Joel Hall can remember his very first set of Lincoln Logs. He recalls sitting down to start building right away. He can also remember playing house with his older sisters. In their family, that included building the houses out of Lincoln Logs, blocks, and Fisher-Price toys. He explains that one of his sisters always outbuilt him by creating condos on top of a dresser. He says that part of his interest in a career in architecture stemmed from a desire to finally outbuild her.
Joel says that his original plan as a high schooler was to become a carpenter and that he tried to sign up for the school’s vocational program to study carpentry. However, his guidance counselor refused to allow him to join the vocational program because his grades were too good. Instead, she suggested that he consider architecture as a career and pointed him in the direction of a local architect. Joel visited the architect, who suggested that Joel might not be able to grasp the complicated concepts necessary to become an architect. That only strengthened Joel’s resolve to find a way into the architecture field.
Joel began by taking drafting courses in community college, eventually earning an associate’s degree in drafting. Then he began pursuing bachelor’s degrees in education and architectural studies at Washington University. Finally, he began attending night school at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, earning his master’s degree in architecture in 2014.
In today’s interview, Joel, who is now a professor at Lewis & Clark Community College, shares some of his thoughts about education, stressing the importance of understanding students’ stories and treating them with kindness. He also talks about his experiences with the licensing process and with various architect organizations, his interest in technologies that can be used in both architecture and in the classroom, and his thoughts on being supported by and supporting family during the path to becoming an architect.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- How Joel became interested in building
- What got Joel interested in pursuing a career in architecture
- Joel’s educational journey and degrees
- What Joel enjoys about teaching
- What Joel thinks is important in the classroom
- What Joel sees as his most important job as a teacher
- What paths Joel’s students follow after they leave his class
- Joel’s experience with the architect exams and getting licensed
- What technology for architecture Joel is interested in
- Organizations that Joel belongs to
- What Joel’s family support has looked like over the years
- Joel’s thoughts on reciprocating for the people who supported him
- Joel’s advice for aspiring architects
- The book that changed everything for Joel
- Joel’s favorite resource
- Joel’s best timesaving trick
- How listeners can connect with Joel
Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode
- Everybody has a story.
- Kindness matters.
- Take advice from people who’ve been in the game longer than you.
Joel Hall’s Advice for Aspiring Architects
“Be prepared for people to have an unnecessary fear of you as an aspiring architect.”
“I know that I’ll never know everything.” –Joel Hall on what he knows today that he didn’t know back then
“It’s where I’ve learned to be a lot of the person that I am.” –Joel Hall on the Bible, the book that changed everything
“I record practically every one of my technology-based lectures.” – Joel Hall on the resource he can’t live without
“Using the graphical settings in Revit to help impress your professor at the university level with drawings that look like they were hand-drawn.” – Joel Hall on his best timesaving trick