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Geneva Kowalski, Studio K2 Architecture & Women in Design, Architect & Executive Co Chair

Denver, CO

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Geneva is an architect & urban designer who enjoys movement, which is probably why she picked up teaching yoga to compliment her desk job. Almost every weekend she's adventuring in the mountains and rivers of Colorado; that time of unplugging from the digital is where she finds her creative inspiration. https://www.sk2arch.com & https://widdenver.org

Transcript:

Hi! My name is Geneva Kowalski. I am an architect at Studio K2 architecture in Denver, the executive chair of Women in Design, and also a part time yoga teacher for. So, still doing the online yoga and mixing it with social and environmental activism. I’m filming today from my new home office with animals everywhere, and, let’s see… to start, I wanted to talk a little bit about where I feel the most creative.

So, I definitely had to create a little creative environment at home. So, always, at least for me, always important to see out a window. And when I’m not sitting at the desk, or actually rather standing, typically, I like to bike a lot.

Commuting through the city, when I went into the office every day it was via bike commuting, and for me that is a really great creative space. The movement of you know just like a cadence of moving your legs and also seeing the city at the speed of a bicycle for me is really stimulating. Getting to observe people and the way that the streets are changing is so interesting. 

So definitely a little bit of a weekend warrior. Which kind of leads me to my next project, which I started in 2020 while lockdown was in full effect. I think everyone was feeling that cabin fever. I started getting really anxious about getting outside. And back when I had a six week old, we wanted to go to Moab and do our fall tradition. So we ended up buying the smallest camper we could find, it’s a 14 footer, and it’s like 2006 or 12 or something like that. But you know the very, very beige interior. So, my March project was during those cold nights when you really couldn’t do anything, you couldn’t really leave the house, we didn’t know if we had enough toilet paper, after we put Teddy to sleep we would be working on the camper. And, I’m actually going to move to that for the second half of this video.

Alright. So here we are in my March/April/moving into May creative project. So, this is our little home away from home camper. It was wallpapered with, like, a very beige-y color, in fact, I think inside the bathroom yeah I didn’t get to painting that. So yeah, painting the cabinets with chalk paint, putting in a vinyl tile, putting in all the cabinets… well that was a microwave but, who needs a microwave when you’re camping?

So, building a little cabinet, painting everything in the uppers white, and it was a lot of fun. We used leather samples to make the little snap backs for the light-cancelling curtains because that is so important when you have a two-year-old you want them to be able to sleep as late as possible. But yeah, it was a really great little project. We did some plumbing, too. That was fun. Converting camper plumbing which is plastic and a different size to a residential faucet connection… that was a lot of YouTubing. 

One thing that I would, I guess, have as a piece of advice to my younger self and other creatives is that you don’t have to be the best at something to start it. And in fact you don’t even have to master something, but perhaps just the action of it gives you joy. So, I dabble in a lot of different things… watercolor occasionally, or knitting has been a really fun pastime of mine that I put down maybe two years ago when I had a kid that I haven’t really picked back up but that skillset is still there. You know, getting into little projects like this. Occasionally sewing, your know, even things like mountain biking and rock climbing, you know they’re all things that I think really help to ground me as a person, bring me delight, and I’m never going to be a master watercolorist or be able to sell or make money from my knitting but it still provides a sense of joy and a creative outlet when work isn’t as creative as it could be some days. You know, sometimes it’s just emails and door schedules, and sometimes it’s really a creative job, but that is what I have found to create a little bit of joy and you know, take the pressure off.

I hope everyone is doing well, and finding little projects that you otherwise wouldn’t have time for, and hopefully you’re getting outside and enjoying the outdoors. Thanks!

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