How Architecture Found One Student
Creating spaces is something that Katelyn Trainor has always been interested in, even before it was clear she wanted to be an architect. “When I was a kid, I was addicted to the Sims video game, but I would only play the game to build the houses,” she says. “I have always loved that there is so much room to be yourself and create your own style. The endless possibilities keep the field interesting.”
When she transferred to New York Institute of Technology from the community college in her hometown, where she earned her associate degree in architectural technology, she admits that at first, it was very intimidating. “The experience was definitely scary in the beginning. I was going into classes where everyone knew one another, and I was ‘the new girl,’” she says. “Luckily, in the studio culture here at New York Tech, everyone is friendly. I’ve met my best friends here.”
Making friends is not the only way Trainor has immersed herself in campus life. She is a member of the New York Tech chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students, and she has worked in the Fabrication Lab on the New York City campus since 2018. At the beginning of the spring 2020 semester, she was part of a group of 18 students who traveled to Puerto Rico with Associate Professor of Architecture Farzana Gandhi, M.Arch., and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Jim Martinez, Ph.D., to build a storm station in Río Piedras. The group constructed modules that produce drinkable water as well as electricity to charge devices like mobile phones and laptops. “The storm station is very ‘DIY,’ made with local materials so more can be built at any time at a low cost,” says Trainor, who continues to work on the project. “Now, my role is designing a step-by-step guide to building one of the modules.” Trainor also helped to design other modules, including sanitary, medical, and handwashing stations, all based on the same modular design so they can be placed next to one another and potentially be turned into a community space.
As she looks toward the future, Trainor has decided to focus on building family spaces—a nod to her early interest building houses in video games. “After working a few internships, commercial and residential, I’ve found a passion in residential,” she says. “I love the relationship between a person and their personal space. Elegant spaces become beautiful homes.” While the arrival at architecture may have been inevitable, it seems like an organic process to Trainor. “I can’t pinpoint the day I decided to study architecture,” Trainor says. “I like to believe architecture found me.”