Webber + Studio recently hired 6 new designers and we’ll be profiling them here and there over the next few months.
When did you know you wanted to be an architect?
I was born in a Third World Country so I come from a very modest and limited family. Our limitations have shaped me in making something out of nothing. I first learned that architecture was in my blood when we moved to the United States. My father took us to New York one year, and I remember this rushed, inexplicable feeling that came over me when we were standing in the heart of the Big Apple. It seemed to me like a whole new world; like nothing I had ever seen before. Looking up at those intimidating, massive, sky-high buildings that were built to honor leaders and religious beliefs, that symbolize power and wealth and to stretch the limits of what is possible left me completely speechless. I found my dream that day. My wild, intriguing and beautiful dream.
You’ve been here 2 months, is there anything that caught you off guard or surprised you about working at Webber+Studio?
Absolutely. On my first day actually. I had this idea that I was going to be trained on the program and projects for the first few weeks and THEN be given my first project. But clearly, that wasn’t the case. I walked in, was taken to my desk, was told about the project I was already placed on (keyword: already) and followed with a client meeting that afternoon. Like…what? Definitely caught me off guard.
This is my first real gig since I graduated, with a four-year bachelors I might add, so I was not expecting any of this. I mean, first of all, I’m a Latina woman in architecture, my career is relatively inchoate, I don’t have a Masters Degree, I didn’t go to a top 20 or ivy league school so sometimes its easy to lose faith when I’m working with people that have impressive years of experience and have a higher degree level than I do. But its my duty to transform my weaknesses into strengths, and balance the infamous architectural scale that even Corbusier once talked about. The Architecture scale that balances the art and design aspect of it with the engineering and science. Corbusier said it himself, “The engineer, inspired by the law of Economy and governed by mathematical calculation, puts us in accord with universal law, he achieves harmony. The architect, by his arrangement of forms, realizes an order which is a pure creation of his spirit, by forms and shapes he affects our senses to an acute degree and provokes plastic emotions.. it is when we experience the sense of beauty.” Architecture is about finding the beauty in all the challenges we face. And frankly, that’s why I fall in love with it all over again each and every day. Its a reminder that I’m here because I’m supposed to be here. Because even though some days when the world whispers “give up”, faith and courage are there to get me back on my feet. Dreams take hard work and I’ve seen the flowers start to bloom from the seeds that I planted and watered these last four years. I’ve been blessed with more than I could’ve ever asked for, I just have to keep believing in myself.
Now that you’ve had some time to get settled, are there any projects that get you excited? If so, what are they and why?
My first project, Swift Current Trail. I walked in when the Schematic Design phase had already been completed, so I had to get to know the project through the Construction Documents. It was definitely challenging because I had to find out the story behind each wall and why it was placed there. I know Construction won’t begin for a long time, but I’m really looking forward to it. Seeing something in drawings and 3D modeling does not come close to seeing it built in person.
You’ve lived in 4 cities this year, and recently moved from Neenah, WI. Do you have any favorite spots in Austin yet?
I moved from Milwaukee to Orlando to Neenah and lastly settled in Austin. Each city holds a special place in my heart. Those cities are so different from one another that it’s hard not to fall in love with them. However, Austin and Milwaukee share a lot of similarities in the essence of food, music, hipsters, and nightlife. Neenah is so much like the perfect little peaceful town that when I first drove down I-35 in the morning I was completely traumatized. Now, for my favorite spots in ATX; NEVER did I think the best food came from a food truck, like, what is life? Goodness, it’s just absolutely amazing! So I guess I can shamelessly say that my favorite spots in Austin are the food trucks. Oh and IKEA… Which can be dangerous since I live about 10 minutes away.
What are you most looking forward to working on in the coming year?
I’m looking forward to further develop my skills and make good use of them in future projects. I’ve learned so much about myself these past 8 weeks I can definitely see a change. A change that I’m allowing to happen because it’s making me into the woman I’m designated to be. I’m excited to gain more experience in residential architecture, make mistakes, learn from them and evolve to be the best I can be.