Alumni Spotlight:
Irma Sifontes '15

November 21, 2022

Name: Irma Sifontes
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Major: Master of Architecture
Graduation year: 2015
Employer: Goree Architects
Title: Project Manager

Why did you choose the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design? What drew you to design?
The Hines College is among the most valued architecture schools in the United States. This caught my attention when searching for a recognized NCARB architecture program that could help me pursue my architecture license in this country. The University of Houston is a beautiful campus located in an affordable city. I fell in love with this place, which became my second home for a long time.

What was one of your favorite memories from your time on campus? Was there a particular professor who influenced your education?
The comfortable campus and resources of the Hines College, UH Libraries, and Student Center provided me with everything I needed to have an excellent student experience. The great friends I made and each professor I had at UH truly influenced my education and development, but the most important professor for me was Dietmar Froehlich.

"The Hines College reinforced and broadened my knowledge in architecture, design, and drafting software."

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Top to bottom: A Rendering of a Public Transport Hub in Denmark Copenhagen, part of sifontes's master thesis. Sifontes earned an AIA Emerging Professionals Award for TRANSITIONAL COMMUNITY (HEALING THE BORDER: EL PASO-CUIDAD JUAREZ), a design for an urban greenspace in Ciudad Juarez that aims to mend social and ecological issues on the US/Mexico border. The plan incorporates artificial topographies for environmental protection and programming for work and play. Team: Irma Sifontes/ Silvia Izaguirre; UH COAD

What does a typical day look like in your job? Do you have a particular design or business philosophy?
As a project manager, a typical day at work includes checking the progress of all the projects I am currently managing and establishing priorities for those projects. Some projects require detailed attention when in construction documents, permits, or construction administration phases. I also conduct site visits, meet with clients, and collaborate with my team to achieve high-quality results.

What is one career accomplishment of which you are particularly proud? How do you feel that the College prepared you for this?
I am proud of being an international professional in the architecture field, where I can easily manage projects in different languages and countries, beginning from the schematic design phase up until the construction administration. The Hines College reinforced and broadened my knowledge in architecture, design, and drafting software. It also gave me the tools to succesfully colaborate projects in architecture firms like Abel Design Group, Kirksey Architecture, and Goree Architects.

Top to bottom: WHARTON COUNTY JUNIOR COLLEGE, JOHNSON HEALTH OCCUPATION CENTER renovation and addition of a new building; Firm: Abel group. The cannon, a repurposed warehouse space transformed into tennant and office space; Firm: Abel group. TEXAS TECH VETERINARY SCHOOL - MARIPOSA CAMPUs; FIRM: KIRKSEY ARCHITECTURE. Interior of Port 10 - Building 07; Firm: Goree architects. Current construction on Port 10 - Building 08; Firm: Goree architects.

What is one valuable lesson you learned during your time at the Hines College?
Time management and scheduling are essential parts of your everyday work to reach your deadlines.

What is a piece of advice you would give to current architecture and design students?
Learn as much as possible, ask questions, and have conversations with your professors. Go above and beyond your research studies, using all the resources the University of Houston and Hines College have available for your success.


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