This third series of “when did you know?” focuses on a handful of architects from our team, each telling us about their “aha moment” in life.
During my Catholic School days, I was really good at art and math. I ran out of classes to take one year, and my calculus teacher suggested I take drafting. I had no idea what all that meant, but I did it anyway. Then my teacher suggested that I should be an engineer, so I started to tour colleges with engineering programs. However, I noticed that the architects looked like they were having much more fun!
Realizing my desire to be an architect was more of a gradual process. I have always had a strong interest in constructing things and seeing how things come together. Throughout high school I constructed 2-3 dollhouses/models and was intrigued by the unique architectural features and styles.
Throughout school I had strong skills in math and science and was encouraged to pursue engineering. After a career day at Purdue I decided on a complimentary career that would take advantage of those skillsets and allow for the creativity and artistic skills I also enjoyed. Architecture then became my focus.
I first knew I wanted to be an architect in about 4th grade in Columbus, Indiana. Time magazine had just published an article about Columbus and the famous architects that had designed buildings there. Being around these notable projects really caught my attention. This new found inspiration coupled with my love for playing with Legos and drawing all made architecture a natural fit for a career choice for me.
When I started at The Ohio State University in the summer of 1970, I had no idea what I wanted to be. I didn’t even know what an architect did. All that I knew was that an architect did “drafting”, and I had never had any exposure to that.
At Ohio State, I shifted from Biology to Anthropology, to General Studies, trying to slip in art courses, art history, and language courses. My parents were very patient with me as I filled my class schedules for several quarters (2 years) with the broadest spectrum of seemingly unrelated classes. Then I met a few people in a fascinating world history course who would drag themselves into the recitation sessions with all of these amazing drawings and models from a set of classes in the architecture department. The more I talked to them about their courses and their major, the more I realized that this “architecture” combined all of the things that I had been trying to mash together for the past 2 years, and maybe I should look into it. Well…once I stepped through the door into my current world, there was no turning back. Art, the incorporation of historical context and culture, and TALKING! WOW! What a perfect fit… and from that point, it only got better!