James Garrett knew that he was interested in building early on. He loved playing with Legos and building things as a child, and he always had an interest in tall buildings. He describes himself as an urbanist because of his interest in tall buildings and how they made cities recognizable by their skylines. When James’s family took a trip to Chicago, he made a point of drawing all of the famous buildings.
Neither of James’s parents were in architecture, but his grandfather’s godfather was the city architect in St. Paul – one of the first black municipal architects in the United States. That family history and influence also helped to inspire James in his path to becoming an architect.
In today’s episode, James talks about his school experience and what happened for him after school. He talks about taking a trip to South Africa and shares how his father’s passing affected him. He explains how he decided to go into business for himself, how his first business failed, and how he met his business partners. He also discusses progress in the field of architecture – both the progress that he’s seen himself over the years and progress that he’d like to see in the future.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- What inspired James to go into architecture
- Family influences that helped to inspire James
- What school was like for James
- What happened for James after architecture school was over
- How James’s father’s passing affected him
- How James found his business partners
- James’s advice for people who want to start their own businesses
- The benefit of having partners that think differently from you
- Progress that James has seen for minorities in architecture
- Progress that James would like to see in the field
- Projects James has coming up in the future
- James’s advice for aspiring architects
- What James knows now that he didn’t know then
- The book that changed everything for James
- James’s best timesaving trick
- Where listeners can find James online
Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode
- Build your resiliency and don’t give up
- Use your years as a student to explore new ideas
- Never assume that you’re done learning
James Garrett’s Advice for Aspiring Architects
“My advice for aspiring architects would start with don’t give up. It would start with fight on. It would begin with taking an approach to resiliency and sort of intestinal fortitude, building those things up and really committing to move forward and to be open to exploring different ideas and really using your time in school as a laboratory to test out different theories, to test out different things and areas that you’re curious about.”
“I think the main thing that I know at this point is that there is so much more I need to learn.” –James Garrett on what he knows today that he didn’t know back then
“Most recently, there’s a book that really has changed the way I think about a lot of things by a professor named Dr. Stephanie Kelton, it’s called Deficit Myth.” –James Garrett on the book that changed everything
“I have a lot of timesaving tricks but then I do a lot of things that contradict that too, and so I don’t think I actually save any time.” –James Garrett on his best timesaving trick.
Resources Mentioned in the Show: