For five lucky years, MWA has had Designer Sarah Lundy on our team, and for that, we celebrate! As part of the Portland Housing Studio, Sarah works with a tight-knit team of people who all love working with her; they rave about her investment in her projects and her ability to communicate with clients and contractors. To celebrate her time with MWA so far, Sarah shares part of her experience below.
What project are you working on right now?
I am working on a 92-unit townhome project in Vancouver, WA, for a new owner-contractor client.
What project phase is your favorite? Why?
I love the design phase of a project – working out how and why things are the way they are and how best to serve the community and occupants, as well as how the building takes shape and works to integrate with the site and surroundings. I would not say it’s my favorite, but construction administration (CA) is so educational and important in developing as an architect. It forces you to see if your design assumptions where correct and how to better meet them in the future.
“Sarah is a joy to work with. She is a talented and clear designer, hardworking on her projects, diligent with her documents, and sweet to all.”– Diana Moosman
How have the responsibilities and expectations of your job changed in the last few years?
I work much more independently now, and I’m supposed to have most of the answers! Doing CA on a large project by myself was extremely educational (and difficult) and really taught me a lot about the reality of how buildings come together. So much problem-solving! It’s exciting to see your design being realized, as well as illuminating when you see how things can be done differently the next time around.
Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in more design work, which I plan on pursuing as I progress in my career.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
Well, as a somewhat new parent, I don’t have much of a choice! My son is 3.5 years old, so there’s lots of playing and negotiating. We try to do as many outdoor activities as possible and see family and friends when we can. We’re working on a house addition – my husband is building it and we both designed it – and I try to fit in sewing as much as I can. I love to sew quilts for other people and garments for myself (#selfishsewing).
Biking, hiking, and going to the dog park are my favorite non-rainy activities, and I’ve been getting back into reading – gotta love the combo of digital reader + the free library app. I’ve started studying again for my last two licensing exams, so I’m putting everything that I can on hold for a little while.
What do you hope to do more of in the next few years?
I hope to get licensed, do more design work on a variety of projects, make more professional and personal connections, and gain more technical knowledge.
What is your next career goal that you would like to tackle?
Licensing! It’s hard to study when you have a boss at home that is under the age of 5, but I think I’m finally up for it.
“Sarah brings a calmness to the housing studio that is much appreciated. It is also fun to hear her talk about her many talents, from sewing to rolling a D20 die.”– Bill Lanning
When you started your career, why did you want to become an architect?
I love the functional aspect of architectural design and that buildings have such an immense impact on the daily experiences of so many people. They are always in the background but affect each user’s life in so many ways. The variety of the scale of influence that design in the built environment has on people is incredible, and I find it fascinating. I want to keep exploring and engaging with that part of architecture as I progress through my career.
Is there a particular architect’s work that inspires you? Why?
I went to UC Santa Cruz for undergrad and I grew up in Northern California. Charles Moore designed Kresge College at UCSC as well as the vacation home of a friend at Sea Ranch. Both of these projects integrate user experience with the site in such a nuanced yet intentional way. I can’t wait to see Studio Gang’s addition to the Kresge Campus – it looks like it’s going to bring the college out of the 70’s and into the present day, while maintaining its unique charm and adding functional and aesthetic relevance.
I also love Alvar Alto and the school of Scandinavian design that followed him – the thoughtful use of materials, form, and light to create timeless furniture and buildings.
What is your favorite thing about working at MWA?
I love the people at MWA. My team is so supportive, funny, friendly, and hardworking. Thanks for being so awesome, everyone!