Daisy, a Designer in our Dallas studio, shares her story:
Q: What drew you to the design profession, and what’s keeping you here?
A: Throughout my childhood, watching my parents pursue their creative careers inspired me to join the architecture profession. My parents are from Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, Mexico and only reached a 6th grade level of education. However, this did not prevent them from pursuing a better life in the US. When my father lived in Mexico, he was a home builder, and after migrating to the US, he worked as a project manager at Landmark Structures. My mother was a talented seamstress in Mexico and continued her practice in the US. She worked closely with JCPenny designers in the 90’s and produced custom-made suits for the Dallas Mavericks. Being surrounded by their constant crafts, weekly home decor projects, and summer gardening, naturally led me to this profession—a perfect blend of art and science.
Following my college graduation, I began my career in the Healthcare studio for Perkins&Will Dallas. Here, I have valued the difference we make in the lives of patients who might be going through the most difficult times of their lives. Currently, my grandmother is a hospice patient in our home. My mother and I are her primary caretakers, so to watch a loved one slowly deteriorate and need constant assistance has given me a more personal insight into how a patient’s built environment can affect their healing process. Now, when I work through a hospital design with my project team, I see it as so much more than drawing a typical floor plan. I see it as an opportunity to make a positive impact on the experience of future patients and their caretakers.
Q: What role does diversity, inclusion, and engagement play in the design profession at large?
A: Architects have the special privilege of molding the spaces where people interact—whether that be professionally, socially, or recreationally—these spaces are where some of life’s most important moments occur. Diversity is a crucial element to an Architect’s method because without it, these spaces are bound to become routinized and soulless.
With the presence of countless cultures, ideologies, and ancestries – architects have a unique opportunity to unify and represent the culmination of these differences through their work. Acknowledging the distinctness of each person allows progression and opens new doors to a world where the spaces where we interact are no longer just a place, but a celebration of all the attributes that make us human.
Q: Describe a design project you’re working on right now, whether professional or personal, that you’re especially proud of—and why.
A: Recently, a life-long family friend and neighbor reached out to me for my assistance on designing her and her husband’s dream home in the hill country. Soon after the couple reached out, her husband was diagnosed with cancer. After the diagnosis, a sense of hopefulness about the completion of the project became a reason for her husband to keep fighting. To be a part of this journey with them, not just as a designer, but also as their friend has been heavy, but that much more rewarding to make their dream come to life. Ultimately, that is why a lot of us join the profession—it is the people that experience these spaces and the impact on them that brings meaning to our designs. I hope to provide my friends with a place of comfort and refuge from the outside world, a place where only the two of them and their love is sheltered, no matter what happens.
Q: In what ways do you think our firm stands apart from other firms as far as diversity, inclusion, and engagement go—and how has our firm enabled you to thrive as a professional?
A: I knew during graduate school that I wanted to work for Perkins&Will, and I was absolutely determined to do that. I got the impression that this company valued their design as much as they valued their team members – and my intuition hasn’t failed me. The people that I have worked with here, from Designer 1’s all the way to Project Managers and Principals, have been extremely kind, honest, and supportive. Perkins&Will always goes above and beyond on everything that they do. They make sure that their team members are all acknowledged and celebrated. This last year especially, with so many national and world-wide stressors, Perkins&Will has proven that their engagement is top tier. As team members in this firm, we have been given platforms to openly discuss racial justice concerns with offices nationwide. This has given us opportunities to share personal stories and opened educational opportunities, allowing us all to be vulnerable with the things we do and don’t know. Every month, our local office is very engaged in highlighting individuals that have made an impact on their team both professionally and personally. Experiencing these kinds of efforts from the firm as a young professional in this field is extremely impactful. It makes me feel like I’m surrounded by others who genuinely care about me as a person and that our extra efforts never go unnoticed. My mentor and Project Architect, Scott, is a great example of this. Beyond checking in with me about my daily tasks, he also makes sure that I am personally doing okay. He has helped me believe in myself and has been nothing but generous in sharing his knowledge. I know I chose the right place to kickstart my career, and for all the marvelous Dallas Perkins&Will people, I am thankful.