Student Spotlight: Meet Kendall

Selfie taken by Kendall Claus.


Tell us a little background about yourself.

A: I was born in Australia and grew up in Oklahoma. I embody both cultures (I like koalas and cowboy hats). I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree from Miami University in Ohio in 2011 and since then have worked at Lake|Flato Architects in San Antonio, Brand + Slater Architects in Brisbane, Australia, and TAP Architecture in Oklahoma City, OK. Although I have gathered some excellent work experience to date, I missed school and am now a first year M. Arch. candidate here at UT.

What is your role on the UT-TUM team?

A: I’m the Austin based Design leader as well as BIM manager.

Why did you join Solar Decathlon?

A: I had an interest in getting involved before I even applied to graduate schools. I’ve developed an intense interest in sustainable design; I became a LEED AP last year. I believe sustainable design is the way of the future (and the U.S. is way behind) and this competition promotes that notion as well as accessible education on a wide- ranged scale. This competition is allowing me to share my personal experience and expertise as well as advance them. I value the student team dynamic and the creativity being pushed through is inspirational. The Solar Decathlon competition is a great real-world experience for young designers.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience so far?

A: There’s no denying real world experiences are the most valuable to any young professional. I am enjoying learning about various systems, materials, structural strategies, etc. This competition is all about experimentation, which is unique. In the real world there are a lot of inhibitions involved due to demanding clients. I am really looking forward to hopefully going to the actual competition next October to enjoy the fruits of our labor! It will also be exciting to see how the public reacts to our design.

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

A: I hope that this house will educate others how design and sustainability can coexist in an affordable way. I also hope that this house creates opportunity to improve neighborhood quality within the city of Austin.

How do you like living in Austin?

A: I absolutely love Austin. I originally fell in love with southern Texas when I was living in San Antonio following undergraduate graduation. Growing up in Oklahoma, I was influenced by a stigma that Texas, to put it bluntly, “sucked”. I now know this is not the case. Southern Texas embodies a very Australian vibe, actually. I enjoy the outdoorsy, “weird”, artsy vibe Austin embodies. The food, the weather, and the people are all great.

Dec 2, 2014 by Molly McNamara in NexusNews

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