When thinking about the many mentors I’ve had, Lauren Kogod stands out. She was influential in setting the foundation for my architecture career. When I was in my third year of architecture school in St. Louis, I was assigned to her architecture studio course. During critiques at my drafting table it was inspiring to see how she used her signature lead holder (drafting pencil) to communicate seamlessly between listening, sketching, and speaking. Lauren was a beloved professor, known for her intellect and wit. She challenged us to be better students of architecture and to be thoughtful individuals. I respected her for her authenticity and integrity as a teacher and a person.
At the end of the semester our studio went bowling and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that Lauren was a keen bowler. Like a pro, she showed up with her personal bowling ball and laser focus. What I did not know at the time was that in the years to come, Lauren would be a guide to keeping me on the right trajectory. Her targeted words of advice, recommendation and encouragement lifted me through graduate school and onto the path to becoming an architect.
Several years later during graduate school in Cambridge, MA, I had the unique opportunity to invite Lauren to be on the panel for my final thesis review. It was an honor to have one of my first mentors participating in the dialogue about my final architecture school project.
Many years later Lauren’s words still resonate with me. Looking back to the commencement speech she gave to my undergraduate class, she reminded us that who you are is more important than what you do. It’s a mantra I embrace as I continue on my trajectory as an architect. Lauren Kogod inspired me to be a mentor in the same spirit as she was for me.
Lauren Kogod teaches at The Cooper Union. She is partner at Kogod Smiley Architects. She earned a B.F.A. and B.Arch at Rhode Island School of Design, an M.S. in Architecture and Building Design at Columbia University, and is a PhD candidate in Architectural History and Theory at Harvard University. Prior to Cooper Union Kogod was Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at Yale University School of Architecture. Her articles and essays have been published in Assemblage, Harvard Design Magazine, Architecture + Urbanism, Adrian Luchini (CWA), Enric Miralles (AD Monograph) and Architecture and Capitalism, 1850 to the Present (Routledge).