Pete Rasmussen, AIA has a thirst for urban design, community development, and architecture that provides a positive impact to the quality of everyday life. In his six years with Shepley Bulfinch, he has worked on award-wining projects like Lantana Hall at Arizona State University, CA Ventures Rise at State College, and the historic renovation of Shepley’s Phoenix office. In between work on University of Arizona’s Chemistry Building Renovation and volunteering in the community, Pete sat down with us to share a bit about his path to architecture and his thoughts on the future of the industry.
What inspired you to study architecture?
Legos–I loved playing with them growing up. It was my first introduction to the built environment. Ever since I was five or six years old, it’s what I wanted to do. I went to college at the University of Utah, and I ended up studying political science and economics, with an emphasis in international relations, knowing I ultimately wanted to get my master’s in architecture.
How did you merge your interests in international relations and politics with your passion for architecture?
My undergraduate degrees give me a much broader approach to design, providing an understanding of how a project impacts the community. What we do as architects has a much larger effect on our communities, and if we aren’t thinking about the impact the profession has on sustainability, social justice, and equity, we’re doing the world a disservice.
What motivates you most in your work?
I find different inspiration in every project I work on. Each one reaches a different audience, and provides an opportunity to do more than just create a new building. I believe we have a social responsibility to have an impact beyond our day jobs.
We’re designing buildings that have generational impacts. I hope that as architects, we can all really embrace and start to change that which is in our purview, particularly economic inequity, sustainability, and social justice issues. We should be bringing that into all our work in some way or another. We have an opportunity to affect change in a really interesting way, to find ways to remedy wrongs or to be a better community partner in what we’re doing.
I know how lucky I am in my life, and I’m really so thankful for the support of and sacrifices from my family, friends, and my community. I try to give back as much as I can. For me, architecture is a way to do that.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I love travel and experiencing other cultures across the world. Of course, my wife and I enjoy the architecture as we walk new cities, but even more, we love to try new foods. Experiencing life outside of design makes design even better.