We are SCB

Ben Harrison

Associate | Boston

How long have you been at SCB?

5 years.

How did you end up at SCB?

After moving to Chicago with my wife, a friend told me about SCB. I was impressed with the firm’s portfolio in higher education and felt it would be a great place to continue my career. I met with Jeff Zdenahlik and Fernando Araujo, and the rest is history.

What initially attracted you to study design or pursue a career in design?

At a young age, on a family trip to Arizona, we visited Arcosanti. I had no knowledge of the place prior to visiting but found myself fascinated with the spaces and how they were created. It started a lifelong fascination with the built environment. Once in high school, I was able to attend a technical school part time where I learned architectural drafting and entered an annual competition among all the draftsman to design a single family American four-square home. The winner of the competition would then have their residential design built by the next year’s tradesman classes. I won the competition and had the very unique experience of watching the construction of my first building while simultaneously applying to architecture schools.

What advice can you give to young or future designers and planners?

The best advice I can give to young designers is to listen in on as many meetings with clients and consultants as possible. Even if you are not actively participating in the meeting, it is invaluable experience that helps you understand as much of the building as possible. I like to think that architects don’t need to know everything about any one topic, but we need to know something about every topic. At the end of the day, being a good architect is not about having all the answers, but knowing the right questions to ask.

What was/is your favorite/most rewarding project you have ever worked on and why?

The most rewarding project I have ever worked on is the Academic and Residential Complex at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC ARC). I was lucky to be able to work on that project from its early conceptual design, while we were still evaluating sites for the project, all the way through the actual occupancy of the building. On move-in day, I took a long lunch break and went to the building where I was able to help some freshmen move into their new home- a home that I helped design. Those freshmen seemed to love having the architect help them move into their dorm room – it was one of the best moments of my career.