For architecture student and MAF scholarship winner Jake Stuck, creativity is genetic, and pursuing architecture was a way to turn his passion for design into a career. “My family is artistic; my dad is an art teacher and all of my siblings are very creative people,” said Jake. “I always knew I would be miserable if I wasn’t able to create or design in some capacity. As I approached the end of high school, I examined potential career paths and determined that architecture checked most of my boxes.”
Jake, who is a second year Master of Architecture student at Lawrence Technological University, received MAF’s 2021 Leslie D. Tincknell Scholarship. He was awarded the scholarship for his strong leadership in both AIA and AIAS (American Institute of Architects students) and involvement in community activities, as well as his strong design portfolio.
Jake also is a proud associate member of AIA Grand Rapids (where he currently lives and works). “For me, these organizations represent a collection of people who truly value the power of teamwork, particularly when applied to a cause,” said Jake. “Me and my fellow AIA Grand Rapids associate members have formed a group for peers and younger members, with the goal of providing a strong support system for the next leaders and problem-solvers.”
As a nod to his design creativity, not only did Jake include his architectural student and professional work samples in the portfolio required as part of the scholarship application, he also included examples of his hobby work. “I experiment with science fiction visual effects modeling and animation, and shared examples of some of my hand drawing, including various spacecraft,” said Jake. It usually draws interesting comments from reviewers.”
In his current position at Paradigm Design in Grand Rapids, Jake works primarily on commercial architecture projects such as family entertainment centers. “Commercial projects provide a lot of room for experimentation, which I really enjoy,” said Jake. “However, my dream project would probably be a grand public library or another building that provides public value. My favorite works of architecture – The Apollo Montessori and Willemspark School in Amsterdam by Herman Hertzberger – are examples of a more humanist approach to architecture that I constantly find myself returning to for inspiration, no matter the project type I’m working on.”
How does Jake believe architecture, and architects, can enrich life? “The thing I love most about architecture as both a career and as a physical product is the scalability. An architect could make a positive impact by simply designing a small bus stop which responds to the unique needs of a neighborhood. As well, architects can and should be involved in major urban planning decisions with the potential to positively impact thousands of lives. Both are valid and needed!
Jake continues, “I think an architect’s most important role is to distill his or her complex understanding of the world in order to educate people, especially those in power, about pressing issues which can be solved, or at least mitigated, with thoughtful design.”
Photos (from top): Studying abroad in Paris; one of Jake’s LTU studio projects; one of his hobby drawings; Jake’s favorite architecture, the Apollo Montessori and Willemspark School by Herman Hertzberger.