When you think of St. Lawrence—its different major offerings and notable alumni network— do you think of architecture? Maybe of our campus buildings, but likely not as a degree program. So how did I end up finding my passion for architecture here? I cannot exactly pinpoint what led me on this path, but I owe a lot to the classes I have taken, the professors I have worked with, and the friends I have made. Each influenced me in ways that indirectly led me to architecture. Like my first-year professor and advisor, Associate Professor of History Howard Eissenstat wrote to me and my first-year classmates, “St. Lawrence is a place of scholarship and research, but also a place of self-exploration, friendship, and personal development. It is, I always like to tell people, perhaps the least cynical place I know.”
I remember vividly reading this and feeling taken aback—my afternoon time with my friends was disrupted. I was not sure what to make of this statement and quite honestly, I don’t think I figured it out until recently. After four years, I can say with confidence that he was right!
As I prepare to begin a three-year graduate program in architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, I can see how St. Lawrence created a safe space for me to explore my interest in the subject. I was free to think about what architecture is and can be, and how space affects the ways in which my friends and I view ourselves and our environment—especially during COVID. In my geology courses, I learned about how the earth is constantly changing and what that means for creating a more sustainable future. In art, I experimented with video, drawing, ceramics, and photography in ways that allowed me to think more conceptually about what architecture can look like. Through research, I learned about intentional design and how light, materials, furniture, and other elements of architecture work together to impact how spaces are used.
Studying abroad in Italy was the icing on the cake. In the field of geology, there is an oft-recited principle of uniformitarianism: the present is key to the past. What does this mean? It means understanding the history of how things were in relation to how things are now and how they will be in the future. This is the reason why I chose to explore the ancient cities of Italy—an experience I now consider transformational! Learning about classical architecture and how that has translated into contemporary design was exciting, to say the least. Witnessing the Venice Biennale—the Mecca of world-class, industry-changing art and architecture ideas—was eye-opening. I honed my creative skills, practicing photography and ceramics while studying world-renowned paintings and sculptures. The like-minded people I met pushed me to question and think deeper about my creative process, an attribute that drives my creative work to this day.
As I prepare to graduate and move on, I realize that this is what the St. Lawrence experience is all about; not taking anything at face value but rather questioning, investigating, and experimenting. Always be curious to learn more. So, why, of all the things St. Lawrence has to offer, did I choose to study architecture? Because four years of asking questions and investigating my surroundings has brought me here, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!