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05.09.19 – Utako Tanebe (MArch 2013) talks to Madame Architect about the transition from architecture school to professional practice

Daniels Alumna Utako Tanebe (MArch 2013) — now an architect and designer at DLR Group | Westlake Reed Leskosky, based in Cleveland — was recently interviewed by Madame Architect, an online publication dedicated to sharing stories of women in the architectural field.   

Tanebe spoke about her experiences as an architecture student and the transition from school to professional practice. She shared some of the challenges she worked to overcome when she started her career, and what she learned while working on the Samson Pavilion (pictured above), a new health education campus designed by Foster and Partners. (DRL Group | Westlake Reed Leskosky is the Architect of Record for the project.)

"This is the largest scale international design project in Cleveland in decades and I was lucky in that I was placed in such project so early on," said Tanebe.

Born in Tokyo, Tanebe became interested in building and design as a young child. After high school, she pursued a degree in engineering, but found she was hungry for something more creative. She completed another undergraduate degree in architectural history and theory before joining the Daniels Faculty's Master of Architecture program.

"Of the three degrees I completed, the MArch degree was the most rigorous and enduring experience, but also the most rewarding and exciting," said Tanebe. "I felt most comfortable in the studio environment and knew right away that it was the path for me."

Tanebe encourages new graduates starting out in the profession to stay curious and inspired.

"You must find something that excites or motivates you within every task, however mundane it may be, and make it yours to conquer. If you do it well, you can prove to yourself that you’re ready for the next step and a new challenge," she says. "Often young designers fear that they will be pigeon-holed into a task at the office, but once other architects see that you have a fire within to take on more roles, they will be more than happy to support your growth as an architect."

Visit the Madame Architect website to read the full interview.