Emily Putas, AIA, LEED AP

She hopes to be remembered as a problem solver

By Posted on September 18, 2013

w-landing-emilyName: Emily Putas, AIA, LEED AP
Firm: Stantec
Family: Workin’ on it…
Years in practice: 9
Education: BArch from Syracuse University
Your first job: Clerk at CVS
Project you’re proudest of: The Academic Building for Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
What’s the best part of your job? Seeing how the work I do can change the lives of the people in my community.
What have you always wanted to tell your clients? There is a first time for everything, so just because I haven’t done it before doesn’t mean I won’t be able to.  As an architect, I’m a problem solver – it’s about how I will solve the problem, not whether or not I’ve solved it before.
What’s the most annoying thing architects do? We tend to be control freaks.  Someone needs to take control because how else do you maintain highly collaborative teams and processes without someone at the helm?
What’s the next big architectural trend? Evidence Based Design.  Our earth and economy are running out of patience for design for design’s sake.
Advice to young architects: Restroom layouts and coordination are not to be scoffed at – they often have the chance to make or break an overall building design.
Code/zoning requirement I’d change if given the chance: The location of toilet paper rolls in ADA restrooms.  The size of those things makes them hard to reach below the grab bar, even for able-bodied people!  I’d make the requirement set to where you actually grab the paper.
Architectural quote to practice by: The original statement of form follows function: “Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law… It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.” –Louis Sullivan
Building you’d like to renovate into something else and why? The Pentagon.  Have you ever been off the main tour?  Some of those corridors and other spaces can be experientially brutal.  Everyone deserves a pleasant work environment.
Building you’d like to tear down: Any building that is not being used, can’t be reused, and carries no historic or sentimental value.  Nature will take these buildings back in time, but I would rather give the land back to nature or some other better use.
Favorite outdoor space: The National Mall
Favorite indoor space: There was a small catholic church we encountered on our travels in Italy.  Large asymmetrical concrete arches supported an unadorned, simply sculptural white space with north facing clearstory windows.  It was sublime in its simplicity – a space that made me wish I believed.  And dang if I can’t remember its name or the town it was in, but I remember what it looked like and how it made me feel, and that’s probably more impressive than anything.
Favorite city: Pittsburgh – seriously, this place is great.
Architect you’d like to have a drink with: Louis Sullivan
Best gift to give an architect: An ergonomic desk chair.
If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you have been? Music teacher or opera singer.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where?  Of all the places I’ve lived, Pittsburgh has been my favorite.
Someday I’d like to: Climb a pyramid.
I want to be remembered for: Bringing people together to solve problems.
People would be surprised to know that: I have an identical twin.
The secret to my success: My ability to see things from the perspective of others and my ability to learn new skills.
I belong to the AIA because: I want to play a role in my local design community and network with other designers.


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