Women in Architecture Series


Kirsten is a Stockholder at Steffian Bradley Architects and is the Managing Principal of SBA’s Connecticut Office. She sat down with us to talk about her experiences as a women in architecture. 

What influenced your decision to become an architect/designer? When did you know you wanted to be one?
I knew I wanted to be in design in high school, but I didn’t know what type of design, so I went to undergrad for interiors and graphic design and then I knew my sophomore year that I wanted to be an architect. I just knew that I wanted to be part of the bigger ‘design’ picture. That decision also was based off the architecture summer program I did abroad in Italy with Syracuse University.  I completed my undergrad at RIT and went straight on to get my masters in architecture at Virginia Tech, I wanted to go somewhere warmer.

By your own estimation, what percentage of your graduating peers were women?
We probably had maybe a third to half of the class that was women. Now, how many of those women are actually practicing, I’m not sure. I would say that most of them are still in design, whether or not they are licensed.

What drew you to your specialty, healthcare architecture?
I come from a family of physicians and it was nice to have something to relate to with my father and my sister. Also, I knew from a technical standpoint I wanted something more challenging, as opposed to residential architecture. I also wanted something with meaning behind it where I could make a better place for patient, families and staff.

When you first entered the workforce, did you benefit from having a female mentor?
*laughing* No, they were all men. The female mentors that have come out for me are people that I’ve worked with-clients-that are healthcare VP’s, women, that have been inspiring to me.

What is your advice to young women just entering or thinking of entering this field?
Make sure you intern! You should go into architecture because you are fascinated by it and you love putting puzzles together and pulling teams together. That’s what I do, I put teams together to succeed, and from the architect standpoint it’s not just about the design of the building, but about how we put that team together to make a building work—that’s the unwritten piece of what architects are good at, at least in my eyes.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given (in general)?
You’re not going to know everything, and that’s okay to admit as long as you find the resources to solve it and learn form it!

Interview with Kirsten Waltz, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED AP

  • HAIO Challenges Designers to Reduce Hospital-Associated Infections (HAIs)

    Patients sometimes contract healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) during their medical or surgical treatments. According to a patient resource website, patientcarelink.org, HAIs can occur in a variety of settings, from hospital and surgery centers to ambulatory clinics,

  • SBA Wins 6th ASHE Vista Award for New Construction

      Steffian Bradley Architects (SBA) is pleased to announce that we are part of the team receiving the 2015 VISTA award sponsored by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE). The Baystate Health Project Team, including SBA along with Suffolk Construction and R

  • SBA Principal to Moderate SMPS CT Panel

      Principal Chris Waltz will be moderating 'Connecticut Projects & Projections,' the final program of the Society for Marketing Professional Services Connecticut Chapter (SMPS CT) 2014/15 season. The program will discuss what is happening in Connecticut's A/E/C

  • Baystate South Wing Tour

      Architects and designers at Steffian Bradley Architect’s (SBA) Connecticut Office recently had the chance to tour the Baystate South Wing and Pharmacy Relocation Project at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. The project has been under construction for about

  • MCHC Rock the Boat

    Pictured above: Dr. Azzie Young, Director of MCHC; Principal Steve Van Ness and...

      Principal Steve Van Ness accompanied by his wife Janet Van Ness, public health consultant at  John Snow, Inc., attended the 19th annual ‘Rock the Boat’  fundraising gala in early May. Launched in 1997, the event raises funds to support the work of the Mattapan

  • 10/23/2015

    Located on an island off Xiamen, a major city in southeastern China, Gulangyu is a small 0.77-square-mile pedestrian-only tourist destination that is home to approximately 20,000 residents. On Gulangyu’s narrow streets, only electric tourist buggies and a few fire trucks provide any vehicular traffic. Songyu ferry terminal had currently become inadequate to meet the demands of local and

  • 10/22/2015

    2014 was a year of breakthroughs for development in Qianhai, China. This rapidly expanding hot spot saw extensive new construction, financial innovations, property development, and institutional progress. 20 important projects were initiated by Qianhai in December.    Investment for these new projects totaled more than $16 billion (US). They will include permanent

  • 06/15/2015

    The new Art Performance Center at Berkshire Hills Music Academy is currently in design and we couldn't wait to share these exterior sketches by Principal Designer Derek Noble, AIA, LEED AP. To learn more about this project, check out our previous blog post.   

  • 04/06/2015

    Reception Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) intends to open a 21,300 square-foot Outpatient Oncology and Infusion Center in Waltham, Massachusetts. This Center will provide cancer patients with ongoing evaluation, planning, treatment, and follow-up services subsequent to diagnosis. It is intended to accommodate the growing needs of MGH’s Cancer Center patients who are seeking care closer to

  • 03/18/2015

    Located in the hills of South Hadley, Massachusetts, Berkshire Hills Music Academy (BHMA) is dedicated to facilitate the education and support of young adults with Williams syndrome and other special needs to develop life skills through the use of music activities and training.  SBA is developing a design for the historic campus that integrates the original Skinner estate with a new state