Having worked in interior design at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and other architectural firms for many years, Diane Hoffer-Schurecht admits that she expects a lot from her IIT education. “I am particularly interested in gaining a deep understanding of structural systems, with the objective of supporting a greater level of creativity and exploration in my future practice,” she says. “Similarly, I would also like to gain a strong foundation in architectural theory and work to develop theoretical intention. And, of course, I expect to obtain a strong design and technical education. I take the environment, sustainability, and our responsibility as practitioners to ‘do the right thing’ very seriously, so developing an intuitive understanding of optimal sustainable principles for automatic incorporation in my work is assumed.”
Hoffer-Schurecht moved to Chicago from Michigan, where she graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. She was motivated to establish roots in Chicago for several reasons: the dynamic nature of the city and the Great Lakes region, the presence of many high-caliber architectural firms engaged in work around the world, and the facilities at IIT College of Architecture, especially the open-plan studio environment of S. R. Crown Hall, a National Historic Landmark.
With diverse coursework in topics such as ecology, theory, materiality, and visual training, Hoffer-Schurecht’s first semester in the IIT program proved to be both challenging and rewarding. “I began to develop a very broad set of tools with which to approach a design problem—thinking ‘in hard copy’ by hand, 2-D digital, 3-D digital, and various physical model typologies. For our last project, I comfortably used all of these tools concurrently, which I felt was a significant accomplishment after only one semester.”