February 06, 2017
So, you want to be an architect?

Members from our office are gearing up to attend career fairs at the University of Kansas and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln later this month. We’re looking forward to connecting with students at both schools, but also know that the job search can be an overwhelming experience. It’s easy to stress out about finding the perfect fit so we figured we’d try our best to help out. Within the last year, IAA has welcomed designer McKenzie Liebl (KU ’16), to our team. Read from her, what it’s been like joining IAA and setting out on the career path. (See IAA’s current open positions below)

Q: What made you choose a career in architecture? 

M: I’ve always been interested in design and problem solving, and I was pointed in the direction of architecture through my high school art teacher.

Q: What was your favorite college project? 

M: My favorite project was re-designing the Target Center, which is the basketball arena for the Minnesota Timberwolves.  It was a challenging project that allowed for a lot of creativity.  It taught me a lot about working in a team and we got to meet with professionals on a weekly basis to get their insight on how to design sports architecture.

Q: What’s your design philosophy, and how has it evolved from college to now? 

M: I haven’t quite cultivated my own design philosophy yet, but I admire clean and simple design that is tailored for its user, and I believe that good design is capable of making our lives better.

Q: What brought you to International Architects Atelier? 

M: A classmate of mine at KU had interned at IAA, and I was looking for a firm in KC with an emphasis on collaboration and opportunities to get a lot of hands-on experience.

Q: Share a little bit about what you’ve worked on since starting at IAA… 

M: I’ve been able to help with bits and pieces on a number of projects so far, but some highlights include schematic design for museums in the area, working on the Shawnee Mission Park beach house, and renovating a fitness center in Kansas City, Kansas.

Q: What is your favorite part of the IAA process?

M: My favorite part about IAA’s process is that they encourage a lot of exploration and development before landing on a particular design or concept.  Also, as a new graduate, I feel I’ve been given lots of opportunities to gain experience in each phase of a project, which can be rare for young architects.

Q: What is your favorite way to engage with the local KC community?

M: I’ve been participating in the Girl Scouts Cookie Construction event this year, which has been a fun way to get involved.  Outside of the design world, my favorite way to engage with the community is through KC’s great music scene.

Q: Any words of encouragement for current architectural students?

M: Don’t forget to do things outside of your architecture/studio world, because those experiences help make for a better designer and a less stressed individual.


Questions for McKenzie? Feel free to shoot her an email. 

Current career opportunities at IAA:

Student intern (Part-time)
Architect / Designer (Full-time)