We are extremely fortunate to have a staff full of incredibly talented and interesting individuals at WJW! As part of a new series of posts, we’d like to take some time to highlight different members of the WJW team by posing a set of questions relating to their architectural work and beyond. For our first staff feature, the spotlight is on Jane!
What has been your favorite project and why?
My favorite project, in my work at WJW, is Clark-Estes Apartments. I really enjoyed being able to work on a project in a neighborhood very near my own home. And I love the special touches, like murals by a local artist on each floor, that make the building feel like a place I would like to call home.
What do you most love about what you do?
I love that in my daily work as an architect, my tasks are so varied. I get to do everything from help clients identify their needs through programming to visiting buildings during construction, and everything in between! And, of course, I like seeing our design work come to fruition through the construction process.
What energizes you at work?
At the grand opening for New Star Apartments, a small apartment building providing permanent supportive housing for adults with development disabilities, I was able to meet some of the residents who would be moving into the building. Seeing their pride and excitement about their new homes was energizing. Thinking of all those who will live in the places we design continues to bring energy to the work I do.
What are the non-design lessons you’ve learned from your work at WJW?
I feel like I’m constantly learning at WJW. This year, through our monthly Dialogue, Education, Activism discussions, I have learned so much about topics such as eviction and Chicago school closings.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I enjoy urban sketching. Urban sketches offer a way to tell the story of my surroundings, the place I live and where I travel.
Tell us about a favorite book:
A recent favorite book is The Warmth of Other Suns, which we read this fall for the WJW book club. I love non-fiction books that help you to learn about a topic by sharing the stories of people who have been impacted by that topic. The Warmth of Other Suns artfully tells the story of the Great Migration through the stories of three Americans. The engaging way the stories are told makes it feel like a fictional account that you don’t want to put down.
Offer your best life/business/design advice to young architects graduating this spring:
Keep taking the next step that feels like it is taking you closer to type of work you want to do. When I graduated from university, I knew I wanted to do work to contribute to the common good as an architect, but the path was not exactly clear. I just kept taking the next step toward that goal and have eventually found my way to work that feels meaningful for me.
Look into the future: name something you’re excited about and think may be a part of architecture and design in the next 10 years.
I become a WELL accredited professional two years ago. WELL certification is focused on advancing health and well-being in buildings. I am looking forward to the ways in which design and architecture further evolve toward supporting health and wellness in the coming years.