Academy of Architecture for Justice

San Diego Superior Courts

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The Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) promotes and fosters the exchange of information and knowledge between members, professional organizations, and the public for high-quality planning, design, and delivery of justice architecture.

AAJ Journal: Emerging Professional Profiles

By Kerry Feeney posted 10-16-2020 10:40 AM


Emerging Professional Profiles

Drew Hustedde, Architect, TreanorHL

Personal Information:

• How do you like to spend your free time?

DH: I love hands-on work and problem-solving. Becoming a homeowner in 2018, I have learned the list of projects never ends but am certainly not complaining. I spend a lot of free time tackling these projects of both necessity… and intention.

• What is your favorite book?

DH: Tough question. Can I have favortie books? I like books that enable me to dream, think, and do. I will first say a favorite recent read of mine would be Artemis, by Andy Weir, the same author of The Martian – you may have seen the movie. I loved this book because I felt I was able to dream of life in the future, but with elements of realism and science that did not place me in a world outside of my reach, but in one I could see becoming. I always love looking to the future. Another favorite of mine would be Sarah Williams Goldhagen’s Welcome to Your World. Wow. If Artemis let me dream, this book let me think. And as an architect, I thought, a lot. I hope every designer reads this book and understands how design can impact the human experience. Lastly, Sun, Wind, and Light, by Mark DeKay. This book is always within reach for me. If you are an architect and you want your buildings to perform better, get this book. Really.

• What famous person do you admire most and why?

DH: I am an includer, bringing more into a group than picking one out particularly, and I often don’t ever think about a famous person I admire rather what I admire about different individuals, so… this is will be the toughest question in this whole article. I hope its ok to avoid the world ‘most’ and stick with someone I admire and why. Former President Jimmy Carter. I live in Georgia now, originally from Southern Illinois, and I have always really admired humility. I have no idea what scandals or policies he was involved in during his political career and I have never even met him in person nor do I even know what political party he was with without having to google it, but what I do know is he lives modestly in a two-bedroom ranch that he built himself, he dines with his neighbors and is still a shopper at his local grocery store, and he volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. He is a reminder to me that no matter how successful you ever become, no matter how high you climb, even if it is the president of the united states, you are just one person, no different and no better than anyone else. He also reminds me to never forget where you come from. I grew up in a large, loving family in rural Illinois. My friends are all still back there. I likely will not live there again, but I will certainly never forget how it helped me become who I am today and how I will grow in the future.


• What firm do you work for and how long have you been with your current firm?
DH: I work for TreanorHL and have been with them since November 2013, shortly after I finished graduate school.

• What is your role within your firm?

DH: Project Architect and:
1. Sustainability nuisance
2. Questioner of tradition
3. And Coffee Brewing Snob

• How did you become involved in the justice market?

DH: Incidentally. Coming out of graduate school in a recovering, yet uncertain jobs market, I knew finding employment could be difficult, and at the very least, a journey. I felt lucky to have received offers in cities like San Antonio and Nashville, but it was ultimately the personality and drive of Sharon Schmitz and Cassandra Wallace at the time that sold me on Treanor Architects and their Justice Architecture Studio. Of course, I did not have Justice Architecture anywhere near my mind in school, as my thesis involved more urban development and renewal than Justice; though it did not take me long to understand that my passion did not lay in urban development and renewal strictly, rather I was driven by architecture that promoted betterment in society, which is central to the efforts of Justice Architecture.

• What project have you found to be the most rewarding and why?

DH: While a lot can be said for each of the projects I have been involved with, the Jasper County Juvenile Services Center, in Joplin, Missouri checks all of boxes for the most rewarding. It was a smaller, challenging project that embodied the County’s efforts to restructure their juvenile detention system to focus on the juvenile with more classrooms and programs and better spaces through evidence-based and trauma-informed design. It was also very challenging as the facility combined their juvenile detention, courts, and alternative education services. As one who thrives on learning, I loved this project. Of course, learning does not always come from the challenges or successes but through failure also, and fail often I did. It was my first taste of project management, and whether purposely or completely incidentally, I learned a lot. I can only imagine how many times my Principal-in-Charge, Dan Rowe, rolled his eyes and thought, “seriously Drew?”, but admirably he only showed patience. While projects are always a journey, I walked away understanding that relationships can make all the difference; we could not ask for a better client on the project, and this client relationship not only aided us in gaining work on three other projects with them, but it gave us friendships that we never hesitate to touch base with.

Why Justice?

• What motivates you to continue working in this specialty market?

DH: The impact of industry and the notion that the more effort and understanding that is brought into the design can change the narrative of the project motivates me most. While the criminal justice system is such a controversial subject, being so heavily influenced by politics, and Justice Architecture often must ride under the wings, the difference between a project that follows an older tradition of justice and one that embraces change and betterment of the community and its people can simply be the passion, understanding, and effort of the architects and clients. As if bettering Justice Architecture is proportinal to how much energy and passion you bring into it, I have all the motivation I need.

• Who is your mentor? Describe your mentorship process and how you have become engaged in learning about Justice Architecture.

DH: My mentor is John Eisenlau, who also happens to be the Principal of our Justice studio in Atlanta, and the TreanorHL Justice studio leader, though, I would say the determination is more dynamic depending on the project I am on or task I have been given. I have worked on projects led by each of our justice studio principals and they each have different methods of mentorship. For the most part, the mentorship process recipe can be broken down into how much I am willing to invest and develop, stepping up to the role or task, failing or succeeded, then learning from that. Less trial-by-fire and more like learning to ride a bicycle: do the best you can but if you need help ask; at first you will often fail but you will also be picked back up; and as you grow, the speed is mostly up to you. Plugging Justice Architecture into the equation is like choosing which direction to ride. The more on course you stay, the more you will learn, the better you will be, the further you will go, and the better the path will be. Justice Archicture involves a lot and has a great impact on our communities, so to push the industry forward, to continue to better society, I must myself grow, be active, learn, and continue to be better.

The future of the justice market:

• How do you see the role of the justice architect evolving over the next several years?

DH: I see it more and more following the growing list of trends we see today and have seen the last few years. With the events of 2020, more people are tuning into the justice system, where it falters and how it can be reformed. This will impact justice architecture greatly with fewer communities accepting the older traditions of corrections and justice and more embracing social equity, equality, and fairness within the system. Justice Architects must respond to this. It seems, in the interest of the business, that we prefer staying in the shadows, because even the projects we disagree with bring in revenue, but I fear we will more often face the reckoning of money or morals, and how that decision quickly becomes our reputation.

• Please describe what you believe is your role in the field.

DH: There are several hats I, and most of my fellow emerging professionals, will need to wear, if we are not already. Our roles involve bringing a new perspective to the industry, making our industry more diverse, and helping the generation below us be better than we are. We will be around longer than our predecessors, therefore issues like social equity, climate change, and design resiliency will affect us and our communities for the majority, if not all, of our careers. I feel my role is to help bring these issues to the top of the list, to educate my peers and the next generation of leaders after me. My role is one to ask the questions and not accept the current norm: why are we doing this, how can it be better, is this right?

• As it relates to the justice market, what do you hope to accomplish in the next 10 years?

DH: Met commitments to the 2030 challenge. This is imperative as many of our buildings will last 50 to 100 years. Still today it seems we assume money is a hindrance, or sustainability is an inconvenience if not client requested, or it is just another thing we can toss out in order to focus more on completing our projects. Sustainability in projects must be more than good marketing material, or brushed off as a discussion to often had, it must be asked about and strived for on every project. In ten years, all of my projects will be meet this commitment.

Social Equity is the new norm. It seems that of the last decade, this issue has been more and more recognized and has now begun to instigate action, but in 10 years, in needs to have been fully embraced. This will be a major challenge, but given the political climate, the push for justice reform, and a rising next generation, impatience to be better will grow quickly and Justice Architects must not only be able to react, but must help lead this charge. In ten years, I hope to help lead this charge in our industry and to push my fellow justice architects to do the same.

I hope to help redefine what our justice architecture world looks like. We know it will not look the same in 10 years, and even today we see juvenile detention centers become more focused on the juvenile than their detention. Courts designs will react to public health issues like the ongoing pandemic, and public buildings may become more like public spaces and less disconnected. Detention and Corrections centers may become less populated and more focused on learning and mental health. What will this look like? I hope to find out.