Year graduated from UIUC: M. Arch, 2006
Firm where employed: Booth Hansen, Chicago
Your Title: Principal
What’s your area of focus at Booth Hansen?
As a member of our firm’s Design Review Committee, I have the opportunity to touch most projects in the office, where we consider the concept and overall direction of the project. Within my own projects, I have worked primarily on master planning and residential projects. I have worked from large scale to detail level. My current focus is our high end residential projects. As a principal, I also have business development, communications, and hiring roles.
How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?
ISoA was an excellent springboard for my current position. In fact, I’m part of this office today directly because of my architecture thesis project, which was also a master planning project. That project and ISoA taught me how to bring clarity to complex problems. I was able to view micro and macro scale, to consider equally design and technical, to question how we could improve the status-quo, and to consider the end user.
What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?
Take the following classes:
Psychology – This will be supremely important as you navigate your career. You have to understand the dynamics of your colleagues and your clients.
Business – You want to be an architect that knows how to stay in business. How do you win projects? How do you structure contracts? How do you handle invoices?
Writing – You will have to write much more than you might expect: daily emails, RFPs, project descriptions, proposal letters, and letters for add-services – all professional correspondence represents you and your firm.
Speech – You need to be a confident speaker. This is true as you interview for your first job, as you present your ideas to senior people at your firm, and as you become someone who represents your firm at project interviews.
ISoA was an excellent springboard for
my current position. - Trina Sandschafer
Name something you miss about school?
In school, you are free to create without the constraints of budgets, timelines, neighborhood interests, or client expectations. The options are seemingly limitless and of your own control.
Something you don’t miss about school?
Spending all my money on model supplies and printing.
I had many excellent professors
at Illinois. - Trina Sandschafer
Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?
I had many excellent professors at Illinois. I have a great deal of gratitude for Professor Dearborn, who was my thesis advisor. I took on a huge project, and she helped guide me, push me, and lead me to solutions that were creative, pleasing, and attainable. She helped me consider the user experience which is supremely important in our profession. I also had the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant, working with Professor Hinders. It was very beneficial to me to see how he guided young architecture students in scale, proportion, and gave overall constructive criticism. These are things I have taken with me as I mentored young staff at our office.
If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?
I would take more breaks. Architecture school is intense. There comes a point when you are not working in your optimal zone. This would be the time to take a walk outside of studio, to turn your attention to something else, and then come back to the problem. Creative brains need down-time. The best ideas come to the surface when we’ve given our mind some time to reflect.
For more on the New Buffalo Residence - where Trina happens to be both the architect and scale figure, see http://www.boothhansen.com/portfolio/new-buffalo-residence/