Kristen Karwacki Zarella ’07 recently earned the prestigious right to practice architecture in New York State. Zarella received her licensure after successfully passing the Architect Registration Examination, a multi-division exam used to assess knowledge and skills regarding the practice of architecture.
Zarella’s first exposure to architecture was the 3D design course she took during her first year at HWS. “After taking the 3D design class, I felt at ease on the machines and enjoyed designing and crafting structures with my hands,” she says. “I thank Professor of Architecture Stan Mathews for my first real built structure, a bookcase held together by inserted pegs, which could easily disassemble for moving. This bookshelf is a constant reminder that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.”
A double major in dance and architecture, Zarella credits her professors for helping her to see the connections between the two majors. “Through my studies, I learned to apply my kinesthetic knowledge as a tangible application in architectural structures and spaces. Both Professors of Dance Donna Davenport and Cadence Whittier, along with Associate Professor Michelle Ikle not only reinforced this intelligence but encouraged my passion in architecture, as I began the enrollment process to my perspective post-graduate schools.”
Zarella earned a master of architecture from Pratt Institute where she was a graduate assistant to the chair of graduate architecture. While attending Pratt, Zarella completed a summer course in Rome, Italy and Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she studied homelessness and compared similar conditions of low-income housing within New York City.
Currently a freelance architectural designer in New York, Zarella has experience as a project manager for Lothrop Associates and Partners for Architecture and as an architectural designer at Blair + Mui Dowd Architects, PC. While at the Colleges, Zarella was a member of Koshare Dance Collective and studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.