Angela Spadoni, AIA, recently joined Skender as director of residential architecture, where she oversees multifamily design projects, including the design of housing modules produced in Skender’s new Chicago manufacturing facility. She has more than 10 years of international and domestic experience, with an impressive background in multifamily, condominium, retail and high-rise design.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in Crown Point, a small town in northwest Indiana. I adore where I grew up—it was small, quiet and as a kid you could ride your bike everywhere. In the evenings, bonfires were a constant activity. Unfortunately suburban Indiana is not the most architecturally inspiring landscape, which is why I chose to study elsewhere. I attended Arizona State University for undergraduate and received my master’s of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. The two schools could not be more different from each other and Indiana: culture, climate, philosophy, community, terrain, density, typology—getting out and experiencing something different allowed me to grow as a designer and a person.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
My father is an architect, and as far back as I can remember that’s what I was going to do with my life. Of course I doubted this decision many times along the way (honestly I still question this decision at times!), but my father often worked from home in the evenings and weekends and I frequently visited job sites with him, so I was introduced to design and construction at a very young age.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I graduated with my master’s degree in 2009…not the greatest time to search for an entry level position. My first “job” in Chicago was an unpaid competition that lasted several weeks. It was actually a really great learning experience and allowed me to work with a very creative group. My first real job was with Eckenhoff Saunders Architects.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
My husband has been the biggest support and mentor in my architectural career. He supported me through many long studio evenings in college, and strongly encouraged me to study at the University of Pennsylvania; a very difficult financial decision. As a developer, he understands architecture from a different lens, but he is very passionate about good design and creating quality buildings. He works with some of the top design professionals in the world and there is nothing I love more than when he comes home and shares a glimpse of their design process with me.
What does a day in the life of Angela Spadoni look like?
Busy. As an architect and mom to a 1.5-year-old, my days are non-stop. I attempt to wake up early enough to get a quick workout in, get ready and spend a little time with my son and husband before heading to the office. My workday is spent collaborating with designers, contractors and manufactures as we work toward producing the first steel-frame prefabricated buildings in Chicago, something I am extremely passionate about delivering. My evenings as a mom do not slow down: walks to the park, playing with cars, bath time and, if I’m lucky, I will grab a little quiet time in the evening with my husband while taking part in some of my favorite pastimes: painting nails, shopping online or watching “The Bachelor.”
What do you like most about your job?
Working with intelligent and creative people. Sometimes I find myself sitting in a meeting and looking around that room and thinking of how grateful I am that I get to work with so many dedicated and passionate people.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
That’s an easy one and the biggest reason I am at Skender. I hope to complete a multifamily housing project using modular/prefabricated construction in Chicago.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
My time away from the office is of course spent with my son and husband. There was a long period where I didn’t think I wanted children, but I have fallen into every single stereotype of being a mom, and when I’m not in the office I want nothing more then to spend every second with my family.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
Glacier National Park. I love active, hiking vacations in the middle of nowhere with no people, no cell phones, no cars, no buildings. And where I hope to go next…back to Glacier.