How I Work

To be an architect is to be an observer. My work is constantly informed by the art and architecture that I see during my travels abroad and in my wanderings in my hometown. Without a sense of observation and exploration, my creativity becomes stagnant; that staleness would inevitably carry over to my professional designs. Travel and critical observation are an important part of my growth as an architect. My watercolors, the physical expression of my keen eye, are an integral part of who I am and what I do.
What do you see when you travel? Often, we’re so engaged in snapping a photo and getting to the next vista that the nuances of the scene are lost. I have found that there is an art to observation. When I travel, I do so with my favorite pen, a small, old Windsor-Newton travel watercolors box, a collapsible campstool and folding table. I take time to stop, set up my seat and my watercolors (or climb on a wall!), and take in the scene. In those moments of stillness, I can see details like proportion, color, patina and light that would be lost to the harried tourist with a camera. The exercise of watercoloring enriches my travel experience, my artistic wellbeing and my practice as an architect.
Laura Melville Thomas, AIA
Principal at Melville Thomas Architects, Inc. / Laura Thomas Studio

To see Laura's architectural work go to the Laura Thomas Studio at:


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