nn Sobiech Munson, AIA CSI CCS, registered architect/specifier
with Substance Architecture in Des Moines, Iowa, has a knack for
simplifying things. For instance, her “campaign” for city council in
Slater, Iowa, a couple years ago (she’s currently serving a four-year
term) was based on the following strategy: “It seems like it would be useful to
have someone like me on the council. If you think so, then vote for me. If not,
there are other people to vote for too.”
This attitude does not a ruthless politician make.
But then again, she never had any such ambitions. Her goals in taking on
this role—which helped grant her an AIA Iowa Citizen Architect Award last
year—were way more grounded.
Munson’s town was dealing with
issues such as older existing infrastructure and education system
growth—topics where her voice
would be a necessary one in the conversation.
“Historically, architecture has not
been accessible to a lot of people, and
a lot of people don’t even understand
the value of what we do,” Munson said.
“And in many cases it’s our own fault if
we’re just sitting in our offices 80 hours
a week talking to each other or drawing
Ann Sobiech Munson, one of 14 new recipients of
this year’s AIA Young Architects Award, says the
way to become a more skilled professional is to
stop hiding behind your job…
ABOVE + LEFT
Munson typically sticks to a 30-hour work week at Substance
Architecture so she can devote more time to the A&D
community and her own neighborhood. The Best Practice
Recommendations for the Design Profession whitepaper focuses
on ways firms can help architects and designers achieve a
healthy work/life balance. Opposite: Munson speaks at the Fall
2014 AIA Iowa Convention at the Community Choice Credit
Union Convention Center, Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
PHO TOGRAPH Y BY HANNAH STEUBEN