Alum Chanelle Hurst speaks at our Annual Champagne Breakfast

Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be speaking to you about the impact CHAD has had on my professional career.

I come from humble beginnings as the only child in a single parent household. My mother was and still is my biggest supporter in my artistic capabilities, but was not always gentle about encouraging me to challenge myself. I’ll never forget the time she ripped up my traced drawing of Winnie the Pooh and told me to draw it again but by myself. I was only in kindergarten but from that day on I knew I was an artist. I found myself drawn towards drawing, painting, and building. By the time I was twelve I had already completed an extensive mural project and installed tile flooring, both in my room. When high school selections rolled around my mother thought that CHAD would be a great alternative than more traditional schools; she could not have been more right.

At CHAD I was able to enhance my self taught drawing and painting skills as well as gain exposure to the technical aspects of architecture and design. The freedom of the studio learning environment engendered critical exploration. I was eager to learn as much as I could and would often stay after school to fiddle around with CAD and Sketchup. To this day I am  astounded by the dedication of the staff and faculty of CHAD. Some of whom may still recall changing their own personal plans so that I could translate the details of a project from my head and paper drawings to a computer screen, in a language that professionals would be able to understand. These sessions enabled me to excel not only academically, but also on the real world as I interned at Klingstubbins in 2007. The hands on experience at an actual firm was all I needed to know that I wanted to pursue architecture in college. I found a field that integrated my interests from early childhood, building and drawing. Vasquez had a pivotal role in my college application process. His guidance helped me to successfully apply and receive acceptance offers from seven colleges across the country. I finally enrolled at the California College of Art.

The foundation from CHAD served me well at the collegiate level. I was able to expand my horizons from domestic pursuits and spend time abroad. In China, I was a part of the team commissioned to create a residential building that integrated agriculture in the form of rooftop garden space and a farmers market for the community. That’s beautiful thing about architecture and design; the perpetual ability to fuse elements from seemingly unrelated fields as innovation is an endless resource.

Soon I will be celebrating my second anniversary with EwingCole; which is conveniently located just a few blocks from CHAD. I feel that my artistic background is highly valued within the firm. Their commitment to professional development as demonstrated in the Intern Development Program has me on the fast, yet slow track to acquire my architecture license. In this day and age, I find myself so fortunate to be working in my field of study while continually learning from one of Philadelphia’s most reputable firms.

In parting, I’ll share my favorite quote from Wendell Berry: Nobody can discover the world for someone else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.