MFx16: Meet Ashley Dotson


Ashley Dotson
Bachelor of Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2019

What motivated you to study architecture?
At first I didn’t know what I wanted to study, and architecture appealed to me simply because it required an artistic and mathematical skill set, but I fell in love with architecture because of the many challenges that one faces with design, and because architecture embraces individuals that have a multitude of ideas to solve a particular challenge.

Where do you plan to travel to next?
I plan to travel to Lisbon, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam. This will be my first time in Europe and out of the country so it would be an understatement to say that I’m excited. I cannot wait to see the architecture, try so much food, and for all of the new experiences that each city has to offer.

Is there something particular that fuels your creativity?
My creativity is fueled by the challenges and limitations that one encounters in design. I find that with more restrictions, I’m driven to be more creative. I feel most inspired by nature, but it is often that I have the best ideas when I am actively doing something, or experiencing a new place that offers a lot to look at. These ideas also manifest best when I’m drawing because it allows for a stream of consciousness visualization.

What's your design process like?
I begin with an inspiration to guide me to a concept, then after hand drawing in plan and section, I hard-line these drawings. From there I try to drive the idea as far as I can to see where it goes and how each form of expression changes the concept. I try to model the design digitally, and then physically. From there I continue to edit, and bring the concept back into the drawing realm to rework the drawings. My design process is constantly reworking the expression to fully support the main concept that I have best. This allows for the concept that I am interested in to reach better clarity and focus.

What are you reading?
Currently I am reading The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton, but because I started this very recently, I do not yet have a solid opinion on the material. I did just finish All of the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and I felt very unsatisfied. There was a lot left unsaid in the novel. Many of the paths of the characters had so many connections or lack of connections and intertwining storylines, where some of the characters may have met for only a brief moment, or were separated abruptly. Their connections had no formal definition so I was a little depressed by this viewpoint as it romanticized the sadness of the idea that people are crisscrossing in the void.

Graffiti Park at Castle Hill, Austin, TX.

Graffiti Park at Castle Hill, Austin, TX.

What do you think the future of architecture is?
I think that the future of architecture is to continue to require architects to transform the existing, but with an inventiveness that addresses the new constraints of this 21st century. The architecture of the future will utilize the newer technology and address our environmental conditions. I picture this like the state that Castle Hill Graffiti Park is in where each addition of graffiti is not entirely new in idea or form, but responds to the paint and art below in some condition.