Name: Monica Blasko, AIA
Family: Husband- Matt; Furkid- Axel
Years in practice: 6
Education: Master of Architecture from Pratt Institute; Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati
Your first job: Farmers’ market cashier– duties included quickly making change without the use of a cash register or calculator (a great life skill) and expert veggie and fruit display making, which came in handy at my next job as a Sheetz “sandwich artist.”
Project you’re proudest of: The eternally in-progress renovations to our 1890s row house in Lawrenceville.
What have you always wanted to tell your clients? This is not HGTV.
What’s the most annoying thing architects do? Us architects tend to flock together, so I tend to piggyback on my friend’s AIGA events to see what other designers are up to in our city and gain a broader perspective.
Favorite building: Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar Aalto– from the site plan to the washbasins to the lounge chairs designed for easy breathing– every detail focused on building’s mission of tuberculosis patient recovery.
Favorite outdoor space: Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand– the most humbling experience I’ve ever had was standing in front of this glacier, melting at an accelerated rate, and seeing first-hand how fragile our planet is.
Favorite design book: The Death and Life of Great American Cities – Jane Jacobs
Architect you’d like to have a drink with: In a dreamworld, I would double date with Charles and Ray Eames. #powercouple
Best gift to give an architect: This architect would appreciate a lifetime supply of coffee, and I’m sure 9 out of 10 architects would agree.
If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you have been? My mom may have forced my hand at a civil engineering career (like her) had I not picked the next best thing…
If you could live anywhere in the world, where? Wellington, New Zealand for the top-notch design community and its close proximity to the country’s otherworldly wilderness.
What’s on your iPod/Pandora/Spotify? Every week I look forward to Spotify’s curated #ThrowbackThursday playlist for a new theme of music ranging from classic rock to 90s pop to women who rock.
The secret to my success: Balance. Architecture is a lifestyle, but it’s not my life. Family, friends, traveling, running, yoga, and a good night out keep me fulfilled, inspired, and motivated.
Someday I’d like to: Visit the completed Sagrada Familia (and be in even more awe than the first time).
What is your dream home? Step 1) Play lottery; Step 2) Win lottery; Step 3) Restore an Eichler home in Palm Springs.
Advice to young architects: Ask questions, listen, and have an open mind.
Architectural quote to practice by: Applied to more than just cities, this quote by Jane Jacobs: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
Connect: @state_of_mon on Instagram to follow my architecture, nature, and food (and drink) adventures in Pittsburgh and beyond.
Monica in New Zealand