By Lauren Randall
Caity Malloy is a fourth-year architecture student with a minor in planning and marketing. She has spent her spring semester abroad at the University of Arkansas Rome Center studying the Foro Italico. She said that the most rewarding part of being an architecture student for her is “physically producing something that originated as an internal thought.”
When did you become interested in architecture and why?
I became interested in architecture in my sixth grade art class. My teacher assigned us an interior design project, and after enjoying that so much, I started looking into design. I had always been good at math and science, and after taking drafting classes in high school, I thought architecture would be a good fit.
Why did you choose the University of Arkansas? What makes this program unique?
My drafting teacher in high school graduated from the Fay Jones School and spoke very highly of it. I knew the architecture program was very prestigious. I went to U of A so that I could be a part of the Fay Jones School. The professors are very engaged and encourage me as a student to never stop asking questions. Our guest lecture series is very special and inspiring, giving me an opportunity to learn from professional designers and their work. There are many opportunities for me to get involved in the Fay Jones School, as well as the university as a whole. Volunteering and leadership are central to who I am, and I am able to participate in those activities as well as design.
What has been one of the most interesting projects you have worked on?
One of my favorites was a project that we did third year. It was a school of the kinesthetic arts for the visually impaired, located along the High Line in New York City. The project incorporated design elements that appeal to all the senses, technical investigations (wall section detail, materials, structure), and an urban scale aspect. I tested new methods of model building and computer rendering and had so much fun solving the design problem.
What kind of work are you doing in Rome? What has been your favorite part of the program?
In Rome, our studio is focusing on the Foro Italico 1960 Olympic site. In groups, we redesigned a masterplan for the site based on lessons learned from investigation of Rome’s other neighborhoods. Our individual projects are to further develop a portion of the new masterplan. In our other required class, Architecture of the City, we take weekly site visits around Rome and draw the monuments, in addition to the larger urban context, making connections through the city and time. My favorite part of the program is the encouragement to explore on our own – we have many opportunities to take weekend trips to other countries. Europe has so many unique cities, each with their own designs and city layouts. As an architecture major, being exposed to all these different places is one of the best learning tools that the school could offer.
What have you learned from your study abroad experience? Why did you decide to go abroad?
Study abroad is mandatory for my program. I chose Rome, as opposed to Mexico, because I wanted to experience Europe and its culture. Throughout our architecture history courses, I felt that there would be so much to learn from Europe, tracing from ancient times to modernism. I have learned from my travels abroad that the world is a very diverse place. I have always considered myself to be open minded, but I think that my time in Europe has broadened my horizons even more.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an architecture student?
One of the most rewarding parts of being an architecture student is physically producing something that originated as an internal thought. Through models and drawings, I can communicate my ideas, and it is a wonderful experience to pin up something that I made and be able to show others what I am thinking.
How do you handle the pressure of the architecture program?
I have maintained a very balanced life despite architecture school. Though studio is important to me, I recognize that being a well-rounded person is more important. I volunteer regularly, get involved in as many extra-curricular leadership positions as I can manage, and exercise on a regular basis. By staying physically and mentally healthy, I am able to stay focused and efficient in my work. I know that critique is not personal, and I design for the project’s sake, not to please others. I really do enjoy architecture school, and I do not let pressure ruin that experience.
What is the one thing you want people to know about architecture majors?
I would like people to know that architecture majors are actually quite knowledgeable on a variety of subjects: in order to design well, we must address issues of art, physics, math, psychology, history, economics, sustainability, law… A good designer views everything as inspiration and is very passionate about what he or she does.
What are your plans after graduation? What would be your dream job?
After graduation, I plan to intern through the Intern Development Program in order to become a licensed architect. I am considering going to graduate school for urban planning, but I likely will not do that right after graduation. My dream job is to work for a firm in Chicago that deals heavily with issues of urban design. I may wish to open my own firm someday.