Student Spotlight: Meet Amanda

Amanda Heineman outside of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
Amanda Heineman and friends enjoying the view at the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset.

give us a little background about yourself.

A: I am a 4th year undergraduate interior design student at UT Austin who will be graduating this spring. I was born and raised in The Woodlands, TX where I spent most of my childhood drawing and playing with my cat Bouquet. Ever since the 4th grade, I knew I wanted to be a designer. In my free time, I still enjoy drawing, playing tennis, and spending time with friends and family.

why did you join Solar Decathlon?

A: I wanted to be a part of the Solar Decathlon team because I am extremely interested in sustainable living. My initial interest in small, efficient housing was spurred by an AIA homes tour I went on in Houston several years ago. Some of the houses I saw were made from shipping containers and many of them had water collection systems integrated into the design, similar to what we are doing with our Solar Decathlon house. I also wanted to experience the construction phase of design because we rarely have the opportunity to see our designs produced.

what is your role in the UT-TUM team?

A: I have taken on a fundraising role on the team. My main task is to try to secure as many material donations for the house as possible. It has been a challenge trying to source every single item we need, but it has also been a great learning experience. This job has helped me develop client relationship skills, as well as enhance my architectural knowledge.

what have you enjoyed most about your experience so far?

A: Thus far, I have enjoyed seeing how the design has transformed with everyone’s unique insight, working with our international teammates from TUM, and securing materials donations, so we can make this house a reality!

what are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

A: This year, I am most looking forward to building the house, so we can all see our ideas come to life. After graduation, I am excited to start my career as an interior designer working at Gensler in Houston.

what do you think the impacts of Solar Decathlon (or hope) are on the industry/architecture/the general public?

A: I hope our Solar Decathlon house will show people everywhere that design and comfort do not need to be sacrificed in order to live sustainably. I also hope that it will empower people to explore alternative ways in which they can collect their own water and energy.

how do you like living in Austin?

A:  I love living in Austin! There is no place quite like it. It is so refreshing to live in an area where creativity is so highly admired, where people are encouraged to be weird, and where nature brings everyone together.

where do you see yourself in five years?

A: It is hard to say where I see myself in five years. I would like to think I will be doing something I love with talented people I admire and can learn from. Right now, the present is what I am most focused on.

who is your favorite architect?

A: My dad. He’s the best! Second favorite, Peter Zumthor for Therme Vals.

Apr 3, 2015 by Ariana Hallenbeck in NexusNews

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