Originally, Justin Banda thought that he was going to become a lawyer. In high school, he was even preparing for this eventuality by joining debate and public speaking groups – architecture wasn’t on his radar at all.
But when Justin began questioning whether the legal profession was really for him, he kept coming back to one thing that he really enjoyed – drawing. Justin loved to draw but worried that a career in art wouldn’t actually result in making any money. So instead, he learned about professions that incorporated drawing and decided that architecture was the right choice for him.
Justin tested his interest in architecture by signing up for a 2-month summer program at the University of Texas at Austin. He completed the program and passed. Justin then attended Judson University for his undergrad. He tells the story of a breakup that affected his performance at school, causing him to double down on studio work because it felt like a safe space for him. As a result, he passed into the next part of his architecture program and completed his undergraduate degree.
However, working in his first architecture job wasn’t quite the experience Justin expected, and as time passed, he decided that it wasn’t what he wanted. This experience led Justin back to school for his M.Arch.
Listen in to the episode to hear Justin talk more about his experience with architecture school, taking the AREs, and working with his AIAS group. You’ll also hear about Justin’s experience organizing a think tank event, why networking is so important for architects, and how telling stories factors into architecture.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- Why Justin decided to go into architecture
- Justin’s great-uncle who almost became an architect
- Justin’s summer program experience at the University of Texas at Austin
- Why Justin chose a smaller architecture school
- How a breakup affected Justin’s college experience
- How Justin restarted his college’s AIAS group
- Justin’s first experience working in an architectural firm
- Why Justin decided to go back to school for his M.Arch.
- Justin’s experience with the ARE
- How Justin started to feel separated from storytelling
- How Justin got involved with his company’s Think Tank
- Networking with a purpose
- Justin’s advice for aspiring architects
- The book that changed everything for Justin
- Justin’s favorite resource
- Justin’s best timesaving trick
Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode
- Understand the value of networking.
- Stories are important, and architecture is one way to tell them.
- Learn how to look at problems from different angles and think outside of all the boxes.
Justin Banda’s Advice for Aspiring Architects
“Seek out a mentor. Professional life is a lot easier when you have somebody who’s older and wiser and more experienced guiding you along the way.”
“I thought it was a hard skill and it turned out to be a soft skill.” – Justin Banda on what he knows today that he didn’t know back then
“Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari.” – Justin Banda on the book that changed everything
“I’m going to be really basic right now and say a sketchbook.” – Justin Banda on the resource he can’t live without
“My best timesaving trick is to write stuff down.” – Justin Banda on his best timesaving trick