• LaBella Associates

National Architecture Week: Get to know Kathleen Kogut

It's #ArchitectureWeek! AIA National Architecture Week is April 10 – 16. National Architecture Week is celebrated the week of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, which is April 13th. While not educated as an architect, Jefferson is the only U.S. president to be recognized for his architectural affinity. National Architecture Week is a public awareness campaign dedicated to increasing attention to the role architects play as a force for positive change in our communities and to elevate the public’s appreciation of design.

All week LaBella will be highlighting our diverse group of architects. Today we're highlighting a Project Manager from our Buffalo office, Kathleen Kogut.

Name: Kathleen Kogut

Alma Mater: Erie Community College

Office Location: Buffalo, NY

What type (market) of Architecture do you specialize in? Everything! I've done a bit of everything in 32 years including municipal, higher education, commercial/developer and most recently healthcare, but I would say my specialty is keeping my clients happy.

When did you know you wanted to become an architect? In junior high school. I was put in a wood shop class on mistake and my parents encouraged me to stay in the class. My task in that class was to draw something (with drafting tools I had never seen before) and build it. I had a very encouraging teacher and loved it!

If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you be doing today? I would be working with children.

Tell us about a project you’re proud of: I have always been proud of the Family Courthouse in Buffalo, NY. I think because it was the largest building I had ever worked on. I got to be involved in every step of the design and construction.

But most recently, working with Joanne Haefner and Neighborhood Health Center (NHC) has instilled a sense of pride in me that I cannot explain. Joanne asked for “Lackawanna’s Architect.” I felt surprised and elated to have this honorary title. Unfortunately, the Lackawanna location did not work out for the project. I worked with NHC to find them the right place for their new facility. The facility has landed at my old “Super Duper” grocery store where I worked during my college years. The schedule is a bear and the deadlines worse than any I have ever had and I love it. I have learned so much about healthcare design from LaBella's Heathcare Studio Manager Matt Metyk who continually impresses me with his knowledge. I could not be more proud of seeing it all come together and knowing this person asked for me and I helped make it happen.

What has been the highlight of your career? The highlight of my career is being hired by LaBella. I have never been involved in proposals, marketing and client relations like I am here. I love the challenge of going for a project and winning it!

What would you consider the greatest work of architecture thus far in the 21st century? Space 1 Bligh in Sydney, Australia

What is your favorite local building and why? The Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna, NY – I grew up attending mass at that magnificent work of art. I feel like it inspired me to become an architect.

What style architecture do you love most? Post-Modernism and early 21st Century styles.

What does the future hold for architecture? I believe the future of architecture is exciting, architects are crossing boundaries, taking up new roles and experimenting with different design approaches, more and more. As architects, we are responsible for shaping our surroundings. The future of architecture is to continue to make the our surroundings more interesting.

What trends do you think will have an impact on the profession? The development of green buildings and environmentally friendly designs will continue to influence the work we do.

What advice would you give someone thinking of becoming an architect? It is a lifestyle, not a job. Always listen and never stop learning. You can never know it all.

What are your secrets to success? Listening to my clients and delivering what they expect, on-time and on-budget. Always follow up and follow through. I strive to treat people with patience and kindness. It is important to never stop learning.

What are the biggest challenges in your job? I hate to say it, but being a woman in this industry is sometimes challenging. Despite a few decades of experience, I still feel I have to prove myself. As a project manager my biggest challenge is communicating with my team on projects, and making sure we accomplish the design within the budget of the project. We all want to create our best designs but have to keep in mind our client is always working with a budget.

What do you enjoy about working at LaBella? The staff! Everyone has been so helpful and great to work with. The LaBella team cares about doing the best job they can for their clients! So happy to be part of this team!

What do you like doing outside of work? I am involved in my local theatre and babysitting my grandchildren.

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