I can still remember walking over to that house and smelling the fresh cut wood. It impacted me more than I knew at the time for sure. Then in third grade I laid out this massive city plan. I kept moving the city limits by taping more and more paper together and showing more and more developments. I was a nerd!
It is just what I grew up with and always wanted to be.
Dad was an architect. I would go to work with him on the weekend and draw at another drafting board while he did his thing. I loved the big paper and the selection of pens and pencils!
Then when I got the chance, I worked in the office with him in high school as the “gofur”. (go for this and go for that). What I did kept expanding over the years and I stayed in that firm until I graduated college and started working for Bob. That office had bets on what year of college I would drop out and become a computer science major.
Interestingly, in college we all had to take the “survey” courses of the other schools in fine arts. Music survey, art survey, etc. and we also had to take the architecture survey. One day the professor was showing pictures of what an office looked like.. Each picture was only up for about 10 seconds. BUT, one of those pictures was me sitting in my dad’s office on one of those Saturdays. The professor worked at the same office during those same years.
TERI (Senior Project Manager):
When I was very young, probably 5 or 6, I loved to sit & draw. My God-father once said to me, “You should be an Architect.” When I asked him what an architect did. He told me, “They draw houses.” That was good enough for me and I was ‘hooked.’ From that point, I would study buildings as I passed by taking in all of their details and fell more in love with my decision through the years. I have never wanted to be anything other than an architect.
DAVID (Director of Construction Administration):
While growing up in Miami, a close friend of my father’s was a prominent architect named Glenn Buff. He was a member of the College of Fellows in the American Institute of Architects, had worked on experimental geodesic domes with R. Buckminster Fuller, and had been recognized for numerous design awards for his work. While taking drafting courses throughout my junior and senior year of high school, my father’s friend took an interest in me and provided me with a drafting light and supply of paper from his office.
During high school I worked at night as the building janitor for his firm in Coral Gables. During the summer I would run errands and do drafting assignments. I went away to college at Georgia Tech to study architecture. After graduation and working in Atlanta for three years, my father’s friend approached me about joining his Miami firm. I took the job, and I ultimately learned from him that mentoring others is as important as the work you do.
AMY (Intern Architect):
Art has always been a passion of mine, I love to explore it’s many forms. It was no surprise that I would eventually be introduced to architecture, but I was a late bloomer as a “wanna-be-architect”. I went to college for graphic design, convinced that was my destiny. When that route didn’t seem right, about a year into school, I took an introductory course in architecture out of mild curiosity. I fell in love.
What inspired me to dive headlong into the profession? My senior year I heard an architect speak at a student conference. He told us how his firm worked with a community and international nonprofit organization to design and build a hospital in a town that had no decent medical facilities. They were there through the entire process, even going a step further and training willing townspeople construction skills to work on the building themselves. That story inspired me. I want to make that kind of positive impact in my work, where architecture means bringing life to a community.
CHRIS (Intern Architect):
I had been building and drawing since I was a kid and it made the most sense to try and make a career out of it. Drawing and painting has also been in my family but no one had gone into anything artistic as a career. I had taken art each year of high school and was encouraged to look at schools specializing in art and architecture. Spending a spring break traveling to various architecture schools around the southeast was most inspiring through seeing the studio spaces full of drawings and model buildings. A friend of mine also considered architecture and we both attended a two week summer course for high school students interested in architecture at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Getting to experience the design process in so many ways over that time was an experience in thinking about creating a space and not only rendering what one sees. This led to my attending UT's architecture program, graduating in 2007. My career in architecture began at Lyman Davidson Dooley in Nashville, TN working mostly in healthcare design and some commercial and government work. I continued with similar building types in Savannah, GA at HGBD. Working towards my architecture license is my current goal, while drawing and painting the rest of the time.
JACQUELINE (Intern Architect):
The primary reason I decided to pursue architecture was due to my father being an architect. I grew up going into the office with my dad on weekends and wondering when I would be able to use those fun pencils, brushes & templates he was working with. He seemed so artistic and professional. I made it my purpose in life to follow in my father’s footsteps. I didn’t think of architecture as a “man’s profession,” which at the time it seemed to be perceived that way. I just knew my dad did it and I wanted to do it too. I started drawing with my dad (granted it was with crayons & #2 pencils at first) and was the only kid in kindergarten who could spell “architecture” correctly.
As I got older, I started expanding my knowledge of architecture to not just drawing but observing, travelling and seeing how other cultures expressed themselves through the built environment. I spent a summer in the Loire Valley chateau hopping through a grant from the French Heritage Society, an organization who had also awarded a grant to my father to work with and study architecture in France for 6 months. I also studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain for a summer while in Graduate School, and ever since then have had the travel bug. My love of architectural history also led me to teach a few classes while attending graduate school.
Although my dad might have introduced me to architecture, seeing the world and realizing how the built environment can play such an important role in one’s society has pushed me the rest of the way to pursue my architect’s license.
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