This Q&A is part of a series of interviews with BRP architects, designers, and others in the firm about their career journey, and the impact that architecture and design can have on our communities and the collective human experiences. Today, we sat down with Samantha Hite to explore her take on evolving perspectives in design careers, emphasizing the transformative power of design in shaping collective human experiences.
1. If you could impart any piece of advice to individuals beginning their design careers, what would it be?
As a recent graduate, and a new young professional in the workforce, I feel like many things could be considered 'advice' for anyone in any position in their career. However, I think that the most integral part of starting in the design world is to never stop changing. This can go for anything: Knowledge, self-actualization, personal image. I believe that the design field is like art - that it reflects and evolves with the human perception of the world around us. Design is always evolving and changing, just like human society! This is not to say that you can't find your style, or your passion, but to understand that the world around you does not stop moving - experience and explore the world you live in, and you might discover something new!
2. How do diverse backgrounds and experiences make BRP a better architecture firm?
Historically, the field of Architecture has been composed of men, but at BRP there is an evolving mix of new and aspiring faces that grace the design world with their talents. With a firm located in Springfield, we have the opportunity to see and experience so many different walks of life that most can only see in large metropolitan areas - however so many of our staff are from all different walks of life, and with this ever-expanding library of knowledge we are better able to work with, represent, and design for clients all around the country. I think that there is always room for improvement in any conversation revolving around diversity, but I believe that BRP is a place that celebrates our differences to unite us all to our common goal. "Your Vision. Our Focus."
3. What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of architecture and design?
Architecture is an ever-evolving world of rules, logic, influence, and knowledge. With so much of the world evolving further and further into this modern 'tech' area, there is so much concern regarding an Architect's 'place' in this digital future. The one thing that will continue to establish credibility and reputation in the design world, will be the 'human factor.' This is not to say that this ever-evolving tech can't be used as a tool to help us achieve aspirations in our field, but to completely remove the human aspect would remove the whole purpose of our work. Truly I am most excited to see how the future will define our role, and how we as designers can cement our purpose as creators/artists of the habitable world.
4. What is a daily habit of yours that you swear by?
I am a person who has many tasks on an 'unmade' list, that exists in my brain only. Every morning I wake up, come to work, leave for the day, and return home to usually repeat the same sequence. Because this typical work week can become monotonous for me, I must find ways to break up the events, or to make the time at home more rejuvenating - this way I am more revitalized and prepared to work again. My go-to activity when I get home is to eat a tasty meal, and then relax on my couch while watching any recent uploads on YouTube. It's one way that I can truly turn my brain off for a few moments, and exist in the now, rather than worrying about my brain's list, or about when new activities it will add tomorrow. This is a long-winded way of saying that I must make individually curated time for myself to recenter and refocus. Self-care is a hot topic right now, but it is something to truly curate for yourself. Some people need to get out and shop - some go hunting - others take spa days. Self-care is self-curated, but still so important to truly finding you!
5. How can architecture and design make space that's inclusive for everyone?
Even though this question seems like it can be opinionated and charged, I think there is one thing that is important to remember when entering the design field. You are entering a field that is designed by people, for the world. Even though the world of design is broad and far-reaching, the central point of focus is that our design does not only revolve around our globe, but it revolves around the inhabitants. No matter where your opinions may lie on any line of ideology, human beings, and the earth they inhabit are what truly matter. It is our job as architects to not only design for the people but to so sustainably and effectively promote health and longevity to people and the planet they live on. Architecture is one of the most grueling, but forgiving careers to exist, but only because our client base extends further than the cognizant. We are designing our futures, not just as a current society, but as a human race.