Cassidy Roberts, Associate AIA, EDAC, is a recent graduate from Clemson University where she earned her Master’s of Architecture + Health. Prior to obtaining her professional degree, she graduated from West Virginia University with her Bachelor’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering. She currently is employed as a Project Designer for IKM Incorporated in Pittsburgh, PA, where she works on both small and large scale healthcare projects. Her areas of interest within the field include medical planning, sustainable design, human-centered design, and healthy building. As she progresses in her career, Cassidy hopes to bridge the gap between architectural practice and research through evidence-based design and benchmarking. She is eager to become licensed and advocate for buildings that promote both healing and well-building.
What sparked your interest in becoming an architect? My path to architecture was unconventional. I was inspired to pursue architecture from volunteering and shadowing doctors at my undergraduate university’s hospital. Seeing how spaces impacted patients and doctors alike was transformative, as the built environment impacted processes and throughput as well as the quality of one’s experience as a patient or staff member. I found that I love the complexity of healthcare and the challenge of creating or redesigning spaces for individuals who may be in delicate phases of life.
Why is licensure important to you? Becoming licensed will signify that I understand laws, building codes, and proper building practices which will ensure that all structures I design will protect the health, safety, and welfare of building occupants. Architects have a duty to the public to verify that everything we create is for the betterment of the world. The licensure process and studying for the AREs will guarantee I understand how buildings should be safely designed.
What architecture blog, website, or source of inspiration do you regularly follow? I enjoy following architecture firms and architects on Instagram, like Snohetta, Bjarke Ingels, and Herzog & de Meuron to name a few. To draw inspiration, I also like to peruse Pinterest.
What is the one building that you just had to see for yourself or would one day like to see in person? I would like to visit Under in Norway, any of the impressive bamboo buildings in Bali, Rehab Basel in Switzerland, or the New North Zealand Hospital in Denmark (upon its completion).
What role has mentorship played in your professional development so far? Any advice for those looking to get the most out of their mentorship opportunities? I feel fortunate to have mentors who have helped me form careers goals and provide professional guidance based on their own careers. I am grateful to have a wonderful AXP mentor through my firm as well as informal mentors who share my interests in healthcare design. This past year, I participated in a Pittsburgh AIA PALM group and also gained advice and insight from four knowledgeable local architects who had vastly different career paths. My advice to others, especially those seeking licensure, would be to ask questions when you’re uncertain or when you find that you share interests with others in your field and participate in PALM if the opportunity arises.