The Power of Staying Connected with Kristin Slavin

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In this episode of the Young Architect Podcast, Michael spoke to his longtime friend and fellow Architect, Kristin Slavin about her experience with incorporating renewable resources into her work, international travels, and how we can be more responsible for creating our own future.

Kristin has a ton of great tips on how to choose a graduate school, how to be more financially secure, and how to discover a career you’ll be passionate about for life. By the end of this episode, you’ll have a ton of ideas about design, education, and uncovering your interests.

Architect Kristin Slavin

 Kristin gained an interest in architecture very early on while she was in middle school. So, once she entered high school, she was already taking drafting and essential 101 architecture based classes.

After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Architecture at Texas Tech University, she decided to get out of her comfort zone and move to the Pacific coast to attend the University of Oregon Master's Program for Architecture.

One thing that stands out about Kristin is her love of travel and while she was still at Texas Tech University, she had the opportunity to study abroad and travel to several countries including Spain, France, The Netherlands, and Belgium.

Graduating in 2010 with her masters was still a difficult time with the recession hanging over everyone’s heads. She stayed in Eugene while applying to several positions and eventually moved to Portland.

Today, Kristin is an associate for PATH Architecture. When she’s not working on a project, you can find her renovating properties or traveling the world. Even when she’s not at the office, she’s constantly thinking of what else she can bring to the world and how to move her career forward.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode

  • How her university and network connections helped her find her first full-time job in architecture.
  • Why you should consider going to a different graduate school than your undergraduate school in order to increase your network and gain new experiences.
  • How Kristin began to work for PATH Architecture in Portland, Oregon.
  • What it’s like to work for PATH Architecture and why it’s such a unique firm.
  • Some of the projects that PATH Architecture has worked on and what they’re planning to work on next.
  • PATH Architecture’s Carbon12 Residential Project, it’s unique wood structure, and why it’s such a big deal for both the city of Portland and the world of architecture.
  • Why there are more opportunities now than before to design taller buildings using the renewable resource, wood.
  • How being one of the first firms to design a building with wood has opened up a whole new sector in the architecture and design industry.
  • What new building codes will have to be set in place to allow architecture firms to incorporate more wood and other renewable resources in their designs.
  • Kristin’s love of travel and both hers and Lucas Gray’s next travel plans for 2018.
  • How Kristin is helping to spread the word about using renewable resources like wood in architecture.
  • Why it can be a good idea to have multiple income streams to ensure that you can have savings and a good retirement.
  • What it’s been like to buy and renovate a property to make a side income.
  • How we can be constantly growing by looking for new connections and staying open to different ideas.
  • Why traveling is such a great way to get out of your head and gather new ideas.

Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode

  1. Consider studying at a different university or in a different part of the country for your masters for new experiences and connections.
  2. There are so many great resources out there like renewable wood that we can use more of in architecture. A material like wood has so many great benefits and can bring a lot of different elements to the overall look and structure of a building.
  3. It’s not a bad idea to have multiple streams of income to ensure that you have enough savings and can retire comfortably in the future. One great example is to invest in real estate and renovate a property. 

Kristin Slavin’s Advice for Aspiring Architects

“Everyone should try a lot of different jobs and experiences to discover the right career path for themselves. Don’t be afraid of switching firms after 10 months because it might be the right thing to do for your career. A choice like that will help you continue to be interested in your profession and you’ll live a happier life overall.”

“Different scales of firms are really important. SERA Architects had 120 people at its top capacity when I was there. Hennebery Eddy Architects, Inc. had 40 people and now PATH Architects where I work has 7 employees. So, each firm has a different work environment and I think that’s great for young professionals to experience so that they understand what they love and thrive at.”

“Look outside of your traditional path for unfulfilled goals if that’s what you want to do. So, if you don’t want to do architecture, then don’t do just architecture. There are a lot of opportunities to do more than just that. If you love marketing, then you can help a firm improve its marketing strategy.”

“If you don’t make the conscience effort to steer your own career, the profession will do that for you and you won’t like it.”

Favorite Quotes

“Most likely, your connections are going to help you land your first job after school. At least for me it worked that way because thousands of people were probably applying for the same job as me and looking for a job was very competitive. However, having that connection with my professors by staying in touch with them and keeping those relationships was huge for helping me start my career.” – Kristin Slavin on the power of networking to jumpstart your career.

“I openly encourage others to go to a different graduate school than the one they attended for their undergraduate degree. You should not stay at the same school because if you do, you’re just surrounded by the same people and you don’t really make any new connections throughout your entire education experience. By attending a school in another part of the country, you’ll make an exponential amount of new connections.” – Kristin Slavin on the benefits of attending a graduate school in another part of the US.

“All of us at PATH Architecture live in about a 2-mile radius of the firm. So, we all live here, we work here, and we want to build here in this district of Portland. We don’t want to have to go to a suburb somewhere else; we just want to build in our own neighborhood.” – Kristin Slavin on PATH Architecture’s mission to help their neighborhood grow and thrive.

“Wood is just this warm material that people can relate to. It has a human side to it that makes it relatable, comforting, and familiar so that it can reconnect people back to nature compared to being in a concrete box.” – Kristin Slavin on the benefits of using wood as a prime material in an architecture design.  

Resources Mentioned in the Show


Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, and the creator of Young Architect, an online platform and community dedicated to helping the next generation of Architects become the most successful generation of Architects. 
Connect: Linkedin / Facebook / Instagram

Hi there!

I’m Michael Riscica, the guy behind Young Architect. I write to help Architecture Students, ARE Candidates and Young Architecture Professionals be more successful at school, work and life!


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