In April, we featured the last guest artist at our New Artists program. We were extremely lucky to enjoy a presentation from Pittsburgh's Southside-based Architect Peter Margittai. Peter gave us a ton of great information about what an architect does and what it takes to become one. He talked about how an architect works to make spaces livable. He answered our questions, such as "Does an architect have to be good at math?" Answer: Not especially!
We were curious about what it takes to become an architect. Peter told us that it takes about eleven years of preparation and training before you can really become an architect. You need a degree in Architecture, which takes five years to earn at most institutions. Then it is ideal to intern for an architectural firm several more years to gain experience. Then you need to take various Architect exams, which can take about a year to accomplish. It will take even more time to establish your own business. But it can be done, and Peter encouraged students' interests in architecture, and told us that we especially need more women architects!
Many of Peter's projects include renovating old buildings and turning them into homes and business spaces. Peter told us about a two-year renovation project and showed us a model of it, made by hand from museum board. This building had an arch and a groin vault, which he defined for us. He also defined scale, which is the relationship of size between things.
The model had windows that you could peek through and see the inside of the building. Peter's architecture firm also includes interior design, which involves the design choices for the insides of rooms and spaces.
Architects need to know how to work with clients. Having a good client-architect relationship is key, since the architect is building a space tailored to the needs and wants of the client. With this in mind, Peter introduced a project for us to do. He gave everyone a slip of paper that said a statement about an imaginary client, such as "Has a huge collection of car tires," "Likes to bake cakes," "Pilots a helicopter" or "Has a pet bear." The students' job was to create a customized floor plan that addresses their client's quirk.
This was a great exercise for creating imaginative floorplans! It was also helpful to hear advice from Peter about how design works: first you start with a vague overlay of the project, and last you zoom in on the details. That's an important tidbit for every artist to use.
Above is one of the resulting floorplans, created by Logan for a client that has a huge collection of car tires. Thanks again to Peter Margittai to infusing our class with design principles and sharing with us the beauty of your architectural drawings and models. We learned a lot!