Member of the Month: Anna Jones
Q: Where do you work and what is your current role?
A: Substance Architecture – Intern Architect.
I am currently working on the renovation of an existing office space in Folsom, CA. Previous types of projects that I have worked on include: Brownells, Inc. Office & Retail Building in Grinnell, IA; Olsen Team Room Renovation at Iowa State University; Faegre Baker Daniels Law Office in Des Moines, IA; University of Iowa Football Training Facility
Within Iowa Women in Architecture: Chair of iaWia 2014-2015
Q: Why did you choose the field of architecture?
A: For those who know me, some would pry say I was born into it. In a way, I was. Both of my parents are architects, and my sister is an interior designer. There must be something in my family blood. However, my personal story goes beyond my genes. Yes, I was a math nerd and am passionate about art. I was and am still constantly working on projects that involve making, creating, and building. Growing up, my parents were kind enough to let me redesign and redo my bedroom as often as I pleased. I went to open houses on Sundays just for fun to look. On vacations, I would be in awe of the cityscapes, the buildings, and the interior spaces. I think the ultimate moment I realized I wanted to be an architect, was when I visited the Farnsworth House. There was something about the simplicity, the purity, the connection to nature and space, and the intelligence of the interior diagram that made me say, I want to be able to create this.
Q: How do you balance it all?
A: I don’t know that it is possible to balance it all. I have too many interests, too many passions, and am too much of a perfectionist to have “balance”. I have, however, learned to manage the chaos, which is essentially how I “balance” things. I think that you have to pick your priorities and manage those priorities in an efficient manner. Being efficient with how you manage your time, and analyzing what needs to be done ASAP and what can come later is important in meeting deadlines and not driving yourself too crazy. It’s also important to take the time to do what you enjoy and make that one of your priorities. Spend your time doing what you are passionate about. As a designer, I am devoted to and passionate about my work – admittedly sometimes a little too much. However, I think it’s essential to make time for yourself, your family, your friends, and your hobbies. Therefore, I balance work with community organizations and personal hobbies. I’ve learned: continue to be passionate about work, work efficiently, be organized, but maintain a structure and life outside of the office as well. That is balance…. work and live. (And have a good calendar).
Q: What is the best advice you have received?
A: Learn how to say no. All you can do is all you can do. If you say yes to too many things, you will stretch yourself too thin and be focusing on too many small things. You won’t really be succeeding at any of them. Say yes to a few things that you are passionate about so that you can be devoted to those passions and have the capacity to do them well.
There’s never a stupid question. If you have a question – ASK.
Q: How has Iowa Women in Architecture influenced you?
A: Iowa Women in Architecture has provided me with many leadership opportunities: Regional/National Liasion (2013-2014); Attendee at Women in Leadership Summit in Phoenix, AZ( 2013); Vice Chair of iaWia/Chair of Education & Programs Committee (2013-2014); Chair of iaWia 2014-2015. It has also provided me with the opportunity to build meaningful relationships within the profession – both peer to peer and on mentorship levels. The programs the organization holds provide opportunities to gain insight into the culture of the profession, to have interesting discussions on the future and sustainability of the profession, and to voice your opinion on matters that are important to you as a young, female architect.