Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?
I had heard the undergraduate and especially the graduate architecture programs are ranked among the best in the nation, in addition to its great study abroad programs. The university is also a short distance from my hometown and being close to home is important to me.
Are you glad that you did? Why/why not?
Yes, of course. I cannot imagine not being able to form the strong friendships that I have with the great people I had met. The familiarity with the campus and faculty and having a leadership role in NOMAS are what drew me back to school for my graduate studies.
Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?
I have become passionate about community engagement through architecture. I want to learn more about community development projects, like designing for underrepresented communities, and how, as designers, we can help create a sense of community to enrich the lives of people.
Caption: From Lauren's time abroad traveling to Rome for a sketching workshop.
What did you do this past summer?
This past summer I worked at Harding Partners in downtown Chicago for three weeks. I was given the opportunity to work on the conceptual design for part of a university master plan located in Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, I spent most of the summer spending time with my family and friends whom I had not seen for several months while I participated in the Barcelona Study Abroad Program last year.
Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?
Most definitely. I admit there might be a couple courses that I feel do not prepare me for the kind of architecture career I want, but that is why I chose to take the community design and urban environment studio and a social/behavior factors for design course this semester to push me in the direction I want to pursue in architecture. It is not about the school itself preparing you, it should be about how you use the great resources offered through the program to make yourself prepared.
"[One thing I would change is] I would be involved in more organizations and professional events my freshman and sophomore years" - Lauren Garriott
If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?
I would be involved in more organizations and professional events my freshman and sophomore years and would take it upon myself to do an independent study for the area of architecture I am interested in. Both would allow me to work alongside a creative collective of minds and gain much beneficial knowledge in the long run. Fortunately, these changes can still be easily made.
What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?
Ideally, I would love to work in a city like Chicago as a base and be able to travel outside the state and country for work. After studying abroad and traveling around Europe to 15 countries, I have learned that there are many great opportunities abroad for architects, plus experiencing other cultures and their way of life is a wonderful life experience in itself.
What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?
It is not about time management but task management. Prioritizing your tasks every week will help you stay focused on that task in that moment. Making a written checklist for this will provide you motivation to cross off each task until you have finally (and thankfully) completed everything you needed.
What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?
It might sound silly but actually setting a consistent bed time for yourself during the school week will allow you to get the daily rest every human needs. Pulling all-nighters might sound great in terms of getting tasks done on time, but you actually lose productivity the longer you stay awake, which is not good when making important design decisions after 3:00AM and is never good for your physical and mental health. I say this with personal experience.
Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?
I do not have one particular favorite professor, but I will mention a few professors I have had who are great at what they do and being supportive of their students. They are Professor Bliss, Professor Uihlein, Professor Anthony and Professor Mitaski. If you have had any of them, you know they are passionate about what they teach simply by listening to them, and they show how much they care for their students by offering their time and services to support and guide their students to reach their full potential.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I am proud to be the Vice President of NOMAS this year and am lucky to have become a graduate assistant preparator at the Krannert Art Museum installing art shows and doing other museum work. I am also always willing to help any students about architecture courses or college life, or if they need someone to listen to their concerns as long as there is free coffee involved. Just kidding. But that would be very nice.