My Story – Britney WeiserBritney Weiser
My Story – Britney Weiser
By Britney Weiser
There was never a single moment that moved me towards architecture; it was more so a series of fortunate events. Ever since I was a kid, I always loved to draw and create works of art. I had the opportunity to take ‘Saturday Morning Art Classes’, classes through the University of Illinois that were specifically for children. These classes provided a broad foundation in various art mediums, and they helped me realize that the act of creating would be important to me for the rest of my life. Initially, I thought of creating in more of a ‘fine art’ perspective until I had the realization in high school that maybe I should explore some other avenues before committing to that path. This new focus inspired me to look into the design professions, and both interior design and graphic design appealed to me. As part of the University’s Saturday Morning Art School, I took a computer graphics course that taught me the basics of Adobe software. I enjoyed it, but something was still missing. I wanted to make functional art, something you hold, touch, and admire, but I wanted it to be bigger than a clay pot, so I turned my attention to interior design. I approached a local interior design firm, where I landed my first internship while still in high school. To this day, I’m not sure how I landed the position; maybe it was the bravado of just walking through the door or simply the interest I showed as a young person wanting to observe, and learn what they did. During this time, I also enrolled in an evening course at the local community college to explore using AutoCAD, given that it wasn’t available at my high school. All of these experiences led me to decide to pursue a career in the built environment. When I graduated high school, the strong program and the scholarships I received led me to attend K-State. I ended up going into architecture instead of interior design because I wanted to “do it all.” Simply put, I’m glad I did. In the end, this helped me become a more well-rounded professional.
During the first years of my professional career, I had an incredible mentor. One memory that stays with me to this day is when I was drafting a detail of a window sill, and he asked me, ‘How would the contractor build this?’ This question started a conversation about the order of the materials and the process of building the sill. This was the pivotal moment that the lines on the page came alive. We need to remember that someone will be building this, so we need to consider practical limitations, such as “Can the contractor fit the screwdriver there?” To this day I continue to think about the drawings’ relationship to construction, all the way from Schematic Design to detailing the more nuanced features as the project is built.
I distinctly remember when I finished up my first large project. It was a brand new elementary school, which was a significant upgrade from their previous building. I was doing the 11-month walkthrough, and there was this cork board up with notes of thanks from the students expressing how much they loved their new school. This expression was heartwarming and genuinely solidified in my mind that I am meant to create buildings that better others’ lives. Here at DRAW, we focus on Positive Impact Design, which aligns deeply with my personal purpose of creating buildings that better others’ lives. My continued goal is to consistently work on projects that add value to our communities and create artfully functional designs.