Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?
ISoA was the very first architecture school I toured and continued to hold other universities up to that standard as I visited them. After four years of college searching no other school felt right besides University of Illinois and the School of Architecture. At Illinois, I felt the curriculum had the perfect balance between technical and conceptual work. Finally, with the school’s proximity to Chicago, it offers students networking potential in one of the greatest cities, known for its architecture, in the world.
"At Illinois, I felt the curriculum had the perfect balance between technical and conceptual work" - Alex Sulek
Are you glad that you did?
Deciding to attend ISoA has been one of the best decisions of my life. Upon enrolling in the university, I have continued to become more and more impressed with the network the school has established. Additionally, University of Illinois creates such a broad education that I feel comfortable pursing any goals I desire with graduate schooling and professional practice.
Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?
I am very interested in tall building design. In my free time, I often find myself on architecture firms websites reading about their latest works and how they have become possible. On top of that, I have a strong interest in the areas of hospitality and lifestyle design.
What did you do this past summer?
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to receive an architecture internship in the New York City area. Throughout the duration of the summer, I lived on the NYU campus with other interns, worked 40+ hours a week, and took two summer classes for my Business Minor. In my free time, I toured the city and witnessed some of the world’s most impressive architecture.
Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?
ISoA provides the necessary courses and resources to prepare me for any architecture related career I desire. Students take classes across the whole spectrum. From using Revit to comprehend the construction of a building to taking a course solely on lighting design, the ISoA education provides a diverse variety of classes that have really helped define where I would like to begin my career.
"ISoA provides the necessary courses and resources to prepare me for any architecture related career I desire" - Alex Sulek
If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?
I believe that ISoA should have students enrolled in a professional development class freshman year. Networking and establishing proper connections with firms is an important subject that needs more focus early in the curriculum. I have discovered this need through mistakes I have made while looking for an internship. Learning the do’s and don’ts of networking would be a very beneficial skill to develop throughout ones education and professional career.
What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?
After my summer internship, I am torn between New York City and Chicago. In New York, impressive international firms have offices such as Bjarke Ingles Group and Snohetta. However, Chicago has an exciting network of top firms in a comfortable city that I have come to call “home” for the past 20 years.
What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?
I would tell all freshmen to learn how to sketch and hard draw as early as possible. I have noticed that students who have the best sketching abilities tend to produce some of the most powerful work so I believe that there is a consistency with the skills. Additionally, programs such as Revit and Rhino have so many layers to them that is never hurts to get familiar with the interface and capabilities of the program early. It will make projects easier later on and enhance your creative talents. Finally, I recommend that all students read about architecture every day. Whether it is one article online or Architectural Record magazine, students should begin to familiarize themselves with successful projects as early as possible.
What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?
To improve the life of being an architecture student I would recommend staying on top of your deadlines and keeping a consistent schedule. Even if you have class at different times each day try to start your day early and at the same time. This has always helped me be more effective with my time management and I have continuously produced successful grades.
Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?
Professor Deutsch is extremely knowledgeable about the direction architecture is going through BIM and new construction techniques and strategies. He has written books and has also taught at Harvard for summer courses. On top of this, Professor Deutsch teaches a course about construction science and helps students understand how buildings practically come together. Finally, Randy is very well connected with the Chicago architecture network and understands the proper steps to take towards achieving my career goals.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
For me, architecture has been a passion of mine ever since I was in elementary school. With this history, I have had the opportunities to learn and develop my skills throughout every phase of my education. That said, I continuously try to take steps to improve my knowledge of the profession. I am highly involved outside of school here at Illinois. I am the Treasurer of the Society of Business Management in Architecture as well as the Director of Events for the American Institute of Architecture Students. I am continuously looking for ways to advance my education and am always open to talk about anything.