February 17, 2019
As a young child, I didn’t have a clear appreciation of the role of “architect” nor “architecture” in society. These were abstract concepts to me, simply because my built environment came to be by “construction workers” and “builders”.
After years as a science major, studying Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst eventually became the natural fit for me, after all, I come from a lively family of artists and creatives. The first year of the program involved a rotation through varied concentrations, however, as the daughter of an artist and an engineer, architecture it seemed, was the clear and natural path down which I would go.
I knew my fate was sealed when I was invited by my professor, Sigrid Miller Pollin, to complete a summer internship at her firm. When I entered her office for the first time, I did my best to hide my overwhelming emotion as I saw the large foam core displays of her work hung in her office. I will forever credit Sigrid, a female sole practitioner, for the personal gratification I appreciate today. I would later graduate with honors from UMass followed by a Master of Architecture from Northeastern University, Boston.
My continued formation took me to internships in the New York metropolitan area, among other places, but none as impactful as my tenure completed in Colorado and Egypt with the NGO Engineering Ministries International. Our team of architects, interns, structural and civil engineers met with the client in Egypt to develop a plan for a community center to be built there. This experience shaped my deep interest in humanitarian and international practice.
Today, I am consulting in Costa Rica, collaborating with Catalan architect Joan Puigcorbé. My studio collaborates to design, develop and build single family homes, condominiums, restaurants and so forth. During the summers, I am invited by Pritzker Prize winning RCR Arquitectes to tutor with them at their annual LABA International Architectural Workshop in Northern Spain. The program is open to anyone in the world who is studying, practicing, or simply takes great interest in architecture and the fine arts. Here, as I tutor, I also get to recharge for a month in an atmosphere of pure design, philosophy and thought with some the greatest and recognized minds in the industry from every corner of the globe.
I am proud to be a part of the AIA because it is the recognized and trusted standard for architecture in the United States. It not only provides a support system for practitioners but for potential clients too. When a client sees AIA affiliation, she/he should think “trust, accountability, protection… ”. I want to be a part of that. The path to licensure is particularly important to me as a minority. Since many of us are not represented in the field, I want to be an example for young people who may look like me, especially women and girls. In response to a changing world, the lack of representation also needs to change. I will be that change.
All photos are the property of Maria K. Hawkins, Associate AIA
Please learn more about my work here:
Featured works: www.mkbstudio.com
My full bio here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-k-hawkins-693ba111
By Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA NJ Advocacy Consultant | Posted in Associates, Diversity, EquityInArchitecture, Women in Architecture | Tagged: #AIANational, #AssociateAIA, #BlackHistoryMonth, #BlackHistoryShowcase, #BlueprintforBetter, #Catalan, #Colorado, #CostaRica, #EngineeringMinistriesInternational, #equity, #EquityInArchitecture, #Eqypt, #iLookUp, #Inclusion, #JoanPuigcorbe, #LABAInternationalArchitecturalWorkshop, #MariaKHawkinsAssociateAIA, #NewJersey, #RCR, #RCRArquitectes, #SigridMillerPollin, #Spain, #UMass, #womeninarchitecture, AIA, aianj, BHM, Diversity, WIA | Comments (3)
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