A member of the Brightwater team as an architectural designer since 2018, Kristen Eudy has recently taken the lead as the team’s new manager of architecture. She is a registered architect in Georgia, South Carolina and Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in art and architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago and 20 years of architectural work experience. We talked with Kristen to learn a little more about her, what has inspired her work and driven her success.
Q: First tell us a little about your background.
A: Well, I didn’t actually originally go to school for an architecture degree. The thing is, the field of architecture wasn’t really presented to female students as a choice when I was growing up. We were encouraged to go into fields like teaching or nursing, certainly not construction. So, I went back later to pursue my architecture degree, and then when I first started working in architecture it was actually in the commercial arena not residential.
Q: What inspired you to pursue architecture?
At the time, I was working in cost control for an environmental firm, I was surrounded by construction daily, and I’d always had an artistic side in addition to being science and math-minded. Architecture seemed like the perfect direction to go to bring together all those sides I enjoy.
Q: What challenges did you face getting started?
A: Certainly as woman, there were challenges. Construction and homebuilding are still predominantly male fields and it took time and experience to claim a seat at the table and make my voice heard. I just had to push myself to keep putting myself out there, knowing that there would be stumbles but I had to learn from them and not let them discourage me, and hopefully earn the respect of my colleagues when they saw I was determined to push on in spite of the falls. I had to grow into the role over time, but I found people that championed me even as I was just starting out and I learned confidence and patience.
Q: What do you love most about your work?
A: Well, talking about the support I received along the way, one of the things that I love is to mentor young architects, especially young women, to help them succeed and encourage them towards earning their license. In terms of architecture, I love that the design process is a collaborative effort and you know you have a team backing you. You get feedback from your team and you learn to take the critiques and the insights to apply to your design. And also, it’s thrilling when you pour your heart and soul into a design and then it all comes together, and you see it out in the environment. Especially with my kids, it’s something I can point to and say, “I helped to design that.”
Q: What are you looking forward to in your new role?
A: Brightwater is constantly working on such a diversity of homes and styles so I’m really excited to start on new neighborhoods and have a voice in shaping the design and style for the neighborhood, to be able to have a larger impact with the overall design. We’re going to continue working to develop even more designs with architectural integrity and character and also more efficiency.