By Nadine Pearson, Architectural Intern
You have just received your master’s degree, and now you are headed to your first interview with confidence levels through the roof. After all, that piece of paper claims that you are a master… right?
Have you ever spent hours or days preparing for an interview, with parchment papers still hot off the press, only to listen to your interviewer rant for 30 minutes about how, in their opinion, your school didn’t provide you with the skills or knowledge that they expect from a graduate? I have.
Over the last several months, I have been grappling with the joys and struggles of making the transition from a university education to a professional career. It truly is a roller coaster of experience and emotion, successes and failures. I recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Architecture, and managed to land an internship here at Number TEN. My time here so far has been filled with excitement, but also moments of anxiety. What do my employers expect me to know? Granted, this profession, like most others I’m sure, contains an infinite amount of knowledge to be learned over the course of a career. Even the most experienced architect probably doesn’t have all the answers. However, I assume that there is a base set of knowledge that a graduate should have when setting out to transition from their education into their career – but what does this base set of knowledge consist of? Does it depend on the type of school I went to? Do the expectations differ from employer to employer? I haven’t found a handbook of answers yet.
I have always enjoyed buildings. When I was a kid my family traveled on long summer vacations in our Ford Country Squire station wagon. We pulled our camper trailer around North America, through cities, towns and wilderness. I have vivid memories of peering through the backseat window (no seat belt on of course) and admiring the tall buildings, construction cranes and shimmering glass. Wherever we went, we toured every museum, landmark and tourist trap. I remember wondering who made these special places and enjoying the stories that they told through the environments they had created.
Whether it’s spiraling up the Guggenheim, gazing out from the Empire State, navigating the streets of Tijuana or pulsing through the Luxor in Las Vegas, the variety of experiences boggles the mind. I also remember the wonder of natural places; organic places that have been grown, carved out, or molded over time. Sometimes, the natural and the man-made come together. I can remember the calculated drama of approaching the base of Mount Rushmore. The approach starts with a winding drive through the Black Hills, continues by walking through a series of interpretive buildings and climaxes with a meandering path to the viewing platform.
These experiences have stayed with me and have influenced my career as an architect. We have the privilege of creating experiences for people. Those experiences range from the everyday mundane to the once in a lifetime. My admiration of place making continues to this day. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to create experiences. Places that hopefully make people’s lives enjoyable. As an architect, that is my joy.
By Greg Hasiuk, MAA, SAA, MRAIC, LEED®AP
Partner, Number TEN Architectural Group
Sustainable design is much more than LEED, or any other rating system for that matter. True sustainable design is also about creating things that are valuable, enduring and cherished. For anyone who finances, designs or constructs sustainable buildings (or other products like toasters for that matter), creating real value is the key.
Things of real value are re-furbished, passed-on and maintained. Things that are valued are usually not misused, discarded or uncared for. Sustainable design is about creating things that add value to our environment, on a macro and micro scale. Sustainable architecture should not only create buildings that are valuable to individuals, but also help create cultural and economic structures that are self sustaining and contributors to society.