Curtis Calkins


I am a Masters of Architecture Graduate from the University of Kansas and continual student of life. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and I am a first generation college student, raised by a single mother of five, of which I am the oldest. Poverty has shaded my past with misfortune but my blessings and fortitude have shaped my architectural perspective as not only a profession, but as a way of life. At a young age, I endured many emotional and financial hardships that forced me to assemble a resilient, intelligent, and intuitive character to succeed against unfavorable odds. My perseverance is largely attributed to my mother’s example, but it is also a result of my ability to view my life in third person, try to understand my universal placement, and use experiences to develop wisdom and empathy.
Ever-advancing technology has given us more capability than ever thought possible, while as a whole, the focus of industries’ efforts have been in failing behaviors of consumption and conservation of human and natural resources rather than devoting energy into tangible, sustainable solutions for fundamental environmental and human rights’ issues. I have a spiritual and moral autonomy to be a contributor to the positive progression of historical preservation, sustainable design, and the support infrastructure that is needed for such a shift in economic, social, and environmental design. I believe I have the obligation to formulate and enact original solutions to real world problems by applying my skills, talents, and experience in philanthropic endeavors that will make tangible improvements in the lives of those who have limited public voices. My perspective of the human condition mandates that all people, regardless of social caste or tax bracket deserve to have access to good, intelligent design.
This same tenant of human respect is guiding a new generation of locally and globally concerned, environmentally conscious professionals. We are fostering a new paradigm that is taking shape in the form of creativity that emerges from group activity, not a psychological approach of development stages and individual genius; it is about learning by doing and learning how to do the new in an uncertain, ambiguous, complex space–our lives today. I am interested in historic preservation because I am aware that one must make homage to history to understand and prevent past mistakes while guiding the human sub-conscious to a more sustainably harmonious future. This starts with the anthropological disciplines making efforts to subversively improve our social competency and as perspectives change, mainstream society will begin to respond.
An example of this social awareness is Public Interest Design (PID) and SEED. PID is the practice of design with the goal that every person should be able to live in a socially, economically, and environmentally healthy community. I traveled to Cincinnati to attend the Public Interest Design Institute’s SEED training because their philosophy accurately aligns my views of architecture and its relationship to people and the fundamental issues that we face as a species. I think that architecture has the ability and responsibility to include everyone in the scope of future development. As a society, we have the technology, knowledge, and integrity to address and solve design flaws in every facet of our behavior by designing new perspectives of “place” and returning the significance of a home.
Above all I am searching for a opportunities that allow me to maintain and manifest my convictions of social service, honesty, integrity, and just work. I am interested in public interest design, historical preservation and sustainable strategies because I feel these subsets of architecture/humanity make room and embrace some my most valuable assets: common sense, empathy, and love.