Current occupation and title:
Architect at KieranTimberlake
How long have you been working there?
I've been working at KieranTimberlake for three years.
What are some of the most exciting aspects of your occupation and career?
There is a wide range of project types at a variety of scales, so we are able to influence in many ways the places in which people work, live, learn, or sometimes how people experience the urban environment. For example, architects can specify how a particular handrail may be shaped to how a university may grow over 20 years.
What would you consider as your greatest achievement in this occupation?
The architectural practice is very collaborative so it is very difficult to separate out my achievements. And I still think my career is just beginning, even with over 9 years in the industry. So my achievement so far is being in position where I can contribute to not only what is designed, but also contribute to the process of architectural design and documentation.
What made you decide to go into this career?
I had always wanted to be a sculptor. But in high school I took an art history class, and during that time learned about the long history between art and architecture. That is the first time I started considering architecture as a profession.
What made you choose Westphal over similar programs?
The Drexel architecture program is unique in supporting meaningful work experience while studying. Most people point to the fact that this can help you find a job after school and curtail costs, and conversely that it could restrict creativity and exploration in school. But for me, I was mostly curious about the profession and wanted an opportunity to be involved early.
How did your time at Westphal prepare you for your career?
By being able to simultaneously study architecture and work in the industry, it allowed me to explore the gap between academia and the profession. It wasn’t just a reconciliation between academia and the profession, but an opportunity to develop my own sense of the architectural design process through exploration of both. Through the program, I was also able to travel often; for me travel was essential in understanding cultural influences on architecture and to also to get a sense of the buildings and places I’ve seen only in drawings and pictures.
Was our faculty helpful to you in making the transition from college to the professional world? And, are you still in contact with them today?
The Drexel architectural faculty was very helpful with the transition to the professional world especially because many of them are actively engaged with the industry. I still remain in contact with the faculty and hope to continue to do so. I’ve started teaching at Drexel part-time last year and that is a great way to stay connected.
What advice would you give to young people in your field who are just starting their education?
Specifically for Drexel architecture students, it is easy to become weighed down by the profession; practical requirements, industry standards, work deadlines, and simply just lack of time and energy for both work and school. To get beyond that, you need to work at a place that is supportive and supplements your architectural education. You also need to identify when to leverage both study and work and when to separate them; for example for studio work, there are times when pragmatic constraints absorbed from work can lead you to limited thinking and limited solutions, while other times they can enrich and bring the right rigor to your design concept exploration.