Year graduated from UIUC: May 2013
Firm where employed: Foster and Partners
Your Title: Architectural Assistant Part II
What are you working on these days? Currently working on, the Pavilion, a 1.5 million SF hospital facility that will support Penn's world-renowned researchers, clinicians, and faculty. As part of the PennFIRST team — comprised of Foster+Partners, HDR, BR+A, Southland Industries, L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty, the new inpatient facility at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania will be will be designed as an innovative facility that offers improved healthcare delivery for generations to come. The facility will house 500 private patient rooms and 47 operating rooms while offering support and respite spaces for visitors and family members.
"It is important to remind yourself of why YOU chose to study architecture and not get caughtup in comparing yourself to everyone aroundyou in the studio" - Taylor Knoche
How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?
ISoA offered me the technical expertise to offset my masters degree in design. While many of my peers had architectural design backgrounds, none of them had the rich understanding of the structural engineering and integral systems as those of us who had studied at the UofI. The courses offered through the School of Architecture are deeply ingrained with technical knowledge and enhanced by the dynamic relationship the school has with the top ranked engineering program. I have always seen structure and systems as an integral expression of architectural design.
What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?
Architecture can be a very competitive, time consuming, and challenging field of study; it is important to remind yourself of why YOU chose to study architecture and not get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone around you in the studio. Some students will be better at graphics, others at presenting, others at involvement, but what is the most important is to recognize YOUR strengths and what makes you, YOU. The amount of time I wasted thinking that I was not creative enough, not graphically strong enough, not involved enough, was so not worth it.
"Having structural knowledge andterminology is key to ensuring thedesign intent" - Taylor Knoche
Name something you miss about school?
Football season. The sound of the Marching Illini practicing on South Quad while we worked away in the Annex or TBH. The trees along the quad turning bright colors of yellow, orange and red against the iconic brick buildings of the campus. Sneaking away from the Architecture Building to grab a coffee in the Pelli Clarke Pelli Architect's designed business school building. Walks to the Japan House and arboretum for inspiration.
Something you don’t miss about school?
All my extra spending money going to art supplies and wood models. Thank goodness for the Art Coop in Lincoln Square Mall that was within walking distance or I would have been completely debilitated. While I appreciate a good model and I find them a powerful design tool, they get a little expensive during school.
Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?
Prof. Abbas Aminmansour. His passion for structural steel design is apparent in every course he teaches, and it is infectious. From the sizing of rebar in a concrete column to steel beam deflection, the value of understanding structural design is imperative to be able to communicate with the engineering team and general contractor on a project. The current project I am working on is a 5 min. walk from office to the site. We routinely make it to the construction site to get an update on the steel erection and construction phasing strategy. Having structural knowledge and terminology is key to ensuring the design intent.
"While many of my peers had architectural designbackgrounds, none of them had the rich understanding of the structural engineering and integral systems asthose of us who had studied at U of I" - Taylor Knoche
Prof. Heather Minor. Prof. Minor, first of all, has one of the best Architectural History themed wardrobes that I have ever seen, I still remember her library book, wood shelf printed skirt! I loved it! She was such a breath of fresh air and brought new light to architectural history. During a James Scholar semester honors project, Prof. Minor, recommended the book Architecture and Geometry in the Age of the Baroque, which I did an extensive review and summation of the themes. Through our routine check-ins, she became a mentor and great source of advice, always pushing me to follow my goals and aspire for more.
I could keep going about so many others including; Carl Lewis, Lee Waldrep, Paul Kapp, Alejandro Lapunzina. Can not express my gratitude enough.
If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?
I had a profound interest in German culture and was able to take additional courses through the Language department in pursuit of a Minor in Germanic Languages and Literature. While I would not replace this academic experience at all, I would have liked to actively pursue more business oriented courses in addition to my German classes. Unfortunately, there is not enough hours in the day, so choose wisely.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Anything is possible with hard work and dedication.