Meet the Team: Amanda Sanders
With the office getting back into full swing, we started things off by welcoming Amanda Sanders to the RODE Family! Amanda is our newest Senior Project Architect / Project Manager and we are thrilled to have such a talented designer on our team. Amanda took some time out of her busy day to tell us more about herself...
1. You’re originally from Iowa. What is one unique thing you love about Iowa? What is one unique thing you love about Boston?
People tend to think of Iowa as very flat, but if you get off of the main interstates, you’ll find it is a very lush landscape with beautiful rolling hills, it’s very serene and the people are very warm. I landed in Boston from Iowa with a 3.5 year pit stop in New York City. I loved New York, but was always a little restless for outdoor space. I find that Boston is the perfect middle ground between Iowa and New York: city living with the ability to be at the beach or in the woods in less than 30 minutes. I also love the layers of history you experience walking the streets of Boston.
2. What drew you to come work at RODE?
When I became a resident of Dorchester, I decided to get involved in my neighborhood association; it was through those meetings that I was introduced to RODE. I was drawn RODE’s thoughtful design and appreciate the positive impact several projects have had on my local community. I have traveled a lot in my career, but have not worked much in Boston, so the idea of working on projects that are shaping the face of the city I now call home was very appealing.
3. When you aren’t being an amazing architect, what is your side passion?
Making has always been a creative outlet for me, and I’m drawn to wood as a material. Several years ago, I started playing around with refinishing furniture, mostly items picked up off the street on trash night. I was living in a 1-bedroom apartment at the time (with a very patient husband) using our living room as my workroom. When we purchased our home in Dorchester, it was in a state of disrepair, and while the major renovation is complete, it has become an endless source of woodworking projects for me. I have built out my tool collection, taken over one of the bedrooms as my workroom, and expanded my project scope into restoring some of the remaining original details and furniture making.
4. What drove you to pursue a career in architecture?
My 6th grade teacher was an architecture enthusiast. He made us memorize the different architectural styles in my hometown (Dubuque, Iowa), we then went on a walking to tour to see them in person. I have always loved making things, especially with my Legos as a child, but this was the first time I put a name to it, and I’ve never looked back. Through my career, I have come to realize that architecture is about more than just creating a building. It is not just a blend of art and engineering to create a beautiful static object, it is about creating spaces for people, and these spaces will evolve over time.
5. Is there a particular project that you’ve worked on during your career as a architect that had a strong impact on your career or that you’ve learned the most from? What was the project and what did you learn from doing it?
I worked on the renovation of a Jose Lluis Sert dormitory on MIT’s campus a few years ago. It was an honor to work on a building designed by such a talented/renowned architect. We worked to bring Sert’s ideas about communal living into today’s student life practices, ultimately turning a very introverted building into an extroverted one. The project was extremely fast tracked; we completed design in 6 months and the phased renovation was completed in 15 months. Because of the aggressive construction schedule, I worked on the construction site full time for the first 4 months of construction and part time for the remainder. Despite the schedule pressure, tight budget, and challenges of working on a concrete structure with only 8’-6” floor to floor, the project was a great success. I learned to be strategic with design moves and that with a collaborative team, you can accomplish anything.