Member Profile | David JaeHyeok Lim, Associate AIA

David JaeHyeok Lim, Associate AIA

David JaeHyeok Lim, Associate AIA, is one of three recipients of the 2022 AIA Pennsylvania Paula Maynes ARE Grant.


David JaeHyeok Lim received his Bachelor of Architecture at Drexel University in 2021. Through Drexel’s challenging yet rewarding 2+4 program, David was able to gain AXP work experience while taking evening classes to complete his professional degree. He loves working as an Architectural Designer at Samuel Gordon Architects in Philadelphia, PA, where he focuses specifically on residential projects in the tri-state area of PA, NY, and NJ.

Born in the fast-paced metropolis of Seoul, Korea and raised in Portland, Oregon, a flourishing city of nature in the Pacific Northwest, David is dedicated to bringing his diverse background into his work and the everyday connections he makes. He is passionate about sustainability and community. In his free time, he loves trying new foods, traveling to different cities, reading about interesting topics, and experiencing life with his dear family and friends.

Q & A

What sparked your interest in becoming an architect?
From a young age, my family and I moved around a bit to different cities for my father’s occupation. Having moved around, I grew to have a deep longing for a stable place to call home. As the time to choose a major came around in high school, I realized that I was a very imaginative student, finding myself daydreaming about different ideas. I decided that I wanted to go in a field where I could see my ideas come into fruition and become a built reality. As I immersed myself in the architecture field at university, I realized that I truly loved the meaningful depth and various opportunities of architecture. Now, I am lucky to have a job with the opportunity to create and design the warmth, character, and stability of a custom home for each of our clients.

What architecture blog, website, or source of inspiration do you regularly follow?
My go-to websites are Archdaily and Dezeen, where I can see the latest development and technologies of the architectural field such as mass timber construction, and also see unique designs from all over the globe. Some of my greatest inspirations lately have come from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, studio_GAON, and Schemata Workshop.

What role has mentorship (mentor/mentee) played in your professional development so far?
Mentorship was truly a defining part of my professional development. First off, our school’s AIAS chapter has a mentor-mentee system where in our freshman year, we were matched with an upperclassman. The two upperclassmen that I was matched with, whom I fondly called my archi-Mentor and GrandMentor, were instrumental in finding the right footing for my development. At times they were friends to rant about the overwhelming course load of our studio classes and at times they were my advisors who reviewed my resumes and portfolios when I felt like it was not good enough. They were the relatable mentors that I could go to ask about what classes to take and how to balance work-life when I felt overwhelmed.

Next, my professors were wonderful mentors who truly cared about the student’s professional development. They were inspiring as they shared their professional experiences in the industry as well as their creative methods of critical thinking. They shared projects and articles relating to our design from studio classes at any time of the day and they were so receptive every time I asked a question. I think the greatest impact that they left me was how they inspired me with their own passions for architecture and educating.

Lastly, my boss was a mentor in the true practice of architecture. In the workplace, he took me to all extents of architecture from site visits, client meetings, trade shows, and different factories to show how each part works as a whole. Through him, I saw in practice how the architectural business is run, how to design with intention, and how the smallest details are factored in for the client. After each project was completed, the families would walk around in amazement to see that each room was accustomed to their specific needs and suited to the natural environment. Observing this, my passion spread to the people so I would not just build a physical structure, but to provide the comfort, safety, and joy of a handcrafted home.

In terms of mentorship, I would say it is one of the most important factors in professional development. There is a great value to finding relatable mentors, inspiring mentors and practicing mentors. I personally would not be where I am today without the great support of the mentors in my life from my peers, professors, and boss.

What is the one building that you just had to see for yourself or would one day like to see in person?
As Antoni Gaudí is one of my favorite architects, I would love to see the Sagrada Familia. His design of biophilic structural forms and creative use of vernacular materials creates a formidable and unique architecture that is truly one of a kind. Coming from a religious background like Gaudí, I cannot wait to experience the beautiful symbolic details, vibrant imagery full of meaning and depth, and awe-inspiring forms that emulated from Gaudí personal faith.