EQUITY . DIVERSITY . INCLUSION: Associate AIA Angelica Arent Continues to Challenge Herself As She Reaches Towards Licensure

September 10, 2019

EQUITY . DIVERSITY . INCLUSION: Associate AIA Angelica Arent Continues to Challenge Herself As She Reaches Towards Licensure

 

In 2016, my boss approached me to lead the South Beach project at Long Branch, NJ. I knew it was going to be a challenge; I just didn’t know how much of a challenge it would be.

 

Without being allowed to make any modifications to the approved design footprint of the (2) 8-story tower condominium project, our job was to bring to reality the vision of the client and to find the answers to many undeveloped thoughts.

“Rendering of South Beach at Long Branch, a luxury beachfront condominium at Long Branch” 

(FEM South Beach Urban Renewal)

 

 

The difficult and out of the norm design, required many creative solutions that more than once weren’t well received coming from a woman. I have had to contend with dismissive behavior a few times during this project however through determination, perseverance and the validation by my male boss I have been able to overcome these situations. 

 

As the project manager of a design-built project I have faced many challenges at every one of the phases during design development and at every single milestone achieved so far during construction.  Team work has been particularly important given the level of complexity of the building. 

 

The building’s angled geometry responds to the ocean front views. The poured concrete angled superstructure sits on an orthogonal column steel grid system causing the columns to shift from floor to floor. 

Much like the skeleton of the building, no interior floor is exactly the same. Unlike many residential towers with repetitive floors and layouts, each unit is different from the one above and below. This presented many challenges and required hours of close collaboration and exchange of ideas with the team during design development and construction.

“Rendering of South Beach at Long Branch, a luxury beachfront condominium at Long Branch” 

(FEM South Beach Urban Renewal)

 

During construction the client requested multiple modifications to the building to better respond to the real estate market needs. We knew these modifications could pose a major impact to the construction schedule but I was responsible to make this happen. I had many days and nights under a lot of pressure to meet a very aggressive deadline that required many work sessions with the construction team.  During this phase the biggest challenge was to find the balance between work and family life. I am fortunate to have a flexible schedule and a helpful network of family and friends. 

“South Beach at Long Branch during construction” (Photography by Angelica Arent at Shore Point Architecture)

 

Perhaps what I like the most about the South Beach project is that it has always pushed boundaries in many ways. A project that was perceived by many as unbuildable due to its complexity moved beyond the design phase and has been transformed into reality.  This has been possible due to the team’s determination, fierce dynamism and collaboration of ideas. South Beach has been a truly proud collaboration effort.

“South Beach at Long Branch during construction” (Photography by Frank Marra at Cornerstone Construction)

 

This year the project was recognized and celebrated when it received a merit award from New Jersey Concrete Association. It was an honor to be part of the article featuring this deserved award.

https://njbiz.com/south-beach-long-branch-wins-top-new-jersey-concrete-award/

 

Today the project is nearing completion and it has provided me with major satisfaction in my career. The most rewarding thing is the collaboration and working with an extremely committed team that has gone above and beyond. It has been a contending experience with many lessons learned. Having the opportunity to lead this one of a kind project has given me the chance to further develop my leadership skills, to build relationships, and to learn from incredible professionals.  I have realized how much it is possible for a strong Hispanic woman to achieve in a man’s field and how much more ground women have left to cover. 

“South Beach at Long Branch nearing completion” (Photography by Angelica Arent at Shore Point Architecture)

Angelica Arent, Associate AIA, works at Shore Point Architecture. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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