Lesley Castle, Architect at de Reus, was our first Maui office hire last April! With experience in high-end residential, boutique hotels, and mixed-use design, Lesley previously worked at Gensler’s Los Angeles office and as part of Soho House’s in-house design team. She received her M.Arch from SCI-Arc and studied business at University of the Virgin Islands. This Women’s History Month, Lesley, who recently became a Licensed Architect in Hawaii, shares her insights and sources of inspiration with us:
Inspiration / “As a very visual person, I’m always looking at visuals across different design fields for inspiration – including photography, interior design, art, and fashion. My graduate program focused on architectural theory and the study of architectural forms. With this background, I think about architecture through a theoretical lens and how the design will make someone feel. Overall, architecture is a field with high energy, endless creativity and provides opportunities to meet and interact with many personalities and professions. The fact that there is always something more to learn continues to keep me interested.”
Mentorship / “Academically, many of my instructors at SCI-Arc were male so when I started my thesis, I sought out a female thesis advisor, Marcelyn Gow. With her guidance, my thesis examined the exact, inexact and anexact processes in architecture and how these methods influence design and architecture. Professionally, at Gensler, I worked closely with Annmarie Plenge, former Principal at Gensler, who became one of my mentors and lead many of our team projects. Along with being an incredible business woman, she’s also a talented designer and respected leader. I appreciate the work-life balance that Annmarie and Marcelyn both encourage in our profession.”
Advice for Women in Architecture / “Don’t underestimate how long the process is to become a licensed architect – go for it even if it is costly and time consuming, in the end it’s worth it! Right now, 22% of licensed architects in the US are women, however, that’s changing and with more women entering the profession, embrace doing things differently and your own way. Many women often have different management and communication styles – it’s okay to change the way we work and how we engage.”
Current Projects / “Right now I’m working on two residential projects in Maui. The first is a waterfront property in Wailea now in the CD phase. It’s the renovation of a house built 15 years ago by a Palm Springs architect. The house has two existing 30-foot tall curving walls that define the overall floor plan, around which spaces are built, making it a complicated, challenging, and interesting project. The other is a tropical modern, single-family house located on the north shore of Maui now under construction. I visit the construction site biweekly to see progress so it’s really exciting; everything is happening before my eyes. I also work closely with the contractor and dRA team on selecting new items for the project and learn about where materials and supplies are being sourced or manufactured.”
Included here are photos of Lesley’s travels, thesis work, and de Reus projects now underway.