After graduating with a master’s degree in architecture from Texas A&M, I took a very traditional route and joined the Dallas office of RTKL as a junior designer. I was really fortunate to join a firm that had an incredible group of talented designers and allowed me the opportunity to work on projects both nationally and internationally. After a few years, I was able to help open their London office and be involved in a number of major schemes in Europe. London was a great place to be a young architect, and the opportunity to travel internationally really helped to broaden my horizons and my appreciation for all aspects of design.

I’ve always loved the built environment and, from an early age, enjoyed exploring cities. The idea that I can play a part in crafting those cities is like living a dream. Whilst I gravitate towards the challenge and complexity of larger-scale projects, I have an appreciation for design at all scales, and from an early age was interested in fashion and product design. There is so much to be inspired by. I am something of a modernist at heart and have always loved the work of architects such as Richard Neutra and Louis Kahn. Having said that, I have really come to appreciate the sculptural forms of architects such as Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

I think that I joined the profession at a time when we were beginning to see more women in the industry overall. It was not unusual, though, to be the only woman at client meetings or with the consultant team in workshops. I’ve always found that my male counterparts were generally supportive, with the rare exception of someone who might have underestimated the power and strength of a female professional.  

I’ve worked with a number of inspirational people, and I have followed in the footsteps of some amazing female practitioners. To name just one, having spent some time living in Santa Monica now, I’ve really begun to appreciate the breadth of influence that Ray Eames continues to have on design today.

I would give young women and men entering the profession the same advice—don’t be afraid to take chances.  Innovative and creative design comes from pushing the boundaries and experimenting with new ideas. In my experience, not every creative idea will always be warmly received, but that should not deter you from testing new ideas and exploring innovative designs. Most of all, though, enjoy the process and have fun.

Building Enclosure Celebrates International Women's Day

Part 2 of a 2 part series

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Jacqueline Beckingham Melvalean McLemore Lisa Haude Erin McDannald Ashley Smith Samantha McCormack Rachael Lewis Taylor Starr Stephanie Lafontaine Christine Faverio Erin Carlisle Melissa Strickland Lisbeth Jimenez Ula Bochinska