Akash Mattu, Class of May 2021
- College of Fine and Applied Arts
My interest in architecture really started when I was young. Like most budding architects, I really enjoyed playing with Legos, and I retained that creative spirit as I grew up. In high school, I took design-related courses, which helped inform my decision to become an architect. Architecture was very appealing to me because it revolved around creative solutions to logical problems, helping solidify my decision to major in Architectural Studies at Illinois.
I also saw architecture and sustainability as going hand in hand. With architecture, there’s a physical, tangible impact on our world – it has the power to change lives and the environment. I think architects and others in the construction industry have a social responsibility to design sustainably and equitably, especially because the building industry is a major contributor to carbon emissions. So, I decided to also pursue a minor in the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Fellows Program.
During my time on campus, I really appreciated my classes and the facilities. There was an exciting, encouraging ambience around these spaces. The campus itself was urban enough that I didn’t miss my hometown and there was always something to do. I really appreciated all the amenities the campus and surrounding area provided.
As a major in architectural studies, I took many studio classes focused on building design. The professors I met through those classes were instrumental to where I am today. The faculty were invested in us not just as students, but as upcoming professionals, and that was incredibly enriching to me.
My professors supported me as I was making the decision of whether to continue on to graduate school or to take a job in the industry. I sought their advice, and ultimately chose to take a job at Flad Architects as an Architectural Associate. My professional experience since graduation has been extremely valuable.
One of my favorite things about my job is the culture of the firm. It fosters friendships and mentorships, which allows for professional development and further refinement of my skills. The culture at Flad has made my transition from college to the real world much smoother. Eventually I do plan to go to graduate school to work towards licensure as an architect, and my experience at Flad will definitely be helpful.
My advice for current students is to use your resources. Illinois offers a plethora of resources, especially in the form of faculty. Their professional and scholarly knowledge of the field provides lots of opportunity for you to learn and gain insight into your area of interest. All the resources at Illinois are there to help you out. The more you get involved, the more connections you can make, the more prepared you’ll be for your next step.
(Last updated: February 9, 2022)
Photo: Press Photography Inc. and College of DuPage