Designer Q & A: Lauren Shumate, AIA

Contributor: Margaret Hancock

How did you come to architecture as a profession?

As an undergrad, I began studying historic preservation at a small liberal arts school. I quickly realized that my personal interest in the built environment was not just about researching, but about designing. So, I transferred to the University of Virginia and switched my academic focus to architecture — and loved every minute of it. After graduation, I worked for an architecture firm in Philadelphia for several years before returning to UVA for graduate school.

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Designer Q & A: Simone Saidel, AIA

Contributor: Margaret Hancock

You are currently designing corporate interiors. What excites you about this niche and working with corporate clients?

Last year, I shifted to my current firm OPX from a small local firm in Alexandria. This is an exciting transition for me because in addition to a more distinct focus on corporate spaces, my portfolio is now at a national level with clients throughout America. It is invigorating as an architect and a self-identified “people person” to travel and meet with different individuals, and it is rewarding to help a company and its constituents transition into a new phase. 

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Designer Q & A: Thom White, AIA

Contributor: Margaret Hancock

What was your personal path to becoming an architect?

Accounts from my mom say that I wanted to be an architect early on. When visiting Virginia Tech, I fell in love with the architecture school and in my fourth year, had the good fortune of interning in Europe. That internship proved a formative experience for me as I spent six months in Berlin working alongside two Tech grads as they operated their international office.

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