Enthusiastic, energetic and eager to learn, Alyce Howe officially entered the Baton Rouge Architecture scene in the spring of 2014.
After receiving a B.A. in French and Studio Art from Millsaps College, three years of work experience and thirst for a more creative professional outlet, Alyce chose to make a career change and enrolled in LSU’s School of Architecture. After receiving her Master of Architecture in 2014, Alyce decided to remain in her hometown of Baton Rouge and joined the team at Bani, Carville & Brown, LLC. Since graduation, Alyce has become involved in the Baton Rouge Chapter of AIA, serving as the Associate AIA Liaison in 2016. She is currently serving as the Associate AIA Liaison on the 2017 State Board and recently received her license.
Why did you choose architecture as a profession?
I actually wasn’t one of those kids who dreamt of becoming an architect. I definitely took the long route to figuring out which profession I wanted to direct my energy toward, but ultimately, I was desperate for challenges and a creative outlet in my professional life. I needed change in the day to day and I craved collaboration and interaction with other people. I love the endless creativity both in design and problem solving that architecture offers. I love that even though we possess a very specific type of degree there are endless possibilities in how it can be used and applied. We turn dreams into tangible realities and solve problems in ways that many people couldn’t begin address.
Do you have a special routine/habit you may do to get creative juices flowing?
I’m such a visual and spatial thinker that I like to spend time looking at precedents and images for inspiration, but when it comes to working through problems I’ve always found modeling helpful, whether it’s with paper, SketchUp, clay, or some other workable medium. If I can put my hands on it and see it then I can better understand and usually begin moving forward from there.
Best project, most unique/favorite project?
Although it was a hypothetical project my last semester in school, my favorite project I’ve ever worked on, thus far, was the re-imagination of a shore base in Venice, LA for Chevron. My whole final semester of school was dedicated to an analysis of the oil industry and the Louisiana coastal landscape to create a sustainable design solution that would accommodate a vital node that bridges the gap between land and ocean. The possibilities were endless and I learned more about my state and the challenges it faces in that semester than I think I have in the lifetime that I’ve lived in Louisiana. It gave me an intense appreciation and understanding of the landscape we live in, its constant state of flux and the problems that we must creatively solve to ensure its future.
What is your most satisfying professional accomplishment?
I just received my license at the beginning of February, so at this point that pretty much tops the chart. There’s something wildly satisfying about making it through an extremely rigorous curriculum in school only to have to continue studying while you’re working full-time. When you make it out with your license in hand that’s a pretty amazing feeling of accomplishment.
What is the greatest personal or professional obstacle you’ve overcome?
I think the process of getting to this point in my profession has been an immense obstacle. There’s so much that we’re inundated with in today’s world that finding something you love and a career that exercises your aptitudes and passions can be extremely overwhelming and difficult. It’s taken 31 years to find a career that channels those passions and to reach the point where I could actually practice it. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. The world will continue to change, and the practice of architecture with it, which opens doors to endless possibilities and continual change but because of where I am now my practice can change, morph and grow with it.
Are you currently or were recently involved in any community outreach projects?
Like many people, I was involved in clean-up efforts after the flooding in Baton Rouge last August. I’m hoping to get more involved in specific projects that interest me now that my evenings and weekends aren’t filled with ARE prep.
What do you do after a hard day at work to unwind?
I always enjoy a good glass of wine and cooking a nice meal at the end of a long day. Spending time with loved ones is always a welcome form of relaxation too.
If you could have any other job what would it be?
I think if I were ever to shift to anything else I’d probably want to design children’s toys. I feel like designing and working for The Lego Group would be a blast!
I would also love to design clothing or furniture. Anything creative and “hands-on” would be quick to draw my attention.
If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My “cliché” answer would be Renzo Piano. I have a bit of a crush on him and his work.
My personal answer would be any of my grandparents and their siblings. My family is everything to me and I don’t think we really appreciate those relationships until we’re older or they aren’t around anymore. There’s a whole slew of wisdom, humor and love that they could offer that would be invaluable to me.
Do you have a business/creative role model? If so, who is it and why?
I love what Will Doran and Lynley Farris are doing with Mid City Studio. The collaboration and creativity they’re bringing to Mid City is a fantastic effort. I’m hoping to get more involved with their efforts now that I’ve finished studying and testing. All of the efforts to revitalize various parts of Baton Rouge and direct the city toward healthy growth strike a specific and personal chord with me.
What other leadership roles do you hold in the community and/or what volunteer efforts do you support?
I am currently serving as the Associate AIA Liaison on the State Board and I’m involved with various efforts at church. I’ve always loved organizations like Habitat for Humanity too.
What is your favorite way to spend your time?
I love DIY projects. Anything from sewing, to decorating, to repurposing, to building things would be projects I’d fill my entire day with if I could. I love combining creativity and a good bargain.
I love any time I get to spend with my family, boyfriend and friends. I’m a 100% extrovert so I glean energy from being around people I love and value even if we aren’t doing anything specific.
I love to be outside and anything pertaining to Louisiana culture will always capture my attention and time.