The Studio 6: Live and Uncut

by Tim Alatorre

Caela Beene McKeever and Sean McKeever, B’Arch ’06, bring us a Seattle perspective on Cal Poly and give us a glimpse into Chinese and retail architecture. Plus, Tim makes the worst jokes ever!
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  • Cal Poly Hearst Lecture Series, Friday, Feb 5th:
    • Ann Forsyth
    • Ann Forsyth’s work focuses on the social aspects of physical planning and urban development. Forsyth’s contributions have been to analyze the success of planned alternatives to sprawl, particularly exploring the tensions between social and ecological values in urban design.

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Cal Poly or Berkley? Cal Poly
  • Autocad or Revit? Microstation
  • Parallel bar or T-Square? Parallel
  • Facebook or LinkedIn? Facebook
  • Arch Record or Arch Digest? Arch Record
  • Drafting dots or tape? Tape “Sean” Dots “Caela”
  • Yellow trace or white? White
  • Ad Markers or Prisma? Ad Markers
  • Pen or Pencil? Pen
  • Mac or PC? PC (Sean) MAC (Caela)
  • Scores
    • Caela: Pineapple
    • Sean: Sq root of lamp
    • Brandon: 5


  • Both of our guests are from Fresno
    • they met at Cal Poly (shout out to Greg Wynn)
    • decided to move up to Seattle after graduation after falling in love with it during a Thesis Studio tour.
  • Seattle had a great job market after graduation so they’ve been there ever since.
  • Caela worked at Darden Architects during High School
    • originally in the Interior Design Department
    • then after being accepted to Cal Poly
    • worked in the Architecture Department before leaving for college.
  • Happy that she made that decision to stick with Architecture since now she does a little of both.
  • Caela and Sean work for the same firm and have for 3 1/2 years ever since moving to Seattle
  • Sean mainly works on commercial projects
    • has worked on large projects for Microsoft and Amazon
    • He’s now working on some large mixed use projects in China
      • specifically the office tower component
      • He has traveled to Shanghai for this project and offers some insight on what it’s like to work on a project in China
    • Callison is an International firm
      • they have an office in Shanghai as well
    • They normally team up with a firm locally, working collaborately with the LDI
      • Callison works on the schematics and into design development, then the local firm will pick up the construction documents.
  • Caela works for the studio that does all of the Nordstrom stores in the country
    • The recession hit their market first
    • reduced project numbers and lay offs resulted, but recently the retail market has been the first to return.
  • She’s traveled domestically often for projects
    • currently working on a project in Portland
    • Works mainly with remodels, which she has grown to love
    • Really enjoys the interiors aspect to the process, and gets to carry the project from design to the contract admin phase.
  • They are both nearly done with IDP
    • haven’t started taking their AREs yet
    • when they first moved to WA they couldn’t start taking the exams until done with IDP. But being able to study together and knowing each other’s study habits will help keep them accountable to each other.
  • Their thoughts on Cal Poly grads out in the industry
    • They brought Cal Poly ’06 up to Seattle, many of our classmates are up there
    • In CA many firms know Cal Poly and think highly of Cal Poly, but going out of CA looking for a job you loose that advantage, especailly up in WA they are in the minority
    • But Washington State has a great program as well.
  • Felt well prepared coming out of Cal Poly, while you learn so much in a firm, Cal Poly gives you a good foundation to continue learning out in the industry
  • Required internships would be a great learning experience
    • you learn things that you can’t learn in a classroom, the buisness end of architecture, being on a construction site, people skills
    • Having that required internship would be a great benefit to students.
  • Enjoy college as much as you can
    • get as much out of it as you can, because once you enter the profession you turn another page in your career and you start to build upon that knowledge.
    • Travel!!!
    • Push yourself as much as you can.
    • Enjoy your Thesis project as much as you can, take full advantage of it.
    • Enjoy the climate of San Luis Obipso, it’s one of a kind!
  • Best memories of Cal Poly
    • 2am studio parties
    • playing frisbee late at night in the staircourt of the Archtiecture Bldg
    • the giant slip and slide on Dexter Lawn

About the Author

Tim Alatorre