Credit: Peter Rad


Regina Johnson
Age: 21
Student
Florida A&M University
School of Architecture
Tallahassee, Fla.

Now in her senior year, Johnson doesn't plan to fit into any prescribed role after completing her architectural education. She hopes to experience construction management and design-build but also gain real-world design experience.

Frank Gehry is Regina Johnson's design hero for his ability to “get away with some crazy stuff.” At the same time, she acknowledges that getting away with crazy stuff isn't really a motivator for her generation. Doing community work through the American Institute of Architecture Students and the co-ed architecture fraternity Alpha Rho Chi has given Johnson clarity about the profession and her place in it. She thinks the most important aspect of architecture is a building's impact on its users and the environment. As for why anyone should choose architecture as a profession, she's clear on that one too: “You get to be creative, and see your creation being used by others.”

Credit: Peter Rad


Eric Romano
Age: 35
Project Architect/Designer
HOK
St. Louis

During school breaks from the University of Michigan, Eric Romano did internships with large and small firms, helping him realize that his combined engineering and architecture education was better suited to a large multidisciplinary practice that knew how to use his talents. Romano has worked at HOK since graduation, and he praises the firm's ongoing appreciation of his skills and support of his desire to grow as a practitioner.

Romano notes that at HOK, opportunities come to those who can think clearly and can communicate their intent quickly and effectively. Romano's personal definiton of success is different today than it was at school, when it meant being published. “Today,” he says, “success means being able to manage your life well, having the respect of your peers and clients that come back for more, and meeting your financial goals.”

Credit: Peter Rad


Sharon Puczynski
Age: 27
Intern Architect/Director of Business Development
Morter Architects
Vail, Colo.

Sharon Puczynski chose to study architecture because, from an early age, she was enamored with the beauty of building. After graduating from the University of Colorado's architecture program, however, stints with a small residential practice and a hospitality firm made her realize that her strengths were management and business. Puczynski picked up and enrolled in an MBA program at the University of Denver. For her, the MBA fills the gaps for a career path “beyond the boards.”

The advantages of this multidisciplinary education are already evident in Puczynski's current job at Morter Architects, where her responsibilities include marketing and human resource management. Still, there are times her ambition feels out of sync with architects her age, who very much want what she describes as “straight” architectural careers that focus more narrowly on building form. How does Puczynski define success? “A happy client: It's good for business.”

Credit: Peter Rad