The Changing Face of Architecture with Michele Hottel

Michele Hottel  

Podcast Michele The Changing Face of Architecture with Michele Hottel Podcast

Although neither of her parents were in creative fields, Michele remembers having a creative upbringing. She enjoyed drawing and painting and took art classes outside of school. When at a young age, Michele was asked to think about possible career paths for herself, she chose art, architecture, and drafting as possibilities she was interested in.  

Michele further explored this interest by taking a drafting class in high school. When her high school guidance counselor asked her what she wanted to do, Michele said that she wanted to go into architecture. But her guidance counselor said that she didn’t have the necessary math classes, and later when the time came to apply to college, Michele’s family had recently moved, so she wasn’t considered a California resident when applying to CalPoly and wasn’t able to enter the architecture program. 

Undeterred, Michele signed up for an architecture program at a community college, then later transferred to CalPoly Pomona. During architecture school, she participated in an overseas program where she traveled to Denmark and lived with a Danish family while studying social housing. Later, she and a group of other students created their own thesis class, which proved to be popular enough that the school continued the class in subsequent years.   

During today’s interview, Michele discusses her AIA membership and why she left the AIA for a period of years. She discusses the possibility of family leave in AIA membership as well as creating a culture in the architecture field that supports women and parents in the field. She also talks about client acquisition and working as a solo practitioner.  

What You’ll Hear on This Episode  

  • How Michele got interested in architecture 
  • Michele’s architecture school journey 
  • Michele’s experience studying in Denmark 
  • How Michele and some other architecture students started their own thesis class 
  • Michele’s work experience during architecture school 
  • What Michele did after architecture school 
  • Michele’s experience with the licensing exams 
  • How Michele became a sole practitioner 
  • Michele’s processes for client acquisition 
  • Michele’s work with AIA San Diego 
  • Michele’s thoughts on AIA membership fees 
  • What it was like parenting three kids as an architect 
  • Michele’s advice for aspiring architects 
  • What Michele knows now that she didn’t know then 
  • The book that changed everything for Michele 
  • Michele’s most important resource 
  • Michele’s best timesaving trick 
  • How listeners can find Michelle 

Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode 

  1. Other architects can be a valuable resource 
  2. It’s important to support diversity in the architecture field 
  3. Coordination is more important than competition 

Michele Hottel’s Advice for Aspiring Architects 

“You can make your own way in the world, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to ask for help or that you can’t take money or advice from people. It’s just being comfortable to do what you want to do. Love one another, and less competition, more coordination.” 

Favorite Quotes 

“I think there’s a lot of different ways to be successful in architecture right now.” –Michele Hottel on what she knows today that she didn’t know back then 

“I’m a total skimmer of books.” –Michele Hottel on the book that changed everything 

“Talk to people. Just call them up, meet them, go over to their office.” – Michele Hottel on the resource she can’t live without

“My timesaving thing is working out of the house.” – Michele Hottel on her best timesaving trick 

Resources Mentioned in the Show:  

[email protected] 
Michele on Instagram 
Michele’s blog 


Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, Founder and Head Coach of the ARE Boot Camp Coaching Program & Online Study Group.

Hi I’m Michael Riscica.

My goal is to help as many people as I can PASS their exams and succeed in their architecture careers.

This is accomplished with the following offerings:

Free FB group that is 12k+ members strong
Low-cost, high-value upcoming webinar
Affordable and Quality ARE Study materials
Professional Development and Powerful Networking
Premium 10-week ARE study program