Alumni Spotlight:
Alyse Makarewicz ('97)

October 25, 2023

Name: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Alyse Makarewicz
Hometown: Newburgh, New York
Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Science Environmental Design
Graduation Year:
Employer: AMB Architects

"Given architecture is still a predominately male profession, being recognized for the work my firm is doing to lift female architects and keep them in the profession is incredibly humbling and fulfilling."

Facial expression, Smile, Head, Hairstyle, Organ, Sleeve

Why did you choose the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design? What drew you to design?
I started at the University of Houston as a business major interested in art. After two years, I was bored. I thought architecture would be a great major to apply my analytical and creative strengths. I interviewed with associate dean Lannis Kirkland and was accepted into the accelerated studio program. What drew me to the Hines College was that I was already on campus and architecture sounded like a fun way to use my creativity, math, and analytical skills.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time on campus? Was there a particular professor who influenced your education?
Designing and building a bridge in David Thaddeus' structures class. Putting the lessons learned in class into practice and understanding why they work was fun. Leonard Bachman's systems class was known as one of the most challenging classes. If you figured out what he was looking for, you could succeed. I developed a strategy for the class and asked Leonard many questions to ensure I understood the material. I received an "A" in his class. This influenced my education and approach to clients – seek first to understand, formulate a plan, and request feedback along the way.

above: The Lyric Market; Pediatrix BrookHollow

Tell us about a typical day in your job. Do you have a particular design or business philosophy?
I started my own firm, AMB Architects, 18 years ago, focusing on keeping women in architecture. To create a firm culture and coach team members with that focus, every day, I learn, have conversations with my team, support them with project challenges, and move obstacles out of their way. I create or improve our processes and training. I develop new client relationships and nurture existing ones. I learn from other small firms and businesses about the current business environment and future trends to help my firm stay ahead of the curve. My philosophy is, "How can we find a solution instead of focusing on all the ways something can't be accomplished?"

What is one career accomplishment of which you are particularly proud? How do you feel the College prepared you for this?
I have managed a successful firm for 18 years and we were selected as the AIA Houston's Firm of the Year 2023. Given architecture is still a predominately male profession, being recognized for the work my firm is doing to lift female architects and keep them in the profession is incredibly humbling and fulfilling.

Several things at UH shaped me to be an effective firm leader. I sought and accepted many leadership opportunities at the College, from AIAS to representing our award-winning Greenway project at The Making Cities Livable Conference in California. At graduation, I was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal for Leadership.

above: Lone Star Legal Aid; The Hub Galleria

What advice would you give to current architecture and design students?
If you work 24/7, you are dead. Try not to live/learn unhealthy work habits in college. Learn and practice healthy time management. Create a list of the life activities you need to be healthy, along with the class requirements. Then, create a basic schedule with blocks of time. It is okay to have short periods where you are out of balance to get a deadline completed, then return to your healthy balance. This practice continues into your profession. Look for firms that do not always require you to be out of balance. Our profession is much more enjoyable when you are rested, healthy, and creative.

What is one valuable lesson you learned during your time at the Hines College?
Juries – the key lesson I learned and came to peace with was everybody has an opinion. Their opinion was based on their experience, and my project was based on my project process and research. Their ideas were no more valid than my own. I no longer got upset when critical comments were made about my project. I would listen to their different ideas. This helped me in personal practice to not micromanage because I accepted that not everybody works as I do, not everybody thinks as I do, and there is more than one way to be creative and solve a problem. This is what I learned through the studio design process and the critiques.



Back to TOP

Back to TOP


More College of Architecture and Design Stories

Urban design, Slope

Hines College assistant professor Mili Kyropoulou and her team recently achieved first place in the Lowdown Showdown Competition for their original design, repurposing the Astrodome.

The Architects Foundation recently awarded University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design alumna Michelle Ovanessians (' 23) the 2023 Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship.

Flash photography, Smile, Eyebrow, Sleeve, Gesture, Happy

The lessons Ami Shah (M.Arch. '03) learned at the Hines College helped propel her to success. "It provided a solid foundation, allowing me to expand my horizons and explore different design ideas and theoretical approaches in a way I had not before."

Material property, Font
Material property, Font, Rectangle
Rectangle, Font
Mammal, Font