Lawrence Technological University (LTU) architecture program senior and MAF scholarship winner Jessica Brethour first thought about becoming an architect while in middle school. “As a kid, I visited places like Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia with my family,” she says. “Along with the historic architecture in both cities, I was impressed with their welcoming and vibrant waterfronts. Those early travels really spoke to me about the importance of architecture and place.” They also influenced what Jessica loves most about the profession of architecture: that architects have an incredible opportunity to shape communities and human experiences.
Jessica was awarded MAF’s 2020 Daniel W. Toshach Scholarship, in recognition of her well-rounded application and portfolio. “My student portfolio features all styles of architecture and building types, such as libraries and museums, and creative exercises including hand drawings and rediscoveries of buildings, including a Marcel Breuer house.” She continues, “I appreciate that LTU’s architecture program is a great mix between both creative and technical, and that I’ve had the opportunity to work on multiple interesting projects.” Jessica also has participated in a number of leadership and community volunteer opportunities while at LTU, including Habitat for Humanity and others through her AIAS (American Institute of Architects Students) chapter.
While Jessica does not have a favorite type of architecture, she appreciates Gothic and Art Nouveau styles, and one of her favorite works of architecture is Victor Horta’s Art Nouveau Tassel House in Brussels, Belgium. She’s also considering a focus on residential design for her architecture career, inspired through her studies and her travels.
“I find it very appealing to be involved in projects that have such a personal connection with clients,” Jessica says. “I would like to work at a residential firm that also offers urban design and landscape design, and think it is important to consider all structures, including housing, as an integrated part of their surroundings. I even took a couple of urban design classes at LTU, which provided valuable insight I can apply in my future client work.”
How does Jessica think architecture improves the quality of life? “From architecture’s features and function, to how it makes you feel, along with the sense of place and community identity it creates, architecture is powerful.”
Photos (l-r): Jessica participating in a critique at LTU; a building rediscovery exercise from Jessica’s portfolio; interior staircase from Victor Horta’s Tassel House, one of Jessica’s favorite works of architecture.