Kristina Sutulaite was always creative and loved working with her hands but felt these skills didn’t challenge her enough.
“It was not until I moved to the United States and started touring the city of Chicago when I fell in love with the idea of people being able to live, work and simply occupy a form of art,” she said. “Having a chance to impact one’s experience through space fascinated me and it was the perfect study that challenged both sides of my brain.”
Although Sutulaite knew she wanted to study architecture early on, she didn’t know what to expect. After touring the College of DuPage campus and the Technical Education Center, she was amazed by all of the resources available to students.
“Immediately I set up a meeting with Jane Ostergaard, who is the coordinator for the program as well as a professor,” she said. “We discussed the opportunities and challenges the major offers as well as what I could expect in the highly competitive field. I was left with an incredible impression and curiosity, which could only be tamed by joining the program.”
She discovered that the hands-on experience was one of the Architecture program’s biggest assets.
“My professors made sure that every project allowed for my peers and I to explore our strengths while enhancing our understanding of the trait,” she said. “Most of what I learned was put to the test when I was asked to design and build models, create actual structures, and demonstrate my understanding through physical materials. Not only was this the best method of comprehension, but I was faced with tasks and questions that pertain to architects every day.
“One of my favorite aspects of the program was the exposure to real-life situations that my instructors always included. Architecture being a greatly visual form of study requires a vast understanding of the way structures function and the parts they consist of. Being assigned to go out and find physical examples of all that we learned in class immensely built my understanding of the profession and allowed me to acquire skills as a kinetic learner.”
After earning her associate’s degree in Pre-Architecture, Sutulaite transferred to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee with the hope of returning to Chicago and finding a position with an architectural firm specializing in high-end residential structures. She now has done just that, graduating with her bachelor’s degree and the next day starting as a design assistant for Soucie Horner Ltd. Sutulaite is working on a luxury residential project in Lincoln Park and a 65,000-square foot mansion in Naples, Fla.
Having enjoyed her time at College of DuPage, she encourages other students to accept the challenge of higher education.
“Going into my first year at COD, my goal was to familiarize myself with my major as well as complete the required general education courses,” Sutulaite said. “Now I have finished my journey at COD with much more than I imagined this school could offer me. Not only has my passion for Architecture reached new heights, but I learned time management, networking and problem solving skills that are going to carry me through the remainder of my education as well as professional and personal life.
“Architecture can be intimidating, especially to someone who may not know much about the major. However, what is challenging is also vey rewarding. Be open to new ideas, keep up with the news and learn about the best in the field. By educating yourself and developing a greater understanding, ideas will start coming to you much faster as your list of inspiration starts to grow. It is often said that we become alike to those we surround ourselves with, so surround yourself with books of the great men and women of architecture and you will start to think like one.”