Architect Talking to Architects: Larry Paschall, AIA

Larry Paschall, AIA, is vice president, project architect, and unsuspecting party planner for HPD Architecture. He is the organizer of The Architecture Happy Hour and co-host of The Architecture Happy Hour podcast. In his spare time, he serves on the board of directors for both the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce and its charitable organization, the Leadership Education & Advocacy Program (LEAP).

Larry Paschall, AIA – photo courtesy Larry Paschall

Where did you grow up?

My husband will tell you he’s still waiting for that to happen. Geographically, I grew up in Arlington, Texas. I moved to Dallas in 1993 and have been here since, with the exception of the two years spent at College Station finishing my degree. My husband grew up in Montana and refuses to move anywhere colder than Dallas — which has no bearing on the fact that we’re still here.

If you were not an architect, what other profession would you have pursued?

Perhaps historian. History — no matter what type — has always had a fascination for me. Prior to finally accepting that architecture was what I really should pursue, I was intent on getting an undergraduate degree in history with a focus on Russia prior to the Bolshevik Revolution. History may have been why architecture held such a fascination for me — the history behind design and practice tied in with the idea that we are constantly building on the past.

What is the one building that you just had to see for yourself?

I don’t know that there’s one building I just had, or have, to see for myself. I want to see them all! On a recent trip to London, my first stop was the Tower of London. I walked right past St. Paul’s Cathedral to get to it. My husband commented on how the Tower seemed so bland compared to the surrounding buildings now. However, you can easily imagine how daunting the entire complex must have been — not to mention the history behind the buildings and what went on there. (I did get to St. Paul’s Cathedral before I left. It was okay.)

En route to the Tower of London – photo courtesy Larry Paschall

Do you have a favorite website or blog that you regularly visit?

I follow a number of different Tumblr blogs, my favorite of which is Clients from Hell. Because let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Some of the stories leave you stunned because you can’t believe the conversation. But at some point you’ll be nodding your head in recognition.

Beer, wine, or cocktail — what is your drink of choice?

Yes to all the above. It just depending on the time of day, the state of my mood, and the location. For example, take New Orleans. There, you learn very quickly that you can’t start drinking vodka tonics at 10:30 in the morning and expect to end your day at 10:30 at night. So, you start with beer and after dinner shift to a cocktail. Note to anyone who hasn’t been there: avoid anything with the word grenade, bomb, or voodoo.

Things not to avoid in New Orleans: the local architecture – photo courtesy Larry Paschall

New Orleans during Mardi Gras at a GLBT parade — photo courtesy of Larry Paschall

What type of advice would you offer to young professionals?

First, don’t buy into the idea that just because your boss suffered as an intern, you have to do the same. We seem to pick up that mentality while at school and somehow we carry that with us into our jobs. Just because your boss worked 60 hours a week as an intern does not mean you need to. Manage your time, be efficient, and…

Second, be sure to have a life outside of the office. Find out what you have a passion for, get out of the office, and participate. Don’t feel obligated to become involved in an architecture-related organization. Look for the chance to connect with your community through business networks, community organizations, and nonprofits. One of the smartest moves I ever made was to become part of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce. Not only did joining help me connect with my community, but it allowed me to develop personally and professionally by sharing the value of architects with a group who had never met one.

Finally, find yourself a good mentor outside of where you work. He or she can offer you an unbiased perspective as well as a sounding board when you find yourself frustrated or put-out with your job. Odds are, that person's been there and can offer you some advice on how to deal with your boss, co-workers, and even clients. 

Website: hpdarch.com

Twitter: @ArchHappyHour@hpdarchitecture

Facebook: The Architecture Happy HourHPD Architecture

Podcast: The Architecture Happy Hour

Networking: meetup.com/TheArchitectureHappyHour

"Architects Talking to Architects" is a column on the Texas Society of Architects blog that spotlights members from across the state at different points of development in their career. All participants are given the same set of questions with instructions to answer any six, giving them the opportunity to highlight the items they feel are most interesting. Is there someone you'd like to see featured in "Architects Talking to Architects?" Email communications@texasarchitects.org to let us know!