Friday Feature: Lorenzo

Who are you and what do you do?
I'm a British Architect working in the field of Transit Architecture (aka station design) with VIA Architecture

What made you decide to go into your field?
I originally wanted to become a pilot but my parents were frightened that I might be conscripted and be made to bomb people. Granted, it sounds ridiculous now, but at age 13 I looked through a careers book and didn't get past the letter A. I really enjoyed drawing and was fascinated by how things were put together so a career in Architecture appealed to me. I've worked in many fields from millionaire's mansions and mixed use projects to humble cabins. Transit Architecture I champion in particular as it helps improve the quality of life of so many people from so many social backgrounds every single day.

What did your family think of your chosen field?
"That'll be handy for renovations."

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why?
Frank Lyons who was one of my Diploma tutors in the School of Architecture of the University of Plymouth. He made it ok to move on from white modernism , to embrace materiality and to inject humanism into architecture.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational path? (academic, financial, motivational, family or peer pressure, outside distraction, etc.)
The death of both my parents while I was still completing my schooling.

What inspires you?
Making a positive impact to people's lives

What schooling is required for success in your career?
The traditional architectural education system in Britain is somewhat different to North America. The 'fast track' requires three year's study for an undergraduate degree specializing in Architecture, followed by a two year post graduate qualification in Architecture. Then there's at least two years of internship (although four is preferred before the professional qualifications which take another 6 months.

What kind of people are the most successful in your field? Are there any specific attributes?
A mix of artistic and analytical skills is important, as are a good people skills.

What is the best advice you were ever given?
Get on and draw it.

Is your field growing? (ie. is there room for new entries and is there career growth?)
Absolutely. North America is now realizing the importance of mass transit systems to the long term viability of its cities. Ridership figures continue to go up. I expect to see an increase in expansion and improvement projects as well as the implementation of completely new systems across the world.

What advice would you give someone considering a career like yours?
It demands a lot of hard work and long term commitment from the start. Spending some time working in a practice is essential as an Architect's daily work is not the same as Hollywood may make you believe, though it can be a very rewarding career for the right person.