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Alternative Careers in Architecture

Podcast: 2007/9/13 - 50:54

Presenters: Lori Pavese Mazor, AIA, LEED AP; Tian Feng, AIA, FCSI; Adam Palmer, AIA

Moderator: Shannon Chance, AIA






Shannon Chance, AIA
Chance is an architect and tenured associate professor of architecture at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., and a current doctoral candidate in higher education at the College of William and Mary. Her doctoral research focuses on architecture education and study abroad. She chaired the 2004 National Conference on the Beginning Design Student at Iowa State University and has secured $96,000 in grant funding to conduct four student trips to Africa.

Chance received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Virginia Tech and has worked for architecture firms in Switzerland and Virginia. In addition, she has served on visiting teams for the National Architectural Accrediting Board and as commissioner of architectural review in Portsmouth, Va. She is national cochair of the Visitability & Accessibility Initiative of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Chance also has authored numerous publications, including two chapters on architecture for long-term care facilities in The Handbook of Long-Term Care Administration and Policy, to be published in February 2008 by CRC Press.

Tian Feng, AIA

Feng is chief architect of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), San Francisco. His work on environmental design and public transit has received international and national recognition, including from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An accomplished public speaker with 20 years of experience, he has made presentations on sustainability, urban infrastructure, and transit systems across the country and at numerous international symposiums. Feng’s articles, white papers, and transit-facility standards have been quoted and widely published worldwide.

In addition, Feng is editor-in-chief of BART Facilities Standards, an intranet- and Internet-based design-management building information modeling (BIM) system for rail transit-facility planning, design, construction, and operations. Major U.S. transit agencies that have adopted or referenced these standards, including the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency and New York City Transit. Feng received a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from Tongji University in Shanghai and a master’s degree in building science from the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California.

Adam Palmer, AIA

Palmer is a project manager for Parsons Corp. in Louisville, Ky., where he oversees the administration and coordination of architectural and engineering design services throughout all phases of design and construction. His architecture career includes seven years of experience in health-care facility design and construction projects, including surgical departments, emergency departments, labor/delivery/postpartum departments, laboratories, pharmacies, patient floors, and imaging departments.

A graduate of Ball State University, Palmer is the AIA Young Architects Forum regional liaison from the AIA Ohio Valley Region, and he is also vice president and president-elect of the AIA Central Kentucky Chapter.

Lori Pavese Mazor, AIA, LEED AP

Mazor is associate vice president for campus planning at New York University (NYU), where she oversees the departments of campus planning, space planning, and design. In only two years on the job, she initiated the first 25-year Strategic Planning Initiative and developed the university’s first Sustainable Design Guidelines while also managing the NYU’s 12-million-GSF space inventory.

Previously, Mazor worked for six years at Polshek Partnership Architects, New York City, as project manager on a variety of institutional, cultural, and historic building projects. Mazor is a published and award-winning graduate of Yale School of Architecture and Wellesley College.

How often have we thought of our colleagues who work for municipal agencies as having “alternative careers”? How often have we asked them, “Do you think you’ll ever return to practice?” How often have we hesitated before even introducing them to others as “architects?” This sense of professional exclusivity may be part of what separates us from the community at large.

Education, training, and examination are the legal criteria that define “architect.” Nothing about this definition dictates or limits the roles that a licensed architect can fulfill. Moreover, rapidly evolving technologies and the global community demand that architects apply their education and skills in many areas outside traditional office practice. The first step, then, toward embracing architects’ many abilities, in fact, begins with us. Only by truly valuing our own professional diversity can the public, in turn, truly value us.

In this podcast, three speakers share their nontraditional career stories and answer some fundamental questions: Why did they leave “traditional” practice? How do they feel about their colleagues’ often-negative reactions to their career choices? How has being an architect empowered them to uniquely benefit the clients they serve? The discussion probes related topics, including a more accepting (in lieu of “alternative”) nomenclature; ways the profession can embrace all aspects of architecture practice; and other careers in which architects’ knowledge could become increasingly valuable.

For more information, please visit AIArchitect article Be Prepared: Registration = Opportunity.



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