Christian Sheridan, AIA, is an associate principal for BRAVE / Architecture in Houston. He currently designs, manages projects, mentors interns, lectures to students of all ages, provides pro bono services, and volunteers for professional and community organizations. Sheridan's photographic themes range from Texas’ rural firework stands to its suburban neighborhoods and have been recognized by AIA National’s photography competition on multiple occasions. Outside of the office, Sheridan has completed multiple half-marathons and is currently training for his fourth Chicago Marathon.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. To compensate for this, I know a lot of facts about the Hoosier State. After high school, I came to Texas to continue growing up. To answer the questions that usually follow:
- Yes, I play(ed) basketball.
- Yes, it does get cold there.
- And yes, sarcasm keeps us warm in the winter.
If you were not an architect, what other profession would you have pursued?
I would have pursued a career as a photographer and photojournalist. As I see it, the field is similar to architecture in a lot of ways. There’s a balance between creativity, technology, intuition, planning, composition, and talent.
Pen, pencil, or computer?
Intern is not an option?
I prefer using all three, but find myself using the pen and colored pencils more often than the computer. Pen is quicker, and my sketchbook is always in my pocket. There are benefits to them collectively, including efficiencies and aesthetics. Each can throw its weight around to help convey a specific concept at just the right time.
Where do you find inspiration?
Teaching is inspiring. The ideas that come from these conversations are exciting. It’s great talking to students about what architecture is, what it can be, and how it can be accomplished. Facts (and gravity) are no longer stubborn things.
What is the one building that you just had to see for yourself?
Ronchamp, Ronchamp, Ronchamp. In the fall, in the spring, with snow. It’s not just about the building; it’s about the experience of getting there.
During my time as an undergraduate, I kept hearing about it. Each week it was like, “Ok already…It’s great…We get it.”
So, I go. And it’s great. So, I go again. And again.
You should go.
Beer, wine, or cocktail — what is your drink of choice?
Beer. Wine is good, too. Though I won’t turn down a cocktail either. So my answer is yes.
What advice would you offer to young professionals?
We see the ARE as this BIG thing — a boulder we carry around with a huge shadow. In actuality, it’s a pebble in our shoe — an uncomfortable thing that we choose to have there until we decide we don’t want it there anymore. Instead of being the reason you’re not licensed, be the reason you are. FYI — once you pass the ARE, empathy for those who haven’t taken it goes away…completely. You also begin a lot of stories with “Back in my day…."
Also, ask questions. A lot of them. Be active in answering them. Remind yourself of everything you don’t know. I tell myself this every day.
Architects aren’t known for their hobbies… Do you have one?
Running. It’s my time. To think. To question. To solve. To watch the sun rise or set. To gauge whether people are friendlier in the morning or the evening. To measure myself against the me of five, ten, or more years ago. My philosophy on running affects everything I do: work smarter, not harder. You’ll get better results.