Architects Talking to Architects: Johanna Reed, Assoc. AIA

Johanna Reed, Assoc. AIA, works as a designer for the Austin-based firm Dick Clark + AssociatesBefore studying architecture, Reed studied literature, science, and art history at Hamilton College in Upstate New York. She recieved her Masters in Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012. 

Johanna Reed, Assoc. AIA

Johanna Reed, Assoc. AIA – courtesy Johanna Reed

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Massachusetts and went to college in rural Upstate New York. For a while, I thought I would become an architect and move to southern Maine. That was before I met Austin. While the geo-socio-political climate of New England was critical to my formation of self, the contrast of living in Texas triggered my finding my voice as a designer. I am inspired by the way people live here with such a strong connection between their indoor and outdoor spaces.

If you had not studied architecture, what other profession would you have pursued?

I considered many different paths along the way, but none of them fulfilled me in quite the right way until I landed on architecture. To be honest, if architecture hadn't worked out, I'm not sure where I would have ended up.  

White Sands

White Sands National Monument, located in New Mexico – photo by Johanna Reed


What is your favorite city to visit?

I don't have a favorite city, although I’m fond of Boston in the snow. I generally find visiting cities stressful and overwhelming. Currently, I’m in the middle of a love affair with the American West. The vastness of space, the dramatic weather, the solitary experience of being so far away from a major population — all of it is unlike anything I experienced growing up. A lot of my inspiration right now comes from studying the patterns, colors, and large-scale gestures of the landscape.

What is your favorite time of year?

I love spring. The energy and anticipation of 'almost summer' is palpable.


Parthenon Sketch

Sketch of The Parthenon by Le Corbusier from “Voyage 3: The Parthenon,” Journey to the East. (Cambridge MIT, 1987).

What is the next building you plan to travel to in order to see for yourself?

In the long-term, I hope to go to Greece and visit the Acropolis. Any building that made Corb sound like a smitten schoolboy must be worth the pilgrimage. As Corbusier wrote: “Never in my life have I experienced the subtleties of such monochromy. The body, the mind, the heart gasp, overpowered.” (Le Corbusier, 1987). Visiting that collection of structures has inspired countless architects in countless different ways; I can only wonder and look forward to what my own experience will be.

In the short-term, I’m excited to see Renzo Piano’s addition to the Kimbell Art Museum.

Pen, pencil or computer?

I spend most of the day rocking a pen and computer, but the pencil is where the magic happens. It can be both precise and merely suggestive, depending on the mood. A hand drawing never goes out of style.

"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. Have someone you'd like to see featured in "Architects Talking to Architects?" Email to let us know!

Reference: Le Corbusier, Journey to the East, translated by Ivan Žeknić with Nicole Pertuiset (Cambridge: MIT, 1987)