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Profile: Pasqualino Pannone AIA

Name: Pasqualino Pannone AIA
Job title and company: Project manager, ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge
Degree(s): BArch, Roger Williams University
Professional interests: AIA Massachusetts Government Affairs Committee, chairman of the Sharon Planning Board, ARC Sustainable Design Committee

What are you working on now?
University of Massachusetts/Amherst Life Sciences Laboratory fit-up, among other smaller projects.

How do you explain to your wife what you do for a living?
My wife (then girlfriend) called me at work once when I had just started an internship and asked what I was doing.  I proudly said, “Rendering elevations for a presentation.” When I explained what that meant, she said, “So you’re coloring.”

What inspired you today?
Whenever some mundane, tedious task gets me down, I scroll through ArchDaily for a shot of inspiration.  

What industry buzzword would you kill?
Value engineering.  It’s really value elimination.

When you’re working, do you discuss or exchange ideas with your colleagues?
As part of the office culture, we have scheduled design reviews that are open to everyone.  It’s a great way to be interactive and feel as though you can contribute on multiple projects.

What are you reading?
The Ambassadors, by Henry James.

Do you sketch by hand or digitally?
By hand, of course! 

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?
Nowhere I didn’t go willingly.

Where is the field of architecture headed?
Hopefully toward a renewed regionalism… [toward] buildings that are contextual and not solely [reflecting] a passing fad.  

Can design save the world?
That’s asking a lot. Architecture can be inspirational, but the people who occupy it are challenged with saving the world. 

What do you hope to contribute from your work?
A place people will remember.

Who or what deserves credit for your success?
All the way back to my first memories, I’ve always thought of myself as an architect; it was just a matter of learning how to be one. Sheer drive and stubbornness got me through the tougher times, but without my family’s constant motivation, it would’ve been a lot tougher. 

Your least favorite college class?
Mechanical systems, and the class I regret most [for] not paying more attention [to].

If you could give the you-of-10-years-ago advice, what would it be?
Don’t stop exercising.

Your favorite Boston-area structure?
Kresge Chapel; Bates Hall, Boston Public Library; and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Emphasis on space and not structure alone.

Who would you like the BSA to interview next?
Elizabeth Whittaker [principal, Merge Architects]

If you were on a late-night TV show, what would your 30-second plug be?
What architecture means to me is taking the elegance and sophistication of design [and] then grounding it in the reality of how people use space.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?
The only failure that counts is dying.