As far back as I can remember I have wanted to be an architect, even before I really knew what an architect was. Sure, as a kid I also wanted to be a baseball player, a race car driver and a musician. I only had enough talent to realistically pursue one of those other careers, but also wanted to be able to eat. I actually came to the decision to become an architect rather indirectly, and it happened because my Mother had a fascination with plants. Bromeliads, Christmas Cacti, some types I do not even remember the names of, and she had hundreds of them of all sizes. During the winter months, we barely had any room to move around the house because of all the plants we had to bring inside to protect them from the cold. I remember one day (when I was only 6 or 7 or so) she brought home a plant magazine, and from that point on my decision was made. Inside of that magazine was an article about a split level house that had an open atrium at the center and that atrium was full of vegetation. It also tied all of the levels of the house together, and I became fascinated with how well the layout worked and how interesting the house was as a result. Today, I will admit that I do not really remember many details about that house, but I do remember the interest I got just from merely studying the pictures. I have been hooked on being an architect since reading that article, and I have seldom wavered in my desire.
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Architect from Louisiana Tech University in 1995, but after graduation I found it difficult to find any job openings in the Louisiana and Texas areas. I happened to be in a book store in Baton Rouge one day and picked up an Atlanta paper to look at the classifieds. I was amazed at the potential that Atlanta firms seemed to be offering to young architects (this was right before Atlanta hosted the Olympics, after all), so I packed up my little truck and headed this way. I had originally planned to give myself two weeks to find a job before I went back home, but I have been here ever since. During my time working in the Atlanta area, I have had the opportunity to work for and with some very talented people (some of whom I am working with again here at Dwell) on some amazing projects. I have learned where my talents lie and been able to sharpen my skill set tremendously. I have become what I call a “nuts and bolts” architect which means that I may not have the talent to dream up some incredible design ideas, but I do have the ability to figure out how to get someone else’s incredible design ideas actually built. I am happy to offer that expertise to Dwell working with the teams here doing construction administration activities. I enjoy helping the contractors on our various projects and helping those designs become reality.
Would I have enjoyed being a baseball player or a race car driver? Well, sure! But those were not the cards I was dealt. I do get a great sense of joy quite often doing what I do now, though. Some days, there is an awesome sense of satisfaction that comes from being a valuable part of helping napkin sketches become reality, even if they are someone else’s napkin sketches.
So, Considering how my interest in architecture came to be, you may ask why did I not become a landscape architect? That is an excellent question. Heck, some days, I think I should have been a musician - I did say “I have seldom waivered”. Maybe next time.