Architecture and Sustainability
Faculty Advisor: Min Kyung Lee
Field Site: Voith & Mactavish Architects
Field Supervisor: Daniela Holt Voith
Praxis Poster:Mariam's Poster_revised
Hello. My name is Mariam. In my senior year of college, I decided to take a Praxis Independent Study course, which is a great opportunity for students to get practical experience in their field of interest. My major at BMC is Environmental Studies with the concentration in urban sustainability. My goal for the course was to choose the fieldwork location that would help me narrow down my list of interests in the field and determine what kind of path I want to take post-graduation. I asked my professor in the Architecture Design course if her architecture firm—Voith and Mactavish Architects—could become my field site for the PIS course and thankfully, I got a yes for an answer. I wanted to closely stick to my area of interest, which is the sustainable design and development, so we decided that I would mainly be working alongside VMA’s sustainability coordinator.
The general focus of the course that I named Architecture & Sustainability was to get familiar with the architectural design process, which encompasses project planning, file and material organization, and the analysis of sites and renderings. Throughout the course, attention was given to why sustainability is significant to architecture, how architecture impacts the environment and climate change, as well as how sustainability is measured in architecture and the methods used to achieve sustainability goals.
From the start of the semester, my faculty advisor of PIS course—Min Kyung Lee—supplemented me with readings and other materials that would help me understand the importance of practice that I was conducting at VMA. We had bi-weekly check-ins where we would discuss what type of tasks I had been doing at VMA and how they benefited my personal growth and supported my learning objectives. Fieldwork at VMA improved my design knowledge and skills. Through mentorship of the sustainability coordinator and other staff members, I learned how to work in teams in a professional setting, became sensitive to the details of architectural practice, and understood the complexity of managing the architectural design office.
I greatly appreciate each individual who helped me in shaping the course in a way that would satisfy my interests and benefit me the most. I want to give big thanks to Liv Raddatz, Min Kyung Lee, Daniela Holt Voith, and Kaetlin McGee for allowing me to experience the world of architecture and for caring about my academic, career, and personal growth.