• Ittner Architects

Team Tuesday - Kelsey

For this Team Tuesday, we are highlighting Kelsey Jordan! Kelsey is a designer, activist, and leader who is an experienced architectural design professional, graphic visualization artist, and an interior architect with an emphasis on education and wellness. Below is our Team Tuesday interview with Kelsey.

Something interesting about yourself?

My husband, Philip, is also in the architectural profession and we both love designing and building. Our most recently completed project took us about a year to complete. It was a hundred-year-old four family that was converted into duplexes that we gut-rehabbed back to a four family. It was great hands-on experience doing the work ourselves and the property has since been rented.

What is your favorite aspect of a project?

Sketching. Designing. Client meeting and presentations. I enjoy the research, design iteration, and diagrammatic creation during schematic design, however talking with clients and listening to their needs gives me so much joy. For me, not much tops design and client interaction.

Biggest career accomplishment thus far?

One of the schools that I personally designed has received accolades and recognition. The school was designed utilizing health and wellness principles so that users were passively provided opportunities to combat systemic issues including obesity, food scarcity, and educational obtainment. It has received a national research honor award and has been featured in two national exhibitions along with local recognition.

On a more personal level, nationally I was one of 60 selected to work with Disney Imagineers and architecture students to understand the future of architecture education. Almost a month apart from understanding the future of architecture education, I was one of 60 selected to collaboratively hypothesize what the architecture profession will be like in the future as part of the AIA YAF Practice Innovation Lab. More recently I was invited to lead industry leaders on how culture impacts educational design for a conference hosted by AIA National Committee on Architecture for Education in conjunction with Learning Environments. Attending conferences to understand different people’s thoughts is super fascinating to me and I feel helps me to grow and learn more.

Why did you choose your career path?

Ever since I could pick up a pen I was drawing. Because my dad was a printer, I had an endless supply of paper and bank pens. In junior high, I was recruited to go to high school at the Illinois Math and Science Academy because math almost always came naturally – except calculus. Calc is my nemesis. To continue the theme of being a bit of a nerdy child, I was almost always reading about ancient civilizations to understand why people lived the way they did. When high school came around, I opted to live at home verses moving away in to go to IMSA, but I continued my love of math, history, and art. When I had to start thinking about what to do as a career, I looked up what the best career was combining math, history, and art and architecture came up. I took three years of architecture in high school and have (obviously) continued ever since.

What designer do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from a Danish design firm called CEBRA. Their work evokes joy and a sense of wonder and I strive to create designs that can do that as well. I also enjoy the storytelling that Mass Design Group and BIG provoke through their design illustrations.

Favorite quote?

I hated these two quotes when I was little, but both are true words of wisdom from my mom.

1. “You choose your attitude. No one else chooses your attitude for you.”

2. “You are never too busy to find time for what is most important to you.”

They are now my favorites because they both help me to keep grounded in my thoughts. The second reminds me that I am never too busy to make a positive impact.

Best trip/vacation?

I love exploring new places, but my most favorite trip has been to Cozumel, Mexico with my husband for our honeymoon.

Normally, I would rather be in the mountains than in the ocean, but I loved snorkeling, being close to the oceanic wildlife, and relaxing on the hammock in the ocean. We also had a lot of fun driving around the island and exploring Mayan ruins and the Mayan and Mexican cultures.

Anything else you want the people to know?

I’m pretty active within AIA and have been on both a local and national level. Locally, I sit on the AIA St. Louis Board as the Associate Director, meaning I represent any not-yet-licensed architectural professionals in St. Louis. I chair the Women in Architecture Community Outreach Committee where we team with local organizations to teach youth, mainly girls, about architecture and design.