September 28, 2018
My name is Elizabeth Pacheco. I have been practicing Architecture for over 30 years. This seems at times like a very long time and yet I feel like there is so much to learn and discover in this incredible practice.
I am originally from Colombia and the first in my family to earn a college degree. My family, like many immigrant families, came here searching for a better future. The potential for growth in this country was enormous and we learned from our parents that with hard work and dedication we could achieve our dreams. Since I was young I knew that I wanted to be involved in the arts but I wasn’t sure exactly what to study in college. One summer we went back to Colombia and visited relatives in Tibirita, a small town near the capital of Colombia. I was struck by the simplicity and peacefulness of their house. The house consisted of two bedrooms and an open courtyard which included an open kitchen. The house was situated in the mountains and the views were amazing. Life happened in this courtyard. There were conversations, music, cooking and tending to the chickens in this courtyard. I decided that Architecture could be a very exciting field to study. To this day I carry the image of that house & courtyard with me as a reminder of why Architecture is so important to me.
Since graduating from NYIT I have been fortunate to work in several firms, ranging from a 3-person to a 300+ person firm. I am very grateful for the many great bosses and team members that I have worked with and learned from. I have had the chance to work on many projects, including a project in Spain. Although working in a large firm offered many opportunities I decided that working in a small firm on my own would provide me with more freedom and a personal investment that I longed for. I decided to leave my job and join my husband who is also an Architect. He had been practicing Architecture on his own for a few years. Although it was scary at first I realized that I had teamed up with a great partner, having my husband’s/partner’s support has been fundamental for me.
We have been fortunate to have worked on a variety of projects with wonderful clients for the past 15+ years. One of the most rewarding projects to me has been our elementary school work. Working alongside teachers and students has shown me how Architecture can have such a direct impact on so many people.
As I continue practicing Architecture I realize that my heritage has provided me with a unique perspective in my field. Growing up in natural surroundings, near the mountains and coming here in my teens to study and work has given me a love for sustainability that I look to incorporate in my work.
Although I cannot say that I wanted to become an Architect since I was very young, I can say that Architecture has become a major part of my life. I am happy and proud to be a woman from Colombia and practicing Architecture here in the US. Architecture has enriched my outlook on life!
By Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA NJ Advocacy Consultant | Posted in Small Firms, Women in Architecture | Tagged: #HispanicHeritageMonth, #WIA #WomenInArchitecture #Equity #Diversity #Inclusion #AIA #Architecture #Courtyard #Columbia #ElizabethPachecoAIA | Comments (2)
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