Q+A with Lauren Kottis, Project Architect
How do you describe your job to people outside of the industry?
I emphasize that architecture is a long and wide-ranging process, and my job varies a lot at different points along the way. It can be as big as telling a story, or as small as fitting two puzzle pieces together. It’s dreaming, empathizing, communicating, prototyping, problem-solving, choreographing, experimenting, and always learning.
Why did you decide to become an architect?
Because my favorite school subjects were math and art, architecture was something suggested to me from a young age. But I started really considering it when I got older and discovered I had a passion for work with tangible results, and a knack for thinking in three dimensions. In college I studied engineering, but I graduated during the recession, and entry-level engineering jobs were very hard to come by. It ended up being the push I needed to enroll in graduate school to pursue my dream of becoming an architect.
How would you describe life at Ghafari?
Life at Ghafari is dynamic and stimulating. We get to work with a variety of clients with unique needs, so there are always new challenges to be met. I am constantly motivated by our talented and diverse coworkers around the country and world, who are all dedicated to the common goal of producing quality spaces.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened during your time here?
Learning about the manufacturing and aviation industries has definitely been one of the most exciting things. For example, when I started this job, I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about airports! So learning one acronym, regulation, and construction detail at a time and slowly fostering a deep appreciation for the complexities of an airport has been very satisfying.
What is a key idea or lesson you have learned while working at Ghafari?
With many of us working at home now and being unable to enjoy social events together, I’ve learned to look for joy in the smaller day-to-day interactions – being able to help or receive help from a coworker, taking time to appreciate each other and marvel at the work we’ve done together. It’s an attitude I hope to hang on to even when we return to some sort of normal.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love learning how to make or craft things, and almost always have some sort of new DIY project in the works – right now it happens to be creating a big macramé wall hanging to fill a blank wall in my home. I also enjoy practicing yoga, cooking and eating good food, and continually exploring Chicago.