Six Inspiring Young Architect Bloggers

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Everything Is Changing

Oh, our profession is changing. Architecture is no longer the old man’s profession it once was. A lot of the baby boomers who decided to hang on through the last recession have now decided it’s a great time to start retiring. Architecture is about to undergo an unprecedented, massive changing of the guard. Today, Young Architects are being asked to step up much earlier in their careers.

The internet, social media, and technology have permeated every aspect of the way we live. They’ve had unprecedented impacts on this profession.  Communication is constantly changing; what worked 5 or 10 years ago doesn’t work anymore.

Nowadays, pictures aren’t enough to sell a project. Clients are requiring firms to tell a story about people engaging Architecture rather then just showing them glossy pictures at sunset. How firms practice and the business of Architecture are being drastically altered. If you aren’t constantly adapting and embracing change, you’ll be left behind.

Now is a really exciting time to be a young person in the profession of Architecture. In the past few years, many new innovations have occurred to help young people survive and succeed. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say: In the past 3 years, I’ve seen more progress that empowers Young Architects than I saw in the 10 years prior to that.

The Rise of the Blog

About a year ago, Young Architect published a blog post that profiled some of my brilliant friends who’d been writing really inspiring Young Architect blogs. Each blogger answered a series of questions and briefly shared about who they are and the blog they write.

That blog post is still receiving a huge, positive response from the Architecture Blogosphere and social media. Now it’s a year later, and I have more brilliant Young Architect Blogger friends that I’d like to introduce you to.

Each person highlighted in this blog post has caught my attention by working really hard. They unconditionally give to help advance the profession—with anyone asking them to. I am honored to call each of them my friend.

In no particular order, here are Six Inspiring Young Architect Bloggers:

 

 

 

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Luke Arehart

https://lukearehart.com/

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Age 32
Location Portland, Oregon
Architecture School: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo 2010

Social Media
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lukearehart
https://twitter.com/luke_arehart

Bio:

Luke earned his Bachelor of Architecture and English degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Over the past four years, Luke has teamed up with Brian Libby of PortlandArchitecture.com as a contributing editor and has worked on the ‘Architect’s Questionnaire’ series which has included 30+ notable Portland Architects including Jeff Kovel, Bill Tripp and David Keltner.

Luke volunteers for the ‘Architects in Schools’ program produced by the Architecture Foundation of Oregon. Where he has created numerous opportunities to inspire the students including classroom visits from Mayor Hales, Jordan Schnitzer and a private tour of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Luke loves to network and is intrigued by recurring personal and professional themes. Specifically – how to open doors, overcome ‘invisible’ barriers, develop mentors and think divergently while connecting the dots to make things happen. “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”

Top 5 Blog Posts:

What is something every Young Architect should know?

Every Young Architect should know how to work to expand their horizons early and often. Look beyond the practice of architecture every now and again for perspective. Bring something new and innovative to the table. Research and make connections in different fields and industries and then apply that knowledge/thinking back to architecture. Find what you are best at and go for it! Remember it might not be architecture in the traditional sense of the word but it will always be architectural in the fullest sense of the idea. Test your limits, explore and always keep pushing. The value of architectural thinking and problem solving is exponentially vast, diverse and applicable in MANY different situations.

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging as a tool to get ACCESS to the people that I couldn’t otherwise have access to. Graduating from architecture school at the tail-end of the Great Recession, there were LOTS of other recent graduates looking for work and you HAD to be creative to be granted access and create your own place at the table. I discovered that the best way to do this was by offering value up-front. The LinkedIn posts are less of a utility for me and more of a passion. Thinking and talking about ideas is energizing to me; I HAVE to practice it daily. I’ve found LinkedIn to be a very diverse forum where ideas can be shared and discussed. Often times the theme I am thinking about can apply to problems or themes that other people are working on and can relate to as well. I love to throw out ideas as a catalyst for conversation and engagement. I often write down the title of the idea and the rest of the post just spills out onto the page. It’s a rush! I LOVE to make connections with people and ideas and these posts lets me share them in a documented way. Activating these specific and intentional connections toward something positive is my energy source!

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talkitect
Talkitect

http://www.talkitect.com

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Name:  Lucas Gray
Age:  35
Location: Portland, Oregon

Links to social media:
https://www.facebook.com/talkitect
https://twitter.com/Talkitect/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucasgray
https://www.instagram.com/talkitect/

Architecture School: University of Oregon, M.Arch, 2008 and McGill University, B.Sc. (Architecture), 2003

Popular Blog Posts:

What are you working on?

My career has grown into a very diverse areas of practice. I run a small firm, Propel Studio, with a couple of partners. We focus on community based projects, installations, small scale residential (ADUs),  and commercial projects. I am currently working on the design a few ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) in Portland, an interior TI project for a local Barber College, an outdoor classroom for a local Elementary School, and a wayfinding and signage concept for a new park in east portland called Gateway Green. We recently wrapped up a project running community design workshops for Aridgawa, Japan, and are looking for additional opportunities to help communities there. On top of my architectural work I write and tweet about urban issues, planning policy, pedestrian oriented development, and critique architecture. I am also active in the AIA, as a director on the National Associates Committee.

Why did you start blogging?

Blogging became part of my life upon graduating from the University of Oregon in 2008. I earned a couple of travel scholarships from UO and planned an around the world trip. I started in Australia, participating in the Glenn Murcutt International Masters Class. From there I flew to Japan and spent the next three months making my way from there to Germany, all over land and seas. I took boats, trains, buses, hitchhiked, walked, camped and explored the cities, towns, and landscapes along the way. I used Talkitect.com as a way to document my travels and showcase the architecture I visited along the way. I continued blogging as a way to stay engaged with the international architecture community, posting about new innovative architecture, featuring videos on topics I found interesting, and occasionally writing critiques or opinions on projects or issues facing the profession. The blog also grew into a strong social media presence, particularly on twitter and facebook, where I enjoy interacting with people, asking questions, and having dialogue about issues facing our built-environment as well as debating topics within the practice of architecture.

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Evolving Architect

www.evolvingarchitect.com

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Name: Michael LaValley
Age: 32
Location: Buffalo, NY
Architecture School: Syracuse University, B.Arch / 2008

Social Media

LinkedIn
Facebook
YouTube
Instagram
Pinterest

Bio

A native of Buffalo, NY, Mike is the registered architect, career strategist, and entrepreneur behind the blog, Evolving Architect. For the past few years, he has helped many creative professionals evolve their passion for architecture and design into successful, epic careers. Topics on the Evolving Architect Blog range from the Architect Registration Exam to Professional Development, Practical Advancement, Personal Improvement, Software Education, and more. His regular E-Newsletter, ‘Evolution Weekly’ provides avid readers with additional insight every Sunday and  help those Young Architects take their architecture careers to the next level.

I believe that an architect’s education only begins and never truly ends. I’m here to help guide others who wish to evolve as I do.

Top 5 Favorite Blog Posts

What is something every Young Architect should know?

Successful Architects are patient because, let’s face it – architecture is a marathon, not a sprint.

To be a successful architect, you need to play the long game and have copious amounts of patience. An architect must evolve over the course of their career, adapting to new methods of construction, design, and communication.

There’s a reason why you rarely hear about ‘Young’ Architects in mass media. Architecture is a really, really difficult profession. Period. Don’t think that just because you saw Bjarke Ingels speak at a TEDx Talk that you’re somehow going to have the world eating up everything you say at 25, 35, or even 45 years old. There is so much to learn and understand that you need to give yourself enough time to take it all in.

And even though it can sometimes be overwhelming, I still can’t get enough of architecture. I love the profession. I love it for the same reason that it’s difficult – the journey. Our career is the path. We can shape it and visit anywhere we choose, but we walk this path ourselves. It takes years and years to become proficient in architecture and those who accept the challenge will be rewarded not only with the knowledge they’ve accumulated, but also the experience of one of the greatest journeys of their lives.

Why did you start blogging?

I am a teacher; not by trade, but by nature. I am fundamentally compelled at my core to share what I know with others and to continue learning myself in the process.

For several years after I completed my undergrad, I felt a strong urge to obtain my graduate degree. In the end, I realized that my pursuit had less to do with the actual degree itself and much more to do with what it offered – a way to teach architecture. But why would I need a piece of paper to allow me to do so? Once I became aware of that simple idea, the notion that I could create the platform on my own, Evolving Architect was born.

I became an Architect to help change the way we live for the better. I know that architecture can be that change and that, by dedicating myself to the advancement of others in our profession, everyone will benefit greatly. The blog is my opportunity to transform this belief into reality.

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The Angry Architect

http://angryarchi.com/

Name: The Angry Architect
Age:  31
Location: London
Links to social media: https://www.facebook.com/TheAngryArchitect/
Architecture School: The Bartlett School of Architecture, London 2011

Bio

The Angry Architect is a registered architect in the UK who studied in Scotland and England and has worked in both Canada and the United States. He is an occasional columnist for Architizer, where he describes himself succinctly as an “architect turned architectural critic, the Lost Soul of Metabolism, and passionate purveyor of the Well-Versed Rant.” To protect the Angry Architect’s anonymity, the rest of his bio must remain confidential!

Top 5 Blog Posts:

What is something every Young Architect should know?

Every young architect must come to terms with the huge difference between architecture school and professional practice. While my experience studying at university was incredibly valuable and one I will never regret, I think it is vital for architecture students to understand that design is only a small part of being a registered architect.
 
For at leat the first 4 years of my studies, design — from individual buildings to urban planning strategies for entire cities — constituted 95% of the syllabus. Design theory is certainly the most important aspect to grasp at the beginning of one’s journey to become an architect, but I did feel underserved in any other areas. Areas that are learnt in much greater depth once you get into practice include: 
  • Technical detailing
  • Project budget constraints and time frames
  • Collaborating with other consultants such as engineers
  • Dealing with contractors and speaking to clients
  • Understanding politics and how it affects architects
  • Practice management
Those topics can be touched on in architecture school, but the only real way to grasp them is to dive into practice and navigate your way through real-world projects with the help of your colleagues. Once you get registered, your education is far from over — you never stop learning!

Why did you start blogging?

The Angry Architect was born out of a desire to bring passion, honesty and a touch of dry humor back to architectural criticism. It began as a battle against banality in architectural design, as I had become stuck in a firm that was dictated to by developers with formulaic templates for suburban sprawl on a huge scale. I wanted to hold the construction industry to account for this kind of development, and at the same time, call out those at the other end of the spectrum — the “Starchitects”, those that produce architectural spectacles that serve to advance their own brand rather than addressing context and the needs of end-users.

 
I had noticed that, on major architectural websites such as Archdaily and Dezeen, articles that gave strong opinions were the ones that received the most comments and got people talking about pressing issues within architecture. However, the majority of articles still consisted of re-hashed press releases that offered no critical insight or provocation. What if there was an architecture platform that was made up of 100% opinion articles? That’s what “The Angry Architect” aimed to be: “The Home of Opinion on Architecture,” designed to spark debates that would get everyone involved in architectural discourse upon a free online forum.
 
Now, The Angry Architect is an occasional columnist for Architizer and many articles have taken on more of an educational / informative edge — but the anger still bubbles to the surface when the time is right!

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aspiring-architect
The Aspiring Architect

http://www.theaspiringarchitect.com/ 

samantha_raburn

Name Samantha R. Markham
Age 27
Location Dallas, Texas
Social Media: Twitter and Instagram
Your Architecture School and year graduated Louisiana Tech University May 2014

Bio:

I am a proud Louisiana native, graduating from Louisiana Tech University. In June 2014, I began working full time at Stantec in Plano, Texas, working on educational projects. I quickly started studying for the ARE’s and became a licensed architect just 18 months after graduation. I have a passion for mentoring and developing the next generation of aspiring architects. I fulfill this passion by co-leading the ACE North Dallas Mentor Program for high school students and helping develop Stantec’s college summer intern program. I love being highly involved with my community, so I lead and serve in multiple AIA Dallas committees. About a year ago, I decided to channel some of my passion for helping aspiring architects into a blog for students and young professionals. Random fun fact about me, I’m a huge animal lover and hope to one day design, build, and run an animal shelter.

Top 5 Blog Posts:

What are you excited about?

I love the fall season because so many cool and exciting things kick off around this time. Last week, we kicked off our ACE Mentor Program for high school students interested in architecture, construction, or engineering. I help lead the North Dallas Program, and every year it gets more exciting and rewarding – the students are incredible and always re-energize my passion for architecture. Other fun events like Canstruction, AIA Tour of Homes, and AIA Dallas You’ve Got 5 Minutes, Kid: Student Edition also happen around this time. But I think I’m most excited about a blog series that I hope to launch in a couple of weeks called “University Spotlight”. The series is designed to help give high school students a deeper look inside architecture programs and the change to hear from actual college students about their experiences. Hopefully this can help high students make an informed decision on what universities they want to consider attending for architecture school.

Why did you start blogging?

I decided to start blogging about a year ago, mainly because I want to do everything I can to help others that are on the same journey I am. From high school students to college students, and from college life to professional life, I want to provide some kind of tool or reference for anyone considering architecture or already on their way into it. I hope to use my blog to help bridge the gaps between schooling and career and share advice, stories, and information that can help other aspiring architects on their journeys. I had so many questions going into college and then again when starting my career, and I know so many others have had those same questions and more. Whether it’s a high school student trying to decide if architecture should be their major, a college student worried about a job interview, or a young professional struggling with the ARE’s – I hope my blog can act as a resource, offer some guidance, and provide a little inspiration for all aspiring architects.

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next-portland
Next Portland

http://www.nextportland.com/

iain-mckenzie

Name: Iain MacKenzie
Age: 31
Location: Portland, OR
Social Media:

https://twitter.com/nextportland
https://www.facebook.com/nextportland/

Architecture School: University of Edinburgh (2007) and University of Strathclyde (2009)

Bio:

I grew up in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland, and decided I wanted to be an architect when I was only just starting high school. I spent four years studying architecture in Edinburgh and two in Glasgow. The two cities are very different from each other, but amazing in their own ways. The center of Edinburgh is a World Heritage Site, containing the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. Glasgow mostly developed in the Victorian era. Both were fantastic places to study architecture.

After finishing university, I decided to come to Portland, where I have family, for a few months. I’ve now been here for seven years. When I’m not writing Next Portland I work at TVA Architects, which is an awesome employer.

Top 5 Blog Posts:

What are you excited about?

I’m excited to see the Lloyd District change. It’s a part of the city that was mostly developed around the car in the middle of the century, with a giant mall, some office buildings and lots of surface parking. It’s by far the least “Portland” part of central Portland. In recent years developers have realized that the Lloyd has a lot of potential. A somewhat rundown hotel underwent a major renovation and reopened as the Hotel Eastlund  American Assets Trust buried the parking that surrounded their Lloyd 700 Tower, and added over 600 apartments as part of the Hassalo on Eighth development. Two other upcoming developments, Oregon Square and the Lloyd Cinemas redevelopment  will add thousands more people to the neighborhood. These are really ambitious projects, that have the potential to change the area in a vibrant, pedestrian oriented neighborhood. If they succeed, people won’t remember what the Lloyd District used to be like.

Why did you start blogging?

I’ve now lived in three different cities, and in each of them I’ve been consistently interested in what is being designed and built in them. When I moved to Portland in 2009 the recession was at its worst, and there was barely anything being built. By the time I started Next Portland in 2014 it was a completely different environment. There were tower cranes all over the city and thousands of units of housing under construction. Two years later there’s no sign of of the construction industry slowing down. For some people the rapid change Portland is going through is exciting; for others it’s scary.

Most of the large projects in Portland are subject to design review. The drawing packages for those buildings get published on the City’s archive and records website, which is incredibly difficult to navigate. I decided I wanted to create a website that takes the most important information information from those packages, and present them in a user friendly way. Unlike other Portland centric architecture sites, I don’t present any analysis or criticism of the buildings. I just want people to be able to find out what is being built. So whether they’re in the excited or scared camp, they at least know what’s going on. Back To The Top

 

 

 

About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.