Member Spotlight: Maddy Gorman

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Name: Maddy Gorman
Membership Type: Student
School/Experience: I am currently a 5th year student at the University of Oregon studying Interior Architecture. I was also a student interior design intern for Ankrom Moisan Architects this past summer.

Favorite IIDA event: The Student Design Charrette last Spring was my first and favorite IIDA event (so far). I wanted to get more involved as a student, so I convinced myself to attend, despite being nervous about working on a fast-paced project with someone I had never met before. It ended up being incredibly invigorating. I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses by working with my partner, and about how I think as a designer. It was also the first time applying what I have learned in school to something outside of my classes. I highly recommend this event to students. It is so much fun, you start connecting with people in the design field early, and it shows you what you are capable of that you may not have realized.

Favorite space designed in Portland: This isn’t a commercial project, but the Harpoon House in SE Portland has really influenced the way that I think about space. I was fortunate to tour the home last fall for my Micro Living studio. I think it successfully demonstrates how you can make a small space feel large using windows, outdoor space, multi-functional furniture, and clever ways of combining functions and activities. It is only about 700 square feet but feels so easily livable – the thought put into how the owners use the space, the creative ways in which the spaces are organized and how the circulation wraps up through the house is really inspiring.

Hobbies: Rock scrambling, kayaking, rafting, hiking, and bike rides are some of the things I enjoy most when I have the time. I also love road trips, especially to National Parks. My mother makes jewelry, so I spend time creating necklaces with her when I am home on breaks. Pinterest has a way of getting my endorphins going and being a great time suck.

Interesting fact: This is more of a message to all of the struggling and confused beginning design students. When I entered the IARC program at the University of Oregon my freshman year, I knew close to nothing about architecture (I didn’t even know who Frank Lloyd Wright was). I went in to one of my professor’s office multiple times that year crying, because I kept comparing myself to everyone else and believed that I wasn’t meant to be designer because I was too practical, too much of a “concrete thinker.” One day, I drew a diagram showing how I felt – sometimes I felt inspired and excited, other times I felt that I wasn’t cut out for this field. She just looked at me and pointed out the fact that I had just drawn a diagram to show my thoughts, and that is part of what designers do. She explained that some students come in with knowledge and some don’t, but at some point, it would mostly level out. Long story short, that tiny seed of visual thinking kept me in the program, and I stuck with it and have no regrets. I slowly grew from knowing nothing to feeling like I have found my niche and am very excited for my future. The lesson: You will learn, and you will grow, and you will exercise all areas of your mind over time, so do not compare yourself because people learn at different rates. You don’t have to be the best as long as you are your best. You will get there if it is what you want to do.

Why are you a member of IIDA?: I became an official member at the same time that I joined the executive board for University of Oregon IIDA. It became really important to me to get involved, to offer great opportunities for students newer to the IARC program, and encouraging others to get involved and use all of the great resources. I have met so many talented designers and people within the field, and it has been a great way to make connections and prepare myself for becoming a professional. I think it is pretty unique that people in the same field who work in all different places throughout the city and state can come together and develop relationships, and it is always a lot of fun. I look forward to being able to attend more events in Portland once I move back!