One of the downsides of my early morning boot camp is that the music will be on repeat in my head the rest of the day. Sometimes that is good. Sometimes, it is not. The other day, the Colbie Caillat song, “This Is How it Starts” got stuck.
The Birmingham Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently presented an exhibit at the Center for Architecture in Birmingham entitled “Living Small,” which explored the multiple ways that “tiny living” has been realized all over the world, including here in Birmingham. As an addition to the exhibit, Birmingham Home and Garden magazine collaborated with local architects to design a series of tiny houses for their Second Homes issue.
My first years in a firm consisted of working on master plans for large scale institutions, commercial buildings, historic preservation and boutique retail. I loved working on these types of projects: I found them challenging and fulfilling. I started doing residential design after my first child was born, and, at that point, considered the shift something of a professional demotion. Houses could not possibly be as difficult as a nineteen-story building. This was going to be easy.
A little bit of history first. I did not attend an undergraduate architecture program. I made my decision to go to architecture school during my junior year, after I had already committed to an art history major (although I ended up concentrating in architectural history in that department.) I spent a good deal of my education writing papers, culminating in a 125 page thesis on Harvey Wiley Corbett, a little known architect working in New York in the early part of the twentieth century. My writing was about conveying information and ideas in a clear, concise manner.
I am fairly certain that these are the questions I am asked most frequently in casual conversation. “We’ve been talking about this for a while . . .” “We’ve been looking at houses but haven’t found what we wanted . . .” “We love our street and don’t want to leave it.” Honestly, as an architect, I have the same questions and discussions with my husband. “Should we buy that house? We need to work on the master bath. What about a second story?”