The Studio 18: You Stay Classy San Diego

by Tim Alatorre

Alison Morita B’arch ’02 and the 2010 AIA Associates Award Recipient joins us to talk about her involvement in the AIA. We also discuss this year’s Chumash Architecture Show.

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Show Notes

Site News

  • 10 new Facebook fans this week!
    • Thanks to our fans we now have our own URL!! #/sloarch
      • Alaina McBride
      • Katie Knox
      • Nicholas Williams
      • Matalie Grummer
      • Kyla Gruen
      • Kiel Schmidt
      • Wendy Sumida

Cal Poly News

  • Hearst Lecture info. Check out the history on our wiki!
  • Chumash Architecture Show! (History of the Show)
    • Chumash Auditorium, Julian A. McPhee University Union
    • Opening Reception: Friday, May 28th, 2010 5:00 pm
    • Exhibition: May 29th & 30th 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Alumni Networking Webinars (
    • Each session is 75 minutes, with time for questions. Registration closes on May 2, 2010.
    • Cost is $40 for CPAA members, $50 for non-members.
    • Session topics include:
      • May 4, Avoid Common Traps in Networking
      • May 11, Create Meaningful Conversations and Develop Lasting Connections
      • May 18, In-Person + Online Networking – Put it All Together
  • Summer Career Workshop
  • 5th Year Crits (All located at the Berg Gallery) See our calendar for updates
    • Prof. Tom di Santo
      • Title: Alpha Rho Chi – Vern Show
      • Date: May 5th
    • Prof. Barry Williams
      • Title: Linkage
      • Date: May 10th
      • Time: 11AM – 5 PM
    • Prof. Doug Jackson
      • Title: Trans-Form
      • Date: May 14-15th
      • Time: opens 5pm
    • Prof. Eric Nulman
      • Date: May 12th
      • Prof. Laura Joines
      • Date: May 18th
    • Prof. Michael Lucas
      • Date: May 20-21st
    • Prof. Sandy Stannard
      • Date: May 24th
    • Prof. Karen Lange
      • Date: May 26th

Rapid Fire Questions

  • Cal Poly or Berkeley? Cal Poly
  • Autocad or Revit? Revit
  • Parallel bar or T-Square? T-Square
  • Facebook or LinkedIn? Facebook
  • Arch Record or Arch Digest? Record
  • Drafting dots or tape? Dots
  • Yellow trace or white? Yellow
  • Ad Markers or Prisma? Ad markers
  • Pen or Pencil? Pen
  • Mac or PC? Mac

FINAL SCORE: 16:59.7


  • Involvement in AIA:
    • She started getting involved with the the volunteer aspect of the Young Architect Commission from the AIA San Diego and it snow balled from there.
    • Her work is important on many levels as it relates to the Emerging Professionals.
  • What is the value of the AIA to her?
    • There are two aspects of membership, those members that just put the letters at the end of their name and are not involved and then there are those members that are highly involved.
    • Advocacy for the profession
    • More than anything it is a resource, not just with licensure but with the building process, codes, local permitting info, state and national info.
  • What is the AIA Associates Award?
    • A National Award, the highest award given to individual AIA Associate member.
    • She became involved in 2005 for the Young Architect of the Year Award (YAYA). From her work with the committees she became involved on the board locally for AIA San Diego and then moved up to involvement at the AIA California Council level with the Academy for Emerging Professionals (AEP).
    • After Receiving the call for nominations she decided to submit and was surprised and very proud to receive the call from National that she was an award recipient.
  • Is she currently working towards licensure? progress?
    • Done with IDP, getting CIDP signed off, now she just has to start her ARE!!! (LIKE HALEY!!!)
    • Her local Chapter has a “Team in Training” similar program where they work through as teams and power through the exams.
  • What is she up to professionally?
    • Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker, for the past 5 years
    • Diverse group of divisions and departments within the firm
    • She currently works in the hospitality department, mainly hotel work. Currently working on a project in Hawaii.
  • Observations of economy, how is she seeing the effects?
    • They’re still one of the largest firms in San Diego, but she’s seen a slowdown and many layoffs
    • Since her firm has a diverse portfolio they’ve been able to continue work rather than other single department firms.
  • What advice can she give to others out in the profession to weather the storm?
    • That’s a hard one: it helps to stay punctual, stay active, be able to go with the flow, but sometimes it really doesn’t matter what you do it may just come down to no work coming into the firm. Staying involved with something you really care about will mean more to you whether you’re employed or not.
  • Thoughts on Cal Poly grads out in the industry?
    • There actually aren’t that many Cal Poly grads in her firm.
    • She runs into other Cal Poly CAED grads out and about.
    • Maybe some of the other schools are more theoretically based
  • Thoughts on how the program is changing/improving?
    • Not really sure… she hasn’t been back to campus in a while
    • Cal Poly did a great job in preparing for the ‘real world’ and the work force. They teach how to problem solve, how to present yourself and your project and how to communicate effectively. There is a huge value for employers when someone can problem solve, which Cal Poly does a great job in preparing you for.
  • Is there something you wish you had done or known when you were still at Cal Poly?
    • Not really!
    • Take advantage of the study abroad programs, it’s key for personal development.
  • What kind of advice can you give to current Cal Poly students?
    • Make sure that you keep in touch with what’s going on, don’t get stuck in your own professional bubble.
    • Stay on top of licensure information and what’s going on in the profession.
  • Current AIA San Diego Events:
    • Currently accepting nominations for the YAYA.
    • AIA San Diego Design Awards coming up, party on June 19th.

About the Author

Tim Alatorre