Last month’s episode of the “Make It Big” webinar series was an opportunity for students to ask questions to architects about their design ideas and dreams for the future. It also opened a door for football star James Develin to revisit his past.
“I started off in high school really loving architecture. I wanted to be an architect. I wanted to study architecture in school,” said James, who retired from the NFL in April after an impressive eight-year career as a fullback with the New England Patriots, winning three Super Bowl titles with the team. “Football kind of changed the direction of where I ended up going to school.” As an undergrad, James attended Brown University, studying mechanical engineering because there wasn’t an architecture program at the time.
You can watch the full episode here.
James also discussed how this collaboration with Autodesk is helping him reconnect with his past and find his new possible. “Architecture always was my first love,” he said. “I can think back to when I was a 17-year-old kid in high school having the same passions about space and building things and really understanding construction. Thank you for relighting that fire in me.”
A panel of architects from Boston’s Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects fueled inspiration by discussing their career journeys. They also shared how their interests and fascinations growing up led them to where they are today, for example, analyzing light and how it affects spaces.
Architects and designers Elyse Ayoung, Gerard Georges, Siboney Diaz Sanchez, and Nakisa Alborz joined the panel.
Students from Wentworth Institute of Technology also joined to share their design and prototype for a learning/makerspace that could be built in city neighborhoods in order for young people to be able to access the things they need in order to learn, create, and be social safely during and after the pandemic.
Shout out to the Wentworth students who created this awesome work!: Jenna Acord, Emily Chowdhury, Jack Foisey, Sophie McKenzie, Zachary Moskovitz, Angelica Samson, Noah Sherburne, Emma Whitney, Leah Studer, Maia Zawilinski, Jake Torregrossa, Jeff Goudreault, Kacey Russo, Princess Egharevba, Alexis Foley, Adrian Francis, Conner Young, Jack Murphy, Jackson Nissen, Jonathan Mendez, Justin Hudgins, Kyle Welch, Nicholas Desrosiers, Samantha Herrick.
During the first episode in the webinar, James shared his vision for a new training and rehabilitation facility that inspires wellness through inventive uses of space.
Stepping off the field and into his next endeavor, James said he is interested in “turning the mirror around” to create a space that fosters community connection. “I want it to provide and be an asset to the community for people to better themselves, and hopefully to better the community in turn,” he said.
For the first challenge in this series, James invited students to help him reimagine what’s possible for health and fitness using the design thinking process. In response to the challenge, students played with ideas and submitted imaginative architectural designs meant to help James tell his story and describe his vision.
Tune in for the next live webinar on Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m. EST to hear from James about what he took away from the students’ designs. He will also introduce a new challenge that asks students to consider environmental sustainability and access for people with disabilities. In addition, students will learn about tools that design professionals use to achieve these goals, including demonstrations in AutoCAD, and FormIt.
Visit autodesk.com/autodeskmakeitreal for more information about the contest.