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Architecture Talent Spotlight #07: Cale Ambuehl
June 23, 2021 at 6:30 PM
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Cale Ambuehl is a graduate of Drury University, Missouri with a Masters of Architecture and several awards as well as features. Constantly drawing structures from childhood, he believes that Architecture creates discourse about the way we live and what it means to be human. Learning more every day, he is eager to continue his journey of studying, thinking, and making.

Archslate: What excites you most about entering the Architecture field?

Cale Ambuehl: Now that I have graduated, what excites me most about entering the field is the chance to work in a collaborative, creative, and fast-paced work environment where no two days present the same challenges and opportunities. Outside of architecture, I am interested in a little bit of everything: music, books, sports, travel, and art. I think my variety of interests comes through in my work.

Community make, a project by cale ambuehl

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Cale Ambuehl's portoflio on Archslate

Archslate: Tell us a little bit about your background and what made you choose Architecture:

Cale Ambuehl: I have gravitated toward architecture since I was a kid, when I used to draw skylines, build my own cities with Legos and Hot Wheels tracks, and do jigsaw puzzles of cities. My affinity for it clicked, even more, when I graduated high school with equal interests in math and English. Architecture is a place I can make use of my structural and logical disposition while letting my creative and artistic side shine.

"What excites me most about entering the field is the chance to work in a collaborative, creative, and fast-paced work environment where no two days present the same challenges and opportunities."

Archslate: What are some of your biggest achievements:

Cale Ambuehl: Two of my studio projects have been recognized at the Drury Hammons School of Architecture’s year-end awards, known as the Librarium awards. These awards are especially meaningful because they are decided by outside jurors, who included Anne Marie Duvall Decker and Larry Scarpa. Additionally, this April I was named in the Future 100 by Metropolis Magazine, which is an incredible honor.

Archslate: What types of projects do you see yourself working on:

Cale Ambuehl: I am at my best when working on a project that requires me to think differently, going against the status quo or questioning a basic assumption. Most of the concepts behind my student projects emerged from rethinking a certain aspect of program, site, or material. I don’t see myself going through the motions to produce the same-old-same-old. I am always asking questions and chasing big ideas.

"Most of the concepts behind my student projects emerged from rethinking a certain aspect of program, site, or material. I don’t see myself going through the motions to produce the same-old-same-old. I am always asking questions and chasing big ideas."

check out Cale's riveting website here

Archslate: How do you describe your design style as an architect:

Cale Ambuehl: It’s hard to think of my work in terms of style because I usually design from the bottom-up instead of the top-down. In school I’ve played around with modularity, large structural frameworks, and moving parts, so the final product often came out like a collage or a compilation of pieces. I am very fascinated by industrial language, dramatic structure, and

architecture with moving parts because you start to get a sense of how things work.

Archslate: Where do you see yourself in five years:

Cale Ambuehl: I’ll be working with a collection of people who share my values and interests, but also challenge me to continue learning and progressing. I would love to write in some capacity. I’m not sure whether that’s for a publication, a school, a firm, or a book, but I definitely see myself keeping the gears spinning in that way. I’d also like to keep working on my interests in art and sculpture, hopefully in a professional capacity.

"I am at my best when working on a project that requires me to think differently, going against the status quo or questioning a basic assumption. I don’t see myself going through the motions to produce the same-old-same-old. I am always asking questions and chasing big ideas."

ACROPOLIS OF PLAY, by cale ambuehl

Archslate: Which is your most favorite project in your portfolio and why:

Cale Ambuehl: Community Make is a special project to me. It is a gallery/studio/makerspace along the Chicago River. The idea was that the experience of art is enhanced by also experiencing its creation and that this idea holds true for architecture as well. I thought a lot about how toys like building blocks and Legos translate to an understanding of actual buildings, and the articulation of the building looks like three “toys” that could be picked up and rearranged. I think part of why the project means so much to me is that I struggled a lot with how to translate the idea into architecture until it all suddenly clicked, and I feel like the result is pretty powerful and distinctly “me.”

Archslate: When searching for internships or jobs, what are you looking for?

Cale Ambuehl: I am looking for a job where thinking critically is not only enabled, but required. I dread the idea of monotonous work where you just go through the motions of getting it done. I want to always be learning, for one thing, but also putting the knowledge and creative abilities I possess to full use. I am looking for a place that does a wide variety of work and one that does not have a prescribed output. I think I can be a valuable asset to a firm that pursues big ideas with an innovative and explorative design process.

"I feel like there are two types of workplaces: those where people go to simply get work done from 9-5, and then those where the work is an extension of your life and passion. As I look for jobs, it’s the former that usually have clearly listed hiring opportunities."

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Artwork by Cale

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Community make, a project by cale ambuehl

Archslate: What are some hurdles you’ve faced while securing the right job?

Cale Ambuehl: I feel like there are two types of workplaces: those where people go to simply get work done from 9-5, and then those where the work is an extension of your life and passion. As I look for jobs, it’s the former that usually have clearly listed hiring opportunities. What I’m looking for—the latter—is a little harder to find. They’re out there, but they’re a lot more discreet or difficult to find your way to than the ones that jump to the top. That’s where I think Archslate comes in as a really good resource to make those connections.

Archslate: Which firms do you admire the most that make it to your list of ‘Dream job’

Cale Ambuehl: I have always loved OMA and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Their work embodies what I value most: questioning assumptions and the status quo and trying to do something experimental and new. Projects like the Seattle Central Library and The Shed reach the full potential of architecture for me. However, I prefer a smaller or mid-size work environment and don’t know if I see myself working for such a high-profile firm. But OMA and DS+R capture what excites me most about architecture.

"I have always loved OMA and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Their work embodies what I value most: questioning assumptions and the status quo and trying to do something experimental and new." - Cale Ambuehl

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