Julie Polletta, AIA, Treasurer
Radelet McCarthy Polletta, Inc.
Summer reading list: Cats Table by Michael Ondaatje, The World at Night by Alan Furst, Anarchi Feng Shui – How to Create Profane and Chaotic Spaces by Penny Chu, and Mario and the Magician by Thomas Mann.
Favorite food: Just about anything. Pig done just about any way.
Mantra: Find your intension.
Time is valuable, why AIA? The AIA is the architectural community’s center – the intellectual core and heart. To be part of the AIA is to be a citizen of the built environment. Most significant lesson learned: The words we use are important – they truly mean something and carry weight. They should be used wisely. Favorite food: Sandwiches. Almost any type of sandwich. Mantra: Just keep swimming.
Best way to overcome a creative block: Embrace ambiguity. Time is valuable, why AIA? I can accomplish more for our profession with my colleagues than I can individually. Most significant lesson learned: There are no absolutes. Mantra: When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Best way to overcome a creative block: Find the right music, something that will focus and distract you in equal measures. Time is valuable, why AIA? I would like to improve the profession for the next generation of architects in the long term. I am rewarded in the short term by valuable connections and friends. Favorite Pittsburgh space: This might be cheating, but the bike trails and bike lanes have made it possible for me to explore pittsburgh and to find and visit new spaces. Favorite food: I’ve been making a lot of curry. It’s a healthy, delicious way to use up questionable vegetables.
Best way to overcome a creative block: Take a stroll or a hike. However, that’s not always feasible during the workday, so I’ll strike a conversation with a colleague or call a loved one to get my mind distracted. I’ve also dreamt of solutions before. It’s a random occurrence and, yet, some of the best ones I’ve ever had. Time is valuable, why AIA: You get what you give. I find my involvement with the AIA community gratifying, because I’m always learning something new or meeting someone new. Favorite Pittsburgh space: There are many, but I am fortunate that I walk to work from the Northside. I stroll across the Rachel Carson Street Bridge, and I love stopping to admire the cityscape and riverscape, no matter the time of day, weather, or season. Summer reading list: ‘Getting to Yes’ by William Ury and Roger Fisher, and half-finished an issue of the Harvard Business Review
Best way to overcome a creative block: By forcing myself to step away from the problem and focusing on something else. The answer usually comes to me when I’m not actively thinking about it. Time is valuable, why AIA? I truly believe that we can accomplish more by working together than we can individually. Favorite Pittsburgh space: The atrium at the center of theUnion Trust Building. That view will never get old. Most significant lesson learned: Being perfect doesn’t always mean you’ll be right. Being right doesn’t always mean you have to be perfect. Favorite food: I will eat almost anything. Except bananas. (I hate bananas!) Summer reading list: You’ve got to be kidding me. Mantra: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
Most significant lesson learned: Communication is essential to succeeding at your goals, whether the goal is to create a significant piece of architecture or negotiate with your child. This is a skill that is learned through experience. If only they could teach it to us in school, we could get a head start on things as we enter the professional world. Listen, ask questions, listen and follow through. Time is valuable, why AIA? The AIA is here to support what we do in our Practice of Architecture. It is essential to our profession to give back. Favorite Pittsburgh places: Fineview Overlook and Market Square. Summer reading list: Born to Run and The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses.
Best way to overcome a creative block: a 10 mile run along the Pittsburgh rivers. (Smaller mileage doesn’t work…)
Time is valuable, why AIA? Because you can connect with more people, in less time, and make a bigger impact.
Most significant lesson learned: Talk less, draw more.
Mantra: “Volere e’ potere” (Your will is your power.)
Best way to overcome a creative block: Get out of your head. Stop trying to make your brain do something and instead move your body. Yoga, cross-country skiing or kayaking tend to work for me. Another way is to cut myself off from all distractions and let my thinking be less cluttered and more expansive for a number of hours – like when walking in the woods or on a long-haul flight. Most significant lesson learned: a. Be ready for what comes up. b. Work with it. c. Be ready to let it go. Favorite food: Oysters (followed by ice cream) Summer reading list: Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain (fascinating), Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson, United by Corey Booker, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Mantra? “Less is more!”
Best way to overcome a creative block: Swimming.
Favorite Pittsburgh space: PNC Park.
Most Significant lesson learned: Be Confident. Be persistent.
Mantra: Every day is the best day!