Q: What message about design’s positive influence on the world, or specifically the LGBTQ+ community, would you most like to get out there?
A: Design is not just about making pretty buildings; it’s about carefully curating the spaces in which we lead our lives. As such, design has the incredible power to affect us every single day. It is a great privilege, that we as designers possess, to be able to influence the daily lives of so many of our peers, and with that comes a responsibility to the many communities that we call home, especially those that are historically underserved.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, its always refreshing to see this in action within that circle. Be it housing for youth who don’t have supportive environments in their family homes or providing a safe space for those in crisis, the design of these spaces can greatly impact the experiences of our neighbors in their times of need. Being able to look at the world through a designer’s lens and see things from different perspectives is one of my favorite aspects of design, and one of the most profound influences it has on society at large.
Q: What drew you to the design profession, and what’s keeping you here?
A: From drawing maps of imaginary cities, to building houses out of Legos and Lincoln Logs, design has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. As I grew older and it came time to decide what I wanted for my future, architecture just felt right. The ability that we possess as architects and designers to sculpt such beautiful creations out of context and an idea is what solidified the decision for me. From simple housing projects at the beginning of my architectural education to societal critiques in my thesis year, architecture has taught me so much about the world we live in. Though I have only been out of school for two years, it’s clear to me that I made the right choice. Being able to see a project from start to finish, from the sculpting of a concept to the refinement of a scheme, and down to the last detail has been exhilarating. As a professor once told me in school “Architects have the innate ability to see the future” and getting to see that in action is unlike anything else I have experienced.
Q: What role does diversity, inclusion, and engagement play in the design profession at large, and why is the LGBTQ+ voice important to the industry?
A: I think that it has been proven time and again that collaboration is the key to success in the design field. Everyone has different life experiences and thus approaches design differently. Harnessing those different ways of thinking allows us to see things we may never have thought of before. Different voices in a project help us to solve problems in ways that potentially didn’t seem possible, and perhaps most importantly, it can help us to understand how to better serve specific communities in which some may not have experience. The LGBTQ+ voice is equally as important as other communities in contributing to the design conversation and ultimately the success of the built environment.
Q: In what ways have your experiences at Perkins&Will changed you, personally or professionally, and/or your outlook on the world?
A: For me, my time at Perkins&Will has been transformative. I can say with great confidence that Perkins&Will has provided me with an environment in which I could grow personally with my peers and professionally. It’s rare to meet, let alone get to work with, such a great group of kind and accepting individuals. It’s helped to teach me that it’s okay to be myself, regardless of what society at large or other cultural norms might say.
Being around such a diverse group of people with a multitude of backgrounds and experiences has helped me gain an immense wealth of knowledge as I have entered the profession. I have learned so much in my short time with the firm, and I know I will be looking back on these experiences for many years to come.