For our first installment of MOYA Voices, we talked with Olivia Calalo Kumar, a Junior Project Architect at Moya Design Partners. Olivia talks about design, sustainability, and the importance of representation and role models.
Q: How did you get into architecture?
I’m originally from San Francisco, and so is my family. I grew up in that area, but my maternal grandfather was an architect and he practiced in Southern California and in Mexico, which is where my mom was raised. Even though he passed away when I was really young and I never really got to know him personally, I grew up hearing about him and his work as an architect. That was my first introduction to what architecture actually is. When I was younger, I got to visit some of his projects after he had passed away. Since that early age, I always wanted to do architecture, even though I didn’t know too much about it. I just had that idea in my head.
When I got to high school, I really liked math and physics and I thought “oh this is perfect” – I’ll study hard and try to do well in math and science to get into architecture school. However, when I started architecture school at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, I learned very quickly that there’s very little math and science in architecture, at least not in the way I understood it. That was more the realm of engineers. At first, I was a little scared because my idea of what architecture was for a long time was different than reality. It was more conceptual and artistic. I actually ended up really liking it, and the creative aspect drew me in even more than I’d anticipated. That’s where I got started in architecture, and I have loved it ever since.