The Vital Importance of Collaboration with Jamie Crawley

In this episode of the Young Architect Podcast, Michael spoke to Architect and Director of Architecture at HA Architecture, Jamie Crawley about his various experiences in the industry. From teaching at Prairie View A&M University to taking the position as the 2015-2016 Co-Chair of the AIA Leadership Institute, Jamie has quite the background. He recently has been named as one of the recipients of the AIA Young Architect of the Year Award.  Listen and learn how he’s helping young architects thrive plus how he balances it all by having a good understanding of time management and more.

Jamie Crawley Feature The Vital Importance of Collaboration with Jamie Crawley Podcast

Architect Jamie Crawley

If there is one thing in this entire world that Jamie really loves doing, it’s sketching. So much so that before he studied Environmental Design at Texas A&M University, he wanted to go to art school. However, he was advised to think about a different path and even declared himself a Pre-Law and Political Science major before finding a way to incorporate sketching into his career and making the full switch to Architecture.

While many people tend to work on their Master’s degree at a different university, Jamie decided to stay at Texas A&M University for his Master of Architecture and Historic Preservation Certificate. In addition, he also taught as a Teaching Assistant and even helped teach a course in the Italy study abroad program. During this time, he began to consider the possibility of himself teaching full time.

Later on, he taught design studio, architecture history survey, and historic preservation for a while at Prairie View A&M University as a Visiting Assistant Professor between working at architecture firms such as DSGN Associates.

Since then, he has worked all over Texas with various companies including TAG International as well as with the American Institute of Architects (AIA)  and Texas Society of Architects in different positions. Today, he is the Director of Architecture at HA Architecture.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode

  • His love of sketching and original desire to attend an art school.
  • Why he began studying Pre-Law and Political Science before switching to Environment Design at Texas A&M University.
  • What made him decide to stay at Texas A&M University for his Master’s degree.
  • His experience studying abroad in Italy twice – once as a student and again as a Teaching Assistant.
  • How it was working for DSGN Associates before pursuing teaching as a potential career change.
  • His experience working as a Visiting Teaching Assistant for Prairie View A&M University.
  • How he balanced having a design studio, teaching, and starting a family.
  • His work in Austin, Texas including helping design the new City Hall.
  • What it was like to be working during the 2008 recession.
  • How HA Architecture came to be and how the operations function with a parent company.
  • The mix of both government and private projects that he has worked on.
  • His experience working with the AIA as a former Co-Chair of the AIA Leadership Institute.
  • What it is like to be working on the Texas border and with clients who are multilingual.
  • How he’s stayed involved with AIA over the years by growing his network and meeting new people.

Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode

  1. Having a good understanding of time management overall is a great skill to have. That way, you can better assess how both yourself and your teammates can get a project done in time.
  2. The world is full of many different opportunities; both national and international. Whether you cross state lines or visit a completely different country, you can learn a lot from various cultures when you step outside of your comfort zone.
  3. AIA is not just for new, emerging architects or those seeking a job; it can benefit you for life in many different ways – networking, mentoring, or even taking on a new leadership position. Joining AIA can help move your career along for its entirety.

Jamie Crawley’s Advice for Aspiring Architects

“Learn how to be collaborative very early on in your career. Practice experience in studio is often singular. Sometimes you do get to do partner work or be on a team, but it’s rarer than people would like. Understanding the collaboration aspect of team work and what you can bring to that collaboration is key.

Maybe you’re more of a passive person, but you’ve been given the role of Editor or Project Manager. Reading your partner or your teammate is incredibly important because in a studio, that collaboration is really important. Everybody’s personality is a little different so understanding the importance of that collaboration early on and finding your role or developing your skills around it is essential.”

Favorite Quotes

“I initially saw AIA as an opportunity to not only meet other peers but also potential mentors. However, being a part of AIA is also a great way to either augment other leadership opportunities or engage with people in a new city. AIA has always been this sort of backbone for my career.” – Jamie Crawley on how AIA has benefited his career.

“Being from Montreal, Canada and now living in Texas, I’ve always lived within both this international and multilingual culture. So, I’m used to people speaking other languages in front of me and it never seems to bother me. For me, it’s just something I’ve kind of grown to understand with living and working in Texas – that people sort of respect the fact that you don’t mind them switching languages mid-sentence. There’s a beauty in that and when you accept it, you’re being respectful of the environment.” – Jamie Crawley on what it’s like working in a multilingual area of the US and being respectful of other people’s differences and the culture.  

“With the AIA, there are a lot of things that people have done in the past that you want to build on those things. On the other hand, there are also some aspects that you want to redesign yourself. Having a part in AIA is really all about building on something and then leaving it for somebody else to pick up the baton and take that idea even further which is really exciting.” – Jamie Crawley on how growth and development within AIA can happen really fast.

“Time is so important and not just from the standpoint that time is limited or something like that. What’s important is understanding how long things take to do; especially the things that you do or that your peers do. Just that level of understanding how long a task will take you is a skill in itself.” – Jamie Crawley on the importance of understanding time for great teamwork and getting tasks done at work.

Resources Mentioned in the Show





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