The Studio 7: CalPoly Sounds Okay

by Tim Alatorre

Sarah Fleming, President of the Cal Poly Chapter AIAS, and Ben Hait-Campbell, Vice President, share their perspective of the Cal Poly Architecture program today, fill us in on the AIAS, and tell us what happened to the F-Stop!

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Show Notes


Rapid Fire Questions:

Sarah (S) Ben (B)

  • Favorite James Bond Movie? (S) Goldfinger (B) Quantum of Solice
  • Shaken (B) or stirred (S)?
  • Work at home or in the studio (B, S)?
  • Dexter Lawn (B) or the Kennedy Library (S)?
  • Best place to be on a Friday night? (B) Studio (S) Coffee shop
  • Pismo Beach or Avila Beach (B & S)?
  • Facebook (B & S) or LinkedIn?
  • Yellow trace or white (B & S)?
  • Ad Markers or Prisma (B & S)?
  • Mac or PC (B & S)?


  • Sarah: Rubber Band Ball
  • Ben: 5,012.7


  • What year are you?
    • Ben – Tom Fowler, 3rd year, straight from H.S.
    • Sarah – Jim Doerfler, 3rd year, transfer from Cuesta
  • Why did you choose Cal Poly Architecture?
    • Ben – one of the schools he got into, from Seattle, picked schools along the westcoast, Cal Poly tuition was more affordable, easier application than Oregon
    • Sarah – from CO. knew in H.S. that out of state tuition would be crazy so planned on going to Cal Poly, but decided to go to Cuesta for a few years to establish residency before transferring to Cal Poly
  • They both agree that Cal Poly has been the perfect place thus far
    • the environment is ideal
    • the architecture program has a great program, you’re surrounded by great people and create a community with your peers
  • What are you working on?
    • Ben – Mind/Body entity in NY
      • working to apply abstract ideas into something tangible
      • Fowler overwhelms with deliverables to help get you working towards the end product
    • Sarah – Aquatic Center in downtown SF (1st and Folsom)
      • actually got to visit the site, large pools/gym/community center, a larger project than usual but fun
      • while in SF they visited SOM and some other firms
  • Do you plan on getting your Architect Licence?
    • Sarah – definitely
    • Ben – maybe, it seems like a very intimidating process, he’s not interested in codes or any of that other stuff, if he could just do cool stuff and get paid for it he would be happy
  • Have you done any internships?
    • Sarah – hopefully going to Switzerland, she had an internship a few summers ago mainly educational work
    • Ben – hasn’t had any internships yet
  • What do you like/dislike about the program?
    • Ben Sarah – registration process for classes, your educational career is dependant on your studio experience,
  • What has been the hardest thing so far?
    • Sarah – balancing classes with a job and extra cirricular activities, finding time to sleep
  • What is the AIAS
    • Sarah – National Organization, four quadrants around the U.S, currently have around 50 members, she also started the Cuesta chapter but students there transfer so the membership fluctuates more
  • Why/How did you become involved?
    • Sarah – Passion for architecture from an early age, while at Cuesta it was a way to start meeting people with similar interests which is how/why she started the Chapter at Cuesta, that involvement carried over to Cal Poly after transferring from Cuesta
    • Ben – As a freshman he just jumped in to get involved and became VP sophmore year
  • Why/How did you become and officers?
    • Sarah – Her experience with the organization made her a natural choice
    • Ben – Second year as VP, working to continue to develop a clear presence and identity on campus
  • What activities, services, resources does the AIAS provide?
    • Ben – They’re putting on the movie nights, brought in local professionals to speak to students about life after graduation, model building in Sequoia Hall, hosted Finnish architecture professions lecture on lighting and architecture,
    • Sarah – Working on Freedom by Design Program: a program where AIAS architecture students go into the homes of elderly citizens and help make their home more accessible such as handrails/ramps. They also bring in career services to speak to students about interview skills and such.
    • Working to get more involvement and interaction between the classes and years of architecture students
    • While the natural tendancy is to isolate yourself in study, AIAS offers an outlet for architecture students to get that diversity of peers and upper or lower classes
  • F-Stop
    • the tiny forgotten space of the architecture building across the hall from the photo lab
    • They’re working to get the space up and running again as the student lounge and hangout
  • AIAS Cal Poly Chapter

About the Author

Tim Alatorre