Name: Jen Bee
Firm: Jen Bee Design, LLC
Family: Husband Mark Paczan, and a son, 4 years old
Years in practice: 12
Education: Hofstra University (freshman year), Art Major; James Madison University, Bachelors of Science in Art, Interior Design Concentration; Virginia Tech, Masters of Architecture
Your first job: First architecture job- Balance Associates, Seattle Washington; first job ever – Wendy’s drive through window and salad bar, Greensburg PA
Project you are proudest of: Any project that I’ve completed since I’ve had my own practice- I’m still amazed and thankful for each project that comes my way.
Most embarrassing moment: About 7 or 8 year ago I was attending a construction meeting with about 15 attendees and one of the subcontractors referred to a portion of the work that was giving them problems as the “redheaded stepchild.” Nice, eh?
Building you would like to tear down: The concrete block garage directly in front of our house.
What is the best part of your job: Autonomy (having my own practice)
What would you change about your job: My office space- I’d love to have more room and a conference table.
What is the next big architectural trend: In restaurants specifically, patrons are realizing the importance that design plays in the dining experience. I forsee increased coordination of natural and artificial lighting, mechanical systems, finishes, custom furniture, control of patron and employee traffic flow, and interior views. This fine-tuned coordination will create a multi-sensory experience that goes beyond the taste and presentation of the food on the plate.
Code/zoning requirement I would change if given the chance: Section 403 of Article VX of the Allegheny County Health Department’s Rules and Regulations for Plumbing and Building Drainage. (Minimum required plumbing fixtures – Grrrrrr!!!)
Favorite tool (can be digital, drafting, physical, etc): WATER. It’s a great conductor of heat, cooling agent, solvent, cleaning agent, prime element in tools like wet sanders and pressure washers, has unique uses in each of its physical states.
Favorite building: It was really a ruin so don’t know if this counts. I came upon an old stone church in New Mexico that had no roof, door or windows. The floor was dirt and some of the walls had worn away at the tops. Nothing else was around and you could hear the wind blow through the holes where the windows and door once were. I swear that building was alive.
Favorite outdoor space: The churchyard behind the Unitarian Church on Archdale Street in Charleston, S.C.
Favorite Kennywood ride: The Whip and the Log Jammer
Architect you would like to have a drink with: Buckminster Fuller, Amelio Ambasz, or Luis Barragan
Wish list for downtown Pittsburgh:
1. No vacant buildings, storefronts, or properties
2. Maximized connection to the rivers
3. Active streets and sidewalks beyond the nine-to-five workday
If you had not become an architect, what would you have been: On the road living in an RV, traveling to juried art fairs to sell silk paintings, watercolors, and stained glass pieces.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where: Here in the greater Pittsburgh area but I’d prefer to bring the beach about 4 hours closer and remove about 50 days of grey sky per year.
People would be surprised to know that: I once shot a pretty mean stick, but only in dive bars with beat up pool tables.
What’s on your iPod/Pandora: Current Pandora channels: Simon and Garfunkel Radio, Alanis Morrisette Radio, Funkadelic, George Clinton and Parliament Radio, Worldbeat
I belong to the AIA because: I became a part of the AIA because my previous employers valued the AIA and supported their employees by paying for AIA membership. I continue my AIA membership because of the unequaled professional support I received from AIA Pittsburgh over the several months after I was laid off in 2009. At the toughest time in my professional life (no sugar coating here), the lunch sessions provided by AIA Pittsburgh introduced me to many other architects in the area, helped me take full advantage of this life-changing experience, and kept me connected to the profession. They say that you always remember the folks who are there for you at the most difficult times… Now that I’m back on track and involved in my own architectural practice, I continue to benefit from the efforts of our professional organization on a daily basis. So for me it’s not a question, it’s just something I do.
Name: Jen Bee