Long hours, creative projects: The life of an architecture student

A student diligently works on an architecture design project late into the night in Seaton Hall. (Archive photo by George Walker | Collegian Media Group)

Seaton Hall, while quiet and inconspicuous from the outside, is full of students hard at work designing, creating and constructing. The cluttered but seemingly organized studios are where architecture students can be found in the late hours of the night.

Matthew McGuire, junior in architecture, huddles with group members around drawings and a wooden model of a beam, working out calculations.

McGuire found his passion for architecture at age eight when he started playing with LEGO sets. A particular LEGO set he built pinpointed the exact moment he wanted to be an architect.

“LEGO had this set of black box architecture, like special building projects, and I think the first one I got was Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Fallingwater,'” he said. “After I finished that, just seeing how everything could pull apart and you could analyze the structure of it, I knew I wanted to be an architect.”

McGuire will not be able to make the five-hour drive to Bentonville, Arkansas, to see his family for Thanksgiving break as he has to stay in Manhattan and work on his project.

“I kind of knew that it would happen,” McGuire said. “So I’ve been able to prepare myself for a month, but it sucks. The other day I was talking to my mom and was like, ‘I probably won’t be able to come up for Thanksgiving break,’ and she like kind of teared up and turned away from me.”

A typical day for McGuire is long — filled with class and many hours of studio and group projects.

“If I would’ve woken up on time today, I would have been up at 7:30, would have gotten breakfast and gone to one lecture that gets out at like 11:30 a.m,” McGuire said.

After lecture, he said he spends most of the day at studio, grabs lunch at Radina’s and works. When the afternoon is winding down and turning into the evening, McGuire goes home.

“I’ll go home, have dinner, maybe take an hour-long nap or break, then I try to be in studio till at least midnight,” he said. “That’s how/when I feel accomplished.”

When McGuire is home, he sometimes sees his roommate, Matthew Henigsman, junior in interior architecture and product design. Both Mcguire and Henigsman are busy with their projects when they find time to hang out with each other and cook.

“We just sit around and talk, watching a TV show,” Henigsman said. “We occasionally take like, we get a group of friends together and take a trip. We went to Kansas City earlier this year for a day just to hang out, do some antiquing and whatnot.”

Henigsman described their relationship as them being different from each other, although he enjoys McGuire’s company when they hangout.

“He likes to go out on the weekends, I like to stay in and just watch a few shows with my friends,” he said.

“He just gives really good counsel, whether it’s with architecture projects or just, you know, organizing my life for figuring out what I might want to do next, you know as a project or an interest,” Henigsman said.

Back in studio, two members of the group project, Christian Lee, junior in general architecture, and Annie Lomshek, junior in general architecture, spoke about their group dynamic.

“Me and Matt work well together,” Lee said. “I think we’re very like-minded people. We have the same humor, and we can just kind of go back and forth, and I think because of that we’ve become very real with each other.”

“We can be very honest, brutally honest with each other,” he continued. “Like, we’re good at communicating in that way.”

Lomshek and Lee said their group meets together to collectively work on their project.

“We try and do almost everything together, we all designed together,” Lomshek said. “We just kind of like to try and play off each other’s strengths.”

It’s not all work all the time in studio. The students find ways to have fun when they take breaks. McGuire recalled one instance in particular.

“I literally just stood up on my chair and screamed to everyone in my studio that we’re taking a break, and so we all just stopped working and had a little dance party for like 10 minutes,” Mcguire said.