November 30, 2016 / Culture
At age 13, Jake Petrosky got lost on the west side of the Great Smoky Mountains while backpacking with friends. […]
Jason comes by his aptitude for architecture naturally. His father and grandparents were involved in the carpentry and construction fields. They even built the South Florida house where Jason grew up. “I was always fixing things and building things.”
His high school interest in automotives – “taking cars apart and putting them back together” – led Jason to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. But, while working part-time in an auto shop, he realized the work was not as much fun as the hobby. Then, a chance opportunity to shadow a friend’s father who was an architect proved to be serendipity.
In his senior year, Jason started over, taking prerequisite classes at a community college before transferring to Florida A&M University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. Wanting a more urban setting for graduate school, he chose Virginia Tech’s satellite campus in Alexandria, Va. and opted for a Master of Landscape Architecture degree.
“What drew me to architecture was not so much design work, but my tangible urge from childhood to build things. I knew how to stack bricks and put on a roof.” Landscape architecture gave Jason the chance to broaden his understanding. “You’re no longer thinking about one building, but entire city blocks and large open spaces.”
Serendipity once again intervened to bring Jason to LandDesign. While grocery shopping with his wife who is also an architect, they ran into Matt and Gabby Clark. The chance introduction led to a job offer a few weeks later.
His dual degrees give Jason a unique perspective on the work he does. “There’s the way an architect thinks, and there’s the way a landscape architect thinks. They approach the same project with two different points of view.”
Jason considers himself a utility player at LandDesign, applying his twofold abilities to projects like Tyson’s where he is involved in everything from the entitlement process to construction document detailing. “We’re rebuilding a city and literally shaping the landscape, both physically and metaphorically. People are now staying in Tyson’s. Living here and working here. It’s no longer a transient community. LandDesign has been a big part of changing that and it’s pretty amazing.”
Making and mentoring matters.
While in graduate school, Jason taught wood shop and metal shop. “I loved every moment of it.” Today, he continues to teach the crafts of wood and metal making as a volunteer with TechShop, a workshop and fabrication collaborative that provides access to the tools, equipment, education and other resources for everyone from artists and entrepreneurs to tinkerers and DIY enthusiasts.
His philosophy on mentoring is that the benefits include both teaching and learning.
“It is so important, especially in our field, to learn both old and new skills from each other, and to pass them down and allow people to become the greatest apprentice they can be. I’m still learning every day from my peers. It is so powerful and meaningful.”
Good whiskey matters.
Outside of work, Jason’s newest hobby is aerial photography. He’s also a whiskey aficionado who enjoys it best while sitting on the balcony with his wife and watching life go by. He believes you can tell a lot about a person by what they drink. “To me, a good whiskey is smooth and laid back with a lot of thinking involved in making it. And, I think that’s the type of person I am.”