By Patrick Szczecina
My name is Patrick Szczecina, I went to Southern Illinois University of Carbondale for my undergraduate. Born in Chicago, IL and lived there till high school, I moved to Elmhurst and that is where I took my first architecture class and enjoyed it. My focus in architecture is that towards Urbanism and Pre-Fabricated / New methods of construction or living.
Recently ARC 551 (Graduate Studio) went to Baltimore, Maryland for a site visit and architectural tours. We spent a week looking at our sites, exploring the city and enjoying our time away from Carbondale. Before we left we were all assigned topics of research and in my case I had RTKL Associates, which is a firm. I had to research prior to visiting the firm, once I looked at it I found generic information on RTKL itself and not the branch that is located in Baltimore. The location in Baltimore is the Headquarters of RTKL, we were shown around and spoken to by Ross Smith a designer of the firm. RTKL was founded by Archibald Rogers and Francis Taliaferro in 1946 and later joined by Charles Lamb and George Kostritsky, which then created the name and firm RTKL.
When first approaching the building the entry isn’t easily found, however following the flow of people that seemed to work in that area we walked through two doors. Upon entering we had to fill out our names and reason for visit, this was a security precaution. The building houses other business and not just RTKL. Once we all signed in we were allowed to enter the elevators and up we went to the second floor. Upon leaving the elevator we enter the lobby and are greeted by Ross Smith. Smith shows us to their break area / free workspace, and in this area we have chairs, high top, fridges, vending machines, tables, and a ping pong table (the ping pong table just came in, but didn’t come with paddles or balls). After a 30 min introduction of the firm and projects, Smith led us back to the lobby and later to the studio space. The space looking friendly and enjoyable to work in. Lots of space for work, gathering spaces and movement. Along each wall that separated spaces there is a dry erase and seating which to me seemed like a great idea to allow for flow of ideas. Each wall that wasn’t separating a space, there was graphics of designs and other places to pin up material. Forgot to mention that this place was remodeled, the person was an in house architect that laid out the new areas and interior aspects. At the end of the Studio tour, it leads out to the elevators and from there we asked questions that we had. Once the questions were over we were on our way to explore whatever else we wanted.
At the end of this firm tour, I realized that this is a firm I would like to work at, the space looked comfortable, people friendly and it felt right for me. I’ve visited other firms and I didn’t get the same reaction to their workspace as I did to this one, so if at all possible visit RTKL.