Alex Woodhouse, architectural designer
A: It didn't at all. I grew up playing Legos and building forts and all that stuff, so I had a natural inclination to go with architecture because I was just building things my whole childhood. And now as an adult I'm an architect, and it's just perfect.
I knew in about ninth grade, about 10 years ago, that I'd be an architect so I went to school, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and studied for a year in Italy and graduated last year with a degree in architecture. I had two internships and started my current job back in April.
I love it. It's one of the top three choices of jobs I could have in the Northwest.
Q: Would you change your name if you could, and why or why not?
A: No way. Not a chance. It definitely is convenient, I suppose, from a business standpoint, and it's a different last name, too. I haven't come across Woodhouse that often, so there's the rarity of it, too.
My uncle is an architect in Chicago and his firm is David Woodhouse Architects, so if I ever move to Chicago I can talk with him about a job. He's pretty well established.
Q: If you could choose another career, what would it be?
A: At this point, if I could choose a different profession right now, I'd move back to Italy and become an authentic pizza chef.
My dad and I, we make pizzas, and we use homemade pizza dough. So I would definitely do something like that.
My favorite pizza from Italy is sausage and French bread pizza, but my dad and I, we make everything, every kind of pizza, and we make the red sauce ourselves, and we have pesto and prosciutto, a pretty big mix.
Q: How do you know when someone has picked up on the fact that your name is an aptonym?
A: I definitely get asked the question: Is the only thing you design wood houses? That's the first clue that they have picked up on it, and then I say no, because I haven't done any wood houses as of yet. I've done a pretty short list of projects so far, and now I'm working on a convention center in Cleveland that's concrete and steel, large-scale building materials.
I haven't spent enough time as a practicing architect to really use my name in those types of social encounters. But I'd like to have my own practice someday, and I'm sure I'll have plenty of encounters by then.
Q: How do people react to the combination of your name and job? Do they get it? Any funny stories as a result?
A: Can't think of anything too obvious, but in one class I took in college, we had this project where we had to make name tags for our desk, and somehow we'd have to use our name to make a picture representation of who we were, but I couldn't use Woodhouse because it would be too easy, like cheating.
So I made a name tag that was the image of a hollow leg, like a manikin leg, and from the leg there was water pouring on a flame, so my name tag would read "A leg would douse" for Alex Woodhouse. That was the best option I came up with.
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