“Drawing Inspiration from our Emerging Professionals” is an eight-part series that will be published on the AIA NJ blog over the course of the month of October, AIA Emerging Professionals Month. In this series, our young professionals will chronicle the personal stories of how they were attracted to become architects — and how architecture inspires them.
A day at the beach
I grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, so for much of my childhood I played on asphalt and concrete. (There was also an occasional patch of dirt, which was invariably sprouting weeds). Finding refuge from the bustle of the busy city was rare, so my family would take fairly regular trips to the beach to alleviate the stress and wear of the city lifestyle. Although we didn’t frequent it as often as I would have liked, the beach would influence my creative side in a number of ways. As a creative professional, I look back on those trips and wonder if they had an influence on my decision to pursue a career in architecture.
The beach is a place where all five senses can be evoked, which can cause some sensory overload in a young child. All of the new feelings I experienced on the waterfront caused me to see my surroundings differently. What was a nice place for most people to lounge became my new site for childhood construction as I designed the most intricate sand castles any architect could conjure up.
You learn about everything in life through experience, and anyone who has built a sand castle can tell you about the factors you must take into account: the wetness of the sand, proximity to the water, where the sun is coming from, if there are other people walking on your “site” and how you have to redirect the ocean water as the tide came in.
Dealing with all of these concerns, unbeknownst to me, was my first experience solving an architectural problem. The end goal was always to create the largest, most intricate sand castle, but in order to complete the project, all the other problems had to be addressed. These small details can really help a young mind develop their problem solving abilities, and from it arises a heightened sense of creativity.
While most people see the beach as a relaxing way to spend the day, it can also be used by parents as a means of developing future architects. It worked for me!
Matthew Pultorak, Assoc. AIA