Photo caption: Kat Stowell at the Grand Trianon, 2017
Year graduated from UIUC: M. Arch, 2016
Firm where employed: Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects, Chicago
What are you working on these days?
At present, I am working on a 102-unit apartment building for independent seniors located in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. This affordable housing development was financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits administered through the City of Chicago Department of Planning & Development, along with financing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Illinois Housing Development Authority. I have been involved with both design development and documentation of this building. Some of my responsibilities include interior design and visualization, building design, and the development of construction documents.
How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?
My time at ISoA prepared me for my current position. As a graduate student, I served as a teaching assistant for ARCH 231 and 233 under Randy Deutsch and have been able to directly translate some of those skills into my current position. At WJW Architects, I use ArchiCAD to model and am a member of the technology committee; part of my responsibilities include managing the project template and staying up to date on the latest software and technology while sharing that information with the rest of the firm.
What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?
Do not be hesitant to try new things or push yourself to take challenging courses while in school! During my first year of graduate school, I made the decision to take any class that interested me, apply for scholarships I qualified for, and join student groups that I wanted to be a part of regardless of how challenging or how hectic it made my schedule. After making that decision, I took a variety of classes which set the tone for my graduate studies and future career. I participated in the Volterra Program during the summer of 2015, I took a 400 level Philosophy of Phenomenology course, I created my first piece of furniture in the woodshop while learning from Carl and Hugh, I created an app in conjunction with a Hospital design, I prototyped a responsive wearable piece for canines with my groupmates and I was the student director for the career expo. It’s never too late to take control of your education and career path; don’t hesitate!
Take advantage of the 3D printers, the vacu-former in the annex, the woodshop, and the laser cutters to name a few! I also loved studying in the graduate library. Go check it out if you haven’t yet. - Kat Stowell
Name something you miss about school?
One thing I miss greatly about being a student is all the different fabrication methods at your disposal. Take advantage of the 3D printers, the vacu-former in the annex, the woodshop, and the laser cutters to name a few! I also loved studying in the graduate library- go check it out if you haven’t yet.
Photo caption: Kat Stowell sketching at the Pantheon 2017
Something you don’t miss about school?
While I loved my time at UIUC, I do not miss the lack of sleep.
If I had a do-over, I would have attended more lectures, taken more hallenging classes, and watched more tutorials sooner. - Kat Stowell
Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?
While there are a multitude of talented professors at ISoA, one of my favorites was Jeffery Poss. I participated in his Essential Dwelling studio and vacu-forming seminar during my final semester at UIUC and his teaching methods had a lasting impact on my design philosophy. Students in his classes are given the opportunity to explore new design methods, graphic representation techniques, and pushed to make models in all scales and of all materials. He also offered fantastic reviewers while sharing his expertise and taking us on several site visits. Two other professors who encouraged my professional growth while also teaching me a great deal were Carl Lewis and Randy Deutsch. Both Carl and Randy helped to shape my understanding of architecture as a career while helping me focus my goals both short and long term. Also, John Senseny is a fantastic history professor and I am so glad I chose to take one last history class with him during my last year of graduate school.
Photo caption: Kat Stowell at the Serpentine Pavilion Francis Kere 2017
If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?
My one regret in school was not diving in completely head first until later in my education. If I had a do-over, I would have attended more lectures, taken more challenging classes, and watched more tutorials sooner.