Young Architects’ Explorations

Members Find Their Groove During COVID-19

By Anastasia Markiw, AIA Posted on October 16, 2020

Last night, YAF hosted its capstone pandemic event: YAF Explorations. In lieu of our yearly YAFapalooza social event, we hosted a virtual exchange of new ideas and pandemic activities by 8 young architects. Each presenter gave a short presentation followed by a discussion amongst peers. Jason Andrews, Assoc. AIA was the event champion and moderator for the evening.

Anastasia Markiw, AIA presented her thesis for her Master of Healthcare Design, exploring the intersections between lighting design and healthcare architecture. By building a full-size patient room and testing a lighting system prototype, she proved that lighting could improve the lives of healthcare occupants.

Bea Spolidoro, AIA explained how she is using her time to promote good design and the impacts of architecture in a public setting to non-architects through a series of creative posts and articles. She stated that architects cannot overlook the fact that we live in a real, solid world, which if poorly designed, will fail us and the next generations.

Oyuki Thomas recently moved to the Pittsburgh area and was looking for a way to stay warm during the winter other than drinking coffee. She explored how architecture and design can bleed into other passion projects. With a connection to a Mexican tea factory and knowledge of Mayan culture, she created “Ki Tea”. She created a brand and designed the label, website, and packaging.

Parva Markiw, AIA presented her future contemporary home design and walked everyone through the planning and design process. After many studies, including façade sketches and a site/solar study, she is beginning to bring her vision to life through the use of computer software and renderings.

Peter Harjung, AIA started a new hobby of painting and modeling miniatures and terrain. He explained how the design process could also be expressed through creative hobbies. By exercising our skills in a free environment, he said, we can become better designers and problem solvers.

Selena Zhen recently graduated from CMU in May 2020. With the effects that the pandemic has on the job market, she took her knowledge of textiles and clothing design and her interest in the reuse of textiles to launch an Etsy store – Craft and Seam. Selena launched a mask donation initiative, where 100% of the proceeds of each purchase of masks are sent to an organization/NPO of the buyer’s choice. She has donated over $1600 and sent out over 360 masks.

Victoria Yong, Assoc. AIA always wanted to crochet a temperature blanket. She wanted to capture the unpredictability of Pittsburgh’s daily temperatures in a project that could also keep her warm during the winter. Each panel represents the day’s high and low temperatures, and the effects of climate change can be visibly seen in comparison to past blankets. It is an artistic way of representing climate data and to memorialize 2020.

Walt Haim, Assoc. AIA explored the opportunities and challenges of nomadic remote work as he took us through a sketching tour of his travels through Colorado. As the pandemic has opened new opportunities for remote work, Walt began to explore the possibilities of choosing a destination to temporarily live and work.

It was an energizing evening filled with new ideas. YAF is extremely proud of all the projects the young architects presented and how their efforts are shaping the design field.

Sad you missed it? Check out the presentation here and recording of the evening here.

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