Amanda Walker ’16 has dreamed of becoming an architect since high school, and she will soon take a significant step toward that goal.
A double major in architectural studies and art history, Walker was recently accepted into six of the most prestigious architecture graduate programs in the country: Harvard Graduate School of Design in Architecture; the University of Pennsylvania School of Design; Cornell University of Architecture, Art, and Planning; Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan; the University of Virginia School of Architecture; and the Department of Architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Walker has chosen to attend Harvard for a master’s degree in landscape architecture.
With the guidance of HWS faculty, Walker says that her liberal arts background offered an interdisciplinary sense of design that proved a significant advantage throughout compiling, designing and revising her portfolio for the rigorous application process.
“When you start the graduate school search, no architecture student walks into portfolio class completely confident or sure about which schools they should be aspiring for,” she says, “Personally, I was terrified about where to apply and was shocked when my professors suggested big names like Harvard, Cornell, and UPENN. But they encouraged me to believe in my work and my design capabilities, and they were right. At HWS, professors help you gain the confidence in yourself to see your true potential.”
Walker credits Associate Professor of Art and Architecture Stan Mathews, and Assistant Professors of Art and Architecture Kirin Makker and Lilliana Leopardi for the significant guidance they provided throughout her studies and during the application process for graduate school.
Having studied abroad twice – in Copenhagen, Denmark and Rome, Italy – Walker is passionate about understanding architecture on a global scale and applied to graduate programs that offer yearlong learning opportunities in cities around Europe.
“There is a challenge to design when you have to think about how weather effects the planning of your landscape,” Walker says. “When you have seasons throughout the year, the ecology of the plants are different for each and so thinking through the design of pathways surrounding buildings is difficult in those circumstances.”
Walker is currently working on an independent study, featuring an urban park design to integrate Bozzuto Boathouse and the Geneva docks near the Ramada Inn. Walker hopes to create a natural progression along that section of Seneca Lake to motivate people to spend time around the docks.