Do you know what an architect does? Architects figure out what buildings will look like. That could be a house by the beach, a skyscraper in a city, a farm in the country, a church in the desert … you get the idea. We spoke with Architect Anthony Vallee, with McWhorter Vallee Reese Design to find out what it’s like to be an architect.

Shelly Swanger Photography

Why did you become an architect?

Both of my parents studied architecture in Cuba and when they came to the United States they continued to work in interior design and related fields in Miami, Fl. I remember drawing pictures underneath my dad’s desk when I was little and going to client’s houses with my mother. I was fascinated with the blueprints that I’d see and began to realize that putting a building together is not simply an engineering feat – there is artistry and creativity that you can’t replicate in any other field.

What should I do if I want to become an architect?

Play with LEGOs. Seriously! We have a several sets in our office. I’d also pay attention to the buildings around you. Here on 30A we are surrounded by unique and interesting architecture. Take a walk and see how the houses differ from each other. What do you like? Why? Go home and draw a picture of something you didn’t like and then change it. And carry a little sketchbook with you. 

Can I have a house shaped like a snow cone?

I’ve never been asked that before! Absolutely and that sounds like a lot of fun. People get paid a lot of money to do wild and interesting things – just like at Walt Disney World. They get paid to design all kinds of interesting things like the Be My Guest restaurant or Cinderella’s Castle or even the classic snow cone, and dinosaur-shaped buildings on Route 66.

The only thing you’d have to make sure of, is that if you want a snow cone as a house, you have to find a neighborhood where that would be appropriate and would allow that, and that’s part of what an architect does too. That’s why it’s helpful to have an architect on board before you even buy land.

Why should people hire an architect?

Some buildings and neighborhoods require an architect, but the better reason to work with an architect is because you like what they do and you like the way the buildings they design make you feel.

Architects create beauty in this world, and that should be supported. Don’t you want to live in a house that’s designed around what you want? Or work in a building filled with natural light that makes you happy to walk in the door?