The Studio 26: It’s the Medicine Talking

by Tim Alatorre

Long time Poly Canyon resident Ben Ross talks about his experiences living in two of the residences in the canyon and why he got a Bachelor of Architecture, two minors and is now working for a general contractor! Tim also reveals some exciting information about the new California Supplemental Exam.

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Show Notes

Site News

  • Facebook Update:
    • Hao Phung
    • Angelica Ting Steinmeier
    • Ben Ross
  • Haley talks about NCARB live
  • Tim is going help write the CSE!

Cal Poly News

  • New interim President
    • Robert Glidden, president emeritus of Ohio University, was named today as interim president of Cal Poly, effective August 1. (The CSU press release can be viewed at
  • CAED & AIA CCC Design Awards Gala
    • CAED: The college and the local American Institute of Architects Central Coast Chapter invite you to the 2010 Design Awards Gala Reception on Saturday June 26 at the PAC. It will feature professional work and highlight projects by five CAED architecture students who recently displayed at the Cal Poly 5th Year Architecture Show. RSVPs are appreciated by June 10.
    • Download the Gala Reception Invitation (pdf)
    • Email Laura Gough at

General News

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Cal Poly or Berkeley? Cal Poly
  • Autocad or Revit? Autocad
  • Parallel bar or T-Square? Parallel bar
  • Facebook or MySpace? Facebook
  • Arch Record, Arch Digest, or Architect? no comment… Dwell
  • Drafting dots or tape? tape
  • Yellow trace or white? yellow
  • Ad Markers or Prisma? Ad markers
  • Pen or Pencil? Pen
  • Mac or PC? MAC
  • What’s the Meaning of Life? Living



  • What has he been up to?
    • Working for a General Contractor (Hensel Phelps) since graduating from Cal Poly
  • Why did he take this route?
    • took his time through Cal Poly, while working on his general ed he started working on his construction managment minor
  • What’s it like working on both sides, the architecture side and the construction side?
    • he’s able to bring equal parts to each side but feels that each needs the other, he loves design
  • What’s he been working on?
    • recently, hospitals, when he interviewed he asked to be put on the most difficult projects and that was hospital design build
    • prior to his current job he did custom residential, so now it’s really about team work since it takes a team to get the project through construction
    • there are many consultants and owners involved with healthcare work
  • How has the economy hit him and his work?
    • his company is pretty open about work flow and backlogs, it’s about how much work you have and if you don’t have enough backlog you have to move to where it is or find another job
  • Working in 3D?
    • the subs are usually the ones having to put the design into 3D, they’re the ones that know the ins and outs of their materials so in some ways they’re the best ones to be modeling their scope
  • Has he been able to use his minor in sustainable environments?
    • not directly, but he has helped a bit with another LEED project achieving gold certification
    • there are other little things involved with his projects that are sustainable such as reusing forms and recycling programs
  • Ben lived in Poly Canyon for three years while he was at Cal Poly!
    • he had interviewed to become a caretaker out in Poly Canyon and was selected
    • Poly Canyon and Design Village were why he came to Cal Poly and study architecture
    • he hasn’t missed a Design Village since he first competed in 1998
    • he grew up in south Georgia, so he liked the open land and the rolling hills up there in Poly Canyon
    • plus living there, surrounded by the student architecture projects, was really living the “learn by doing” mantra, which Design Village just further supports
    • Check out the photos from Design Village 2010
  • Currently working towards licensure? progress?
    • he was before the IDP cut off, so he doesn’t have to complete that, but he does need to start his ARE
  • Is there something you wish you had done or known when you were still at Cal Poly?
    • would have loved to have gone abroad, but living out in Poly Canyon was more important
  • What kind of advice can you give to current Cal Poly students?
    • don’t give up!! take any of your failures and make them into positives, learn from your failures and don’t make the same failure twice

About the Author

Tim Alatorre