Male student stands in grassy area with NYC skyline behind him. Anthony Sysoukrath, an Honors College Path student and architecture major from Van Buren, Arkansas, has just returned from his first-ever trip to New York City and he’s jazzed: “There’s so much life and energy there – it really resonates with me. There’s always something to do, something to see, people to meet and talk to. I really also enjoyed the diversity a lot. It’s interesting to see all of these people from different backgrounds, heritages, and social classes, and they all live there together.”

Anthony traveled to NYC with two architecture professors and 40 other third-year students – site visits like these are an important part of the studio curriculum in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. The students were tasked with sketching their impressions of the city and scouting out the site for a final project in studio.

Why architecture?
“My uncle introduced me to a video game, Ratchet & Clank. It was about saving the world, but I was more interested in the architecture – there were skyscrapers floating above, sky walkways and sky bridges. Living in a small town, on my way to school I’d see rusty storage sheds and grain silos. The game made me realize that there are so many more possibilities out there. Like, how can I change the way we’re living for the better, down the road?”

Student is drawing in a small notebook.Challenges
“Drawing! Coming to architecture school, they really do throw you in the deep end: ‘Have 20 iterations ready by Monday.’ You’re forced to learn how to draw. But it’s very independent. Everybody develops their own drawing techniques, their own language, and they’re interested in different things. That’s the great thing about this kind of collaborative course – you make great friends and you feed off each other. You learn tips and tricks from others. We’re all friends here so we’re comfortable sharing our secrets with each other.”

“In my projects a lot of my decisions are based on how I can bring the community together. For example, this model is an art retreat next to the Frisco Trail here in Fayetteville. I organized the buildings to create a courtyard in the middle, which becomes a flexible space for events like open mics and painting classes.”

Our final project will be based in New York City – we’ll be designing a Maritime Museum in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. So we went from a relatively small plot of land with a small program to designing a full museum in a major city.”

“Nothing in our primary education has prepped us for architecture school – it’s such an out-there field. It was a lot to handle when I first came to school and my first semester didn’t go as well as I hoped it would. Path helped me to stay on track. Path has also taught me a lot of time management strategies, resume building and basic problem-solving skills – just like, ‘Oh no, I’m in a situation – what do I need to do to fix it?’

I used to be very shy. In architecture school we have to present our work every semester to other students and a panel of professors. Path, and the architecture program, have brought me out of that shy shell I put myself in.”

What’s next
“After graduation I would like to move to New York City with a good job offer so that I could actually make it there – it’s pricey! Eventually I’d like to start my own firm and design my own projects. I like public buildings, like museums, hotels, hospitals. Skyscrapers are what I really want to get into!”

Male student is working in an architecture studio.

Anthony Sysoukrath at work in the third-year architecture studio at Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design.