Architect Stephan Wasilewski ’00 didn’t take his first design studio class until his senior year at Wesleyan University, but that was all it took for a career to take off.
“I credit former Community School college counselor Bob Brock with pushing me to go to Wesleyan,” said Stephan. “I didn’t know what I wanted to study, and I had a lot of freedom at Wesleyan to pursue many different things.”
Stephan graduated with a BA in physics in 2004 and then headed to University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his MArch (masters in architecture) in 2008. He landed jobs as an architect in Boston and New York and spent time building furniture in New Hampshire before returning to the Wood River Valley to work for Ketchum-based firm Ruscitto Latham Blanton. During this time, he finished his licensing requirements to become a registered architect in the state of Idaho. Four and a half years ago, he moved back to Berkeley to work for the firm of one of his professors, Loisos + Ubbelohde. Today, he and his wife reside full time in Berkeley.
Of his current position, Stephan said, “It’s an unconventional practice. We merge research methods with high-performance integrated design.” The firm works with widely-known architectural firms such as Los Angeles-based Gehry Partners and Bjarke Ingles Group in New York, he said. “We work on a wide range of building types, from houses to schools, laboratories, museums, and offices. Our work puts an emphasis on comfort and sustainable performance. We have pioneered new methods in lighting and daylighting design, energy conservation and thermal comfort, design and fabrication of light sculptures, and building monitoring and data visualization. My personal work is centered around lighting, daylighting, and simulation. My job is a great merger of my background in physics and architecture. I spend my days solving interesting problems, discussing design ideas with clients and architects, and occasionally traveling to construction or manufacturing sites.”
Stephan credits Community School with not only directing him toward the ideal college for his needs, but also for building his confidence.
“I gained a lot of confidence at Community School that helped me when the world around me got bigger and bigger as I moved on to college, then graduate school, and finally the ‘real world.’ The close relationships with teachers and the way they treated us as peers was really exceptional.”