I can’t get that song by Pharrell Williams out of my head and that is okay by me. It is a catchy uplifting tune that brings a smile and a springy step. I recently had the pleasure of helping with Design Discovery a week long session for high school kids interested in design fields. We talked about Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Interior Architecture. We toured public plazas, museums and even new buildings led by the architect who designed them. We drew, sketched and used Jenga sets to build models. I answered questions, described what I do on a daily basis and what it takes to be a licensed architect. Ugh I even admitted that 30 years I too participated in this program. Ugh not because I didn’t enjoy it but rather the shock noting it was 30 years ago.  Where does time go?!


We spent time each day explaining how the profession works. Not just through school but after and the many disciplines and specialties that can be involved in any given project. I enjoyed hearing what these future design students were interested in and what field they may pursue. Many questions were discussed. “Math or art?” “If I have an extra high school hour which one?” “ I like math but I am not creative?” “I don’t enjoy math or computers”


Math math math. I often hear from adults even clients that they really wanted to be an architect but weren’t good at math so they didn’t pursue it.   Didn’t even look into what it takes for an architecture degree. The answer: not as much math as you expect! Yep basic college algebra, descriptive physics and structure classes which explain how buildings stand up! Around 4 classes! Full disclosure I enjoy math and found my college math class was easier than my advanced high school class of course that was 30 years ago! Surprise!


Art is important and will help you with any major. Yes there are fancy written presentations in your life in any major. I am happy that into to art is required in my kids’ school district. Not everyone has taken any art classes in the freshman design studio I teach. They catch up but honestly design studio is easier for those who have a few art or drafting classes.


Back to the happy…. I think being optimistic is the most important trait a designer can have. Our projects exist in the future you have to believe in the future!   There are enough roadblocks along the way for any project that if it starts out on anything less than a positive note it has a tough chance and long road being realized. You can learn art, you can learn math and you can be happy. It seems silly to think that happy is important but in my practice I know it is. I like happy projects, happy houses and happy clients. I like to laugh and yes even laugh when my friends say I cackle rather than laugh! Math? Yes you will need some, Art? the more the better, Happy? REQUIRED!


This blog is dedicated on Father’s day to the most optimistic person I have ever known, my father. Miss you every day Dad.


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