Karissa Pytlak, Assoc. AIA

Meet the outgoing YAF president

By Posted on December 10, 2013

w-dossier-karissa-newName: Karissa Pytlak, Assoc. AIA
Firm: Sleighter Engineering
Years in practice: 2
Education: BA: Art History/Architectural History, University of Pittsburgh; Masters of Architecture, North Carolina State University
Your first job: Cashier at my grandma’s bookstore.
What’s the best part of your job? Freehand sketching and 3D rendering.
What would you change about your job? Location – I want to work downtown.
What’s the most annoying thing architects do? Architects are design snobs; sometimes a little overly critical of each other’s designs when we should be complimenting and working together.
What’s the next big architectural trend? Sustainability and collaboration.
Advice to young architects: Join the YAF! It’s a great starting point to get involved in the local community and connect with fellow architects in your area.
The one thing you wish they’d teach you in school: More of the business side of working in an office.
Favorite tool (can be digital, drafting, physical,…): ‘Undo’ command in any program, but especially in AutoCad.
Favorite building: Seattle Public Library
Favorite indoor space: First floor in the Cathedral of Learning; it’s like stepping back in time and a great place to curl up to read a book (or study when I was at Pitt).
Favorite city: NYC
Architect you’d like to have a drink with: Tom Kundig, FAIA
Favorite architecture book: Delirious New York, by Rem Koolhaas
Favorite Pgh neighborhood: Lawrenceville
Wish list for downtown Pittsburgh: More affordable housing!
Building you’d like to tear down: Any of the unused dilapidated buildings around the city.  If their usefulness has been fulfilled, there’s no reason that they should be taking up space that can be utilized to create a better urban space in the city.
Building you’d like to renovate into something else and why? Allegheny County Jail – prime real estate downtown that could be used for more downtown housing.
Best gift to give an architect: Plane tickets
If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you have been? Art history professor or museum curator.
Where you live in Pittsburgh and why you think it’s great? Swissvale… it’s okay for now…
If you could live anywhere in the world, where? NYC, for at least one year.
Someday I’d like to: Explore China.
The secret to my success: Never giving up, no matter how impossible or tiring it seems to get.
Something you’d like to learn how to build with your own hands: I’d like to learn how to make pottery.  It’s messy, yet creative, and you get something useful in the end!
What’s on your iPod/Pandora/Spotify? Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Thrice, Radiohead, Florence and the Machine, Portishead…little bits of everything, depending on my mood.
Favorite Kennywood ride: The Jackrabbit…Gotta love that double dip, and hoping you don’t bounce out!
I belong to the AIA because: The opportunities I gain in collaboration, learning, and networking with other architects.

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