Q: What one piece of advice would you give to young women just getting started in architecture?
A: Find your passion and acquire a tough skin. There is no crying in construction. Architecture is such a big field and universities are now creating interdisciplinary programs that offer experience in environmental design and sustainable design, and so much more. I say, sample it all in order to discover what you truly love.
Q: If you were handed your dream project, what would it be?
A: I love this question! My dream… it would have to be a client who shares my passion and worldview of how important simplicity is. This project would preferably take place on a mountain or rural site with interesting features to respond to. And the materials used within the project would be utilitarian or basic in nature, such as weathered, natural wood and steel. I love low maintenance materials, nothing fussy or overdone.
Q: What is the most challenging project you have ever worked on and why?
A: I would say it is my upcoming project on the North shore of Hawaii. Since I am a place-based architect, my challenge will be to create a true, authentic design for this site as I have never lived there and do not know the culture. I have my work cut out for me, but the client is wonderful and holds the same design values as I do.
Q: You have already mentioned how your mother and grandmother’s weaving influenced your career, is there any other aspect of your childhood that affected your decision to go into design?
A: Yes. My grandparents owned and operated a Scandinavian housewares business. I grew up in a mid-century modern home before it was cool. Being surrounded by all that logic and pragmatic order of modern architecture greatly influenced my design taste.
Q: What technology in your industry do you totally geek out on?
A: Books! I am not a technology person; I prefer to read real newspapers and books.
Q: What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?
A: The big picture. The thought that I could make the world a better place through my art. The idea that I can impact someone’s happiness through design by creating a calm, peaceful and balanced space is very exciting to me.
Q: What are you most excited about for the future of your industry?
A: Oh, there is so much to be excited about right now! We are going back in time by 40-50 years when less is more and life seemed simpler. I am seeing a new, very exciting appreciation for local craftsmanship and locally sourced materials. This all combines into a distinct, regional architecture of place that very much appeals to my sensibilities.