At our annual Firmwide Advance in April we had the opportunity of recognizing our team members who passed their architectural exams within the past few years. This is quite the accomplishment, and something we are very proud of! We are excited about making this a new tradition for our BRW family.

Recognized at the event were the following:

Jennifer Bettiol, AIA
Denisse Tse, AIA
Avi Patel, AIA
Amelia Nguyen, AIA
Marcus Gibbon, AIA
Taylor Jackson, AIA
Renee French, AIA
Garrett Barker, AIA

Get to know some the Architects and their journey below!

 


Jen Bettiol, AIA

What made you want to become an Architect?

The idea of being an architect did not come until later in life.  As the daughter and sister of general contractors, I have been in the construction field all of my life both by association and practice.  When my son began kindergarten, I decided it was time to return to school to do my graduate work.  In considering that decision and examining what really interested me, it became clear that I had a passion for architecture.  So, I relocated my family to Texas from North Carolina and I began my pursuit of an March degree at Texas A&M.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t an architect, I would be an exercise physiologist or physical therapist.

What advice can you give to those going through the process of becoming an Architect?

The advice I would give to someone going through the process of becoming an Architect is to “Know your Why”.  The process is can be demanding.  But, when you begin to doubt your ability and you are tired, knowing your why will be the force that brings you through

What is your favorite thing about architecture?

My favorite thing about architecture is that it is a physical manifestation of an idea.  It is an idea that the world gets to experience the results of.  I love being a part of making those ideas a reality for our clients.

Who is your favorite Architect and why?

I have a few favorite architects.  I love FL Wright’s ability to have his architectural design respond to the location.  I love how I M Pei brings natural light into a space and integrates it into his design. I love how Charles and Henry Greene understood and articulated craftsmanship.


Denisse Tse, AIA 

What made you want to become an Architect?

My interest in Art and to create.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be doing?

I would be a professional dancer.

What advice can you give to those going through the process of becoming an Architect?

Only do it if you really love it.

What is your favorite thing about architecture?

Having fun creating something that people can experience.

Who is your favorite Architect and why?

Alvar Aalto and Carlo Scarpa are my favorite but I also admire many others. 


Garrett Barker, AIA

What made you want to become an Architect?

My journey began when I was 12 years old and my parents were building a new home. My dad would come home with blueprints of proposed designs after meetings with the architect and we’d go through them together. Sheet by sheet. Noting things that we liked and disliked between the various plans. Most importantly we would discuss WHY we preferred one over the other and HOW we might revise certain conditions to fit our needs. Before this point, our buildings and our communities simply existed as they were, and we adapted to them. This is the moment when it clicked for me that the built environment is shaped by the minds of people, and I knew that is what I was meant to do.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be doing?

I would have to go with structural engineer. I’m fascinated by how things work, and there is some similarity in the creativity and problem solving that goes into the design of a structure. 

What advice can you give to those going through the process of becoming an Architect?

Keep pushing forward. Times will get tough, hours will get long, but the reward waiting at the end of a successful project will reinforce your decision to do what we do.

What is your favorite thing about architecture?

The opportunity to help bring life to a program or an idea that will have a positive influence on the lives of the end user and a community is a constant reminder of why I wanted to become an architect in the first place.

Who is your favorite Architect and why? 

Renzo Piano because of the honesty of his architecture. At a moment’s glance, it is abundantly clear what the function of a building is and how it was achieved. His sensitivity of scale, clarity of form, and expression of structure present a level of humanism that I feel is critical to be maintained as our profession progresses.


Amelia Nguyen, AIA

What made you want to become an Architect?

I was given an assignment to research three career choices in the eighth grade. I chose the first three careers on the list. How lucky that architecture starts with an “A”.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be doing?

Questioning all my life choices.

What advice can you give to those going through the process of becoming an Architect?

Be sure to embrace the journey to licensure. It’s frustrating to fail exams (trust me, I’ve had my share) and/or not get the right experience hours. But, there was some new knowledge that came out of the studying or insight from the work experience. Having the license doesn’t magically make one an all-knowing architect. You’ll have to work many more years to get that title.

What is your favorite thing about architecture?

It never gets boring (at least not for very long). Every day is a new experience or learning opportunity. Every project presents new challenges and requires new solutions.

Who is your favorite Architect and why?

I have yet to find another architect I’ve admired more than Massimo Carmassi. His designs eloquently integrate a regional material, brick, with modernism, yet still respects the existing context. Of all his project, I believe the Reconstruction of San Michele in Borgo best demonstrates Carmassi’s talents.


Avi Patel, AIA

What made you want to become an Architect?

I have a few relatives that are in the construction and development industry. Being around them and learning about what they did secondhand fed into my interest in design at a young age. As a kid, I would try and get my hands on anything I could sketch on or build with. That interest grew throughout middle-school and into high school when I figured that architecture is something that would provide me the opportunity to live out my dream.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be doing?

One of three things, a pediatrician, an airline pilot, or something computer related.

What advice can you give to those going through the process of becoming an Architect?

Keep pushing! It’s a long and strenuous process, but you can’t let the failures hold you back.

Also, reach out for help when you’re stuck or need a bit of extra motivation.

What is your favorite thing about architecture?

The complexity and many facets of architecture always provide a different challenge. We have to know so much about so many different things that we tend to forget how much we actually learn about other professions.

Who is your favorite Architect and why?

I have always admired Renzo Piano’s work. The methods of construction and design techniques he uses to manipulate daylight into his buildings is the perfect combination of artistry and engineering.


Renee French, AIA

What made you want to become an Architect?

Growing up, I always had random hobbies and interests (usually involving the creation of something) and I was very well rounded academically and in extracurriculars. So, when it came time to pick a major for college, I wanted to quadruple major in all my different areas of interest. It was completely unrealistic, so I had to find a way to narrow down my options.

This led me to a series of aptitude tests that all came back the same: Architecture/Civil Engineering/ Interior Design.

Civil engineering seemed too math heavy to me, and interior design required more artistic ability I wasn’t confident would be the best fit for me. Architecture was an exciting combination because I felt that I was both artistic and math/science oriented, so I set down the path to architecture. On the first day of classes I realized I had found my place in the world.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be doing?

I would probably be a literature teacher or a writer. When I’m not at work, I pretty much always have my nose buried in a book. I love discussing underlying messages that require ‘reading between the lines’ in books and movies.

What advice can you give to those going through the process of becoming an Architect?

The same advice my grandfather gave me growing up:

The three P’s of success are Persistence, Perseverance and Pressure.

I would book my exams to apply Pressure on myself to study.

I would Persistently schedule my life around studying, not studying around my life.

When you manage to stick to your plan, you WILL Persevere.

The ones who love you will understand and support you in your endeavors, no matter how much time and effort it requires.

What is your favorite thing about architecture?

It is NEVER the same day-to-day. As I said earlier, I have a lot of varied interests and skills and architecture has allowed me to use every one of them. Math, Science, Art, History, Sociology, Psychology, Networking, Graphic Design, Community Outreach, Business Development, Research and even and extensive amount of writing.

Architecture has it ALL so you never get bored. In fact, it often feels that as soon as you think you have a firm understanding of something – codes, construction detailing, systems – the industry will go and change it on us, so we must learn it all over again from a different approach.

Who is your favorite Architect and why?

That’s a silly question. How could you possibly pick just one?

I love that Shigeru Ban makes gorgeous structures out of discarded materials.

I respect that Corbusier disregarded traditional architecture and made his own rules.

I appreciate Gehry’s brave dive into a style he won’t compromise on.

I envy the collaborative nature that Ray, and Charles Eames shared in their studio.

I also come across local architecture almost every day that inspires me, so I can’t say that I have ONE favorite architect.  I would feel so limited.

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