Lauren Libertad Harris remembers when she was 11 years old and her family took a trip that ended up in Hidden Valley, Virginia. Her mother was extremely interested in a movie that had been filmed in the area: Sommersby, starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. In real life, the set was an antebellum mansion that the owners were working on restoring at the time of the film, and Lauren’s mom wanted to see it.
The experience made an impression on Lauren and stuck with her. She credits it with her interest in design and eventually in architecture. Lauren studied interior design and worked in the field when she was young, then married and had babies and got busy with family life.
When her oldest son was preparing to go to college, it hit Lauren that she wanted to go back to school at this point too. Both mother and son were accepted into the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She studied architecture while he studied electrical engineering, but where their paths intersected, they studied together, worked on projects together, and helped each other. Then they graduated together in 2016.
In today’s interview, Lauren discusses what it’s like to be a young architect who’s significantly older than most new architects, how her career is going now, and how she’s handling studying and exams.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
- Why Lauren got interested in architecture
- Lauren’s unusual architecture school experience
- What happened for Lauren after architecture school
- Lauren’s transition to being a Bin Manager
- How Lauren got involved with the New Jersey AIA group
- How the CDT exam process went for Lauren
- How Lauren’s experiences at the Young Architect Winter Series was
- How Lauren’s studying is going now
- How it’s been to juggle all of the different pieces of Lauren’s life
- Lauren’s thoughts about diversity in the profession
- Lauren’s advice for aspiring architects
- What Lauren knows now that she didn’t know then
- The book that changed everything for Lauren
- Lauren’s favorite resource, product, or gadget
- Lauren’s best timesaving trick
- How listeners can find Lauren
Top Three Takeaways from This Episode:
- It’s never too late.
- Take risks as much as you can.
- Don’t judge yourself against other people.
Lauren’s Advice for Aspiring Architects:
“The most important piece is, take risks. As soon as you leave college, take as many risks as you can afford.”
“I’ve spent my whole life judging myself against other people. And you know what? Life is not a race against other people.” –Lauren on what she knows today that she didn’t know back then
“I don’t know about a book, but definitely that movie.” –The book that changed everything for Lauren
“It’s these Rocketbooks.” –Lauren on her favorite resource, product, or gadget
“The best time-saving trick is that there’s always someone who’s willing to do it for you, you just have to pay them.” –Lauren on her best time-saving trick