Why did you join AIA Seattle?

I had recently graduated from the University of Washington and gotten my LEED Green Associate certification, and I was looking for meaningful ways to get involved with sustainable design projects. I had experience with the social side of design but wanted to be engaged in more technical discussions, too.

What is the value of AIA to you?

AIA has been perfect platform for connecting ideas across firms. With wide representation and energetic collaboration between members, it has allowed me able to both broaden and refine the scope of my design goals. Attending cross-committee events also reminds me to consider the people for whom we are designing. It’s easy to get lost in the details of a project, and the range of topics keeps the big picture in sight.

What relationships have you created?

Through the Committee on the Environment (COTE), I have had the pleasure of bringing together professionals from several different fields at our events. A few members and I just recently met with Structural Engineers Association of Washington (SEAW) Sustainability Committee, in part to talk about how COTE and SEAW can join forces to start more green conversations between project designers. I have also attended events and meetings with other AIA committees like Women in Design and the Urban Design Forum to support their projects and build more bridges between us.

What inspired you today?

Barbara Erwine’s Creating Sensory Spaces.

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?

My career has just begun, but so far I’m on track with my plans, since just about anything related to reversing climate change and ecological degradation is right up my alley. I didn’t expect to be working on King County rainwater harvesting policy, but I’m glad for anything that rounds out my experience in resource consumption solutions. Right now, I’m beefing up my knowledge of thermodynamics to get a better technical understanding of passive heating and cooling principles.

Where is the field of architecture, engineering, or construction headed?

Better developed systems of reuse as we continue to realize that our material resources are more limited than we might like to think. The discussion can get controversial but it’s an important one to continue! On a related note, I have seen increasing investment in life cycle analysis for more market refinement. More personally, I hope to see more development with biophilic and sensory-based systems.

Can design save the world?

Absolutely – built environment design and processes are a central part of the solution to this century’s energy and emissions crises. Besides the obvious ways that thoughtful design reduces resource strain, the economy of the designer is in many ways based on human attention. The valuable service in an age of overflowing information is the organization of that information. Design that makes it easy and rewarding for people to make positive social and ecological choices is important in how we shape our future.

What do you hope to contribute from your work?

Largely, meeting initiatives like the 2030 Commitment. I’m not picky about what role I end up playing in achieving carbon neutrality, as long as I can help make it happen!

What is your favorite Seattle-area structure?

It might not be the best example of intuitive wayfinding, but I am a big fan of the indoor market at Pike Place. As a child, trips there were always magical for me, and the maze-like layout and tactile symphonies continue to charm me as an adult.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?

“The perfect is the enemy of the good,” or in the more extreme words of computer scientist Donald Knuth, “Premature optimization is the root of all evil.” It takes bravery and experimentation, not perfection, to solve unprecedented challenges!