Monday, August 3, 2009

Membership Spotlight: Rebecca L. Boles, AIA

Rebecca L. Boles, AIA, is the Program Director of Interior Design at The University of Texas at Arlington. A registered architect and interior designer, she is a past officer and executive board member of AIA Fort Worth and currently serves on the TSA Publications Committee. Rebecca graduated with M. Arch degrees from Columbia University and UT Arlington. She has a B.S. in Zoology from Texas Tech.

TSA recently caught up with her, and she enthusiastically agreed to answer the questions below and share a few images of student work from SEED/Architecture 2009, a two-week summer program for high school students interested in architecture, hosted by The University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture with instructors Rebecca Boles, Wanda Dye, and Jeff Whatley.

Q & A with Rebecca Boles, AIA:

Who or what inspired you to become an architect?

As an undergraduate at Tech University, I had a battle choosing a major. I graduated as a Zoology major with a year's worth of art basics. After working for a year at UT Southwestern Medical Center in a kidney transplant lab, I decided that a medical career was not in my future, and perhaps architecture was a profession that would appeal to both of my interests, the scientific and the creative. I was hooked by the study of architecture from the first day of graduate school!

My grandfather Edler, who was a contractor in Lubbock, showed me the importance of craftsmanship and a reverence for quality materials. He died before I entered architecture school, but he would be proud to know that I came to admire his skill, precision, and knowledge in building.

What single work of Texas architecture inspires you?

My heart still chooses the Kimbell Art Museum. Even though I have lived in Arlington for the majority of my life, I always feel privileged to experience this building. It delighted me as a youngster, and it continues to instruct me as an architect today.

What's your dream project?

My passion is riding Arabian horses. Recently, I had an opportunity to propose some preliminary design schemes for a new barn for my horse trainer. I had such a great time working on that project, I vowed I would never design for humans again! My dream project would be to blend my knowledge of architecture, interior design, and all things equestrian into a ranch design that would delight both man and beast.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing an architecture career?

My colleagues at UT Arlington are always surprised how few significant works of architecture our students have seen. I advise all lifelong students of architecture to develop a curiosity about the designed environment. Nothing can really take the place of experiencing a building firsthand.

What's the best place you've ever visited and why?

The temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia create the most awe-inspiring place I have visited yet. The temples have both ancient and modern importance, both as a place for continued worship since the 12th century and for displaying the extent of the destruction of the Pol Pot regime in the 1970s. Many of the temple compounds in this region have such amazing tree growth covering them that it's impossible to determine which has the most influence, nature or the intricacy of the stone architecture. Angkor Wat is a real testament to the enduring grandeur of nature and to the building achievements of man.

What new skill do you want to learn?

Welding! Metal is always my material of choice.

Check back soon for the next Spotlight.


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