Student Spotlight: Zachary Kalish
Environmental Design (ENVD) student Zachary Kalish is thinking big. Currently in his third year of study in Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, Kalish plans to graduate in December, attend graduate school for a Master of Business Administration and eventually market his own design work. “With this combination of degrees, I hope to turn one of my designs into a viable business practice that will produce a functional solution for various audiences,” he stated.
Currently, Kalish is in the final stages of an independent project based on a desk design concept he developed. With the help of his fellow student Miriam Abikhaled and Assistant Professor Jennifer Smith, he is working to explore how studio spaces in design schools might be improved to better serve students. The desk design involves two individual workspaces separated by a pegboard hutch that can be pulled apart to expand into one large table. This provides a student with storage space for materials as well as enough room to spread out full-size plotter pages during critiques. “With the help of my peers, this design reached several stages of refinement and is now being fabricated as a prototype,” Kalish stated. “The desk’s unique structure has allowed us many opportunities to learn specific fabrication methods, and we intend to complete fabrication in the coming weeks.”
Kalish has found he likes finding solutions to problems, and his time in the Environmental Design program has allowed him to do that in unique ways. “Environmental Design allows the student to step outside the box of design work’s traditional genres,” he explained. “For example, I am currently exploring vegetation-induced soundproofing as a method to revitalize an important section of Montgomery’s Civil Rights history, which was destroyed by the implementation of the interstate. Simply put, I love the moments of my degree that involve multiple areas of focus.” In addition to his studies, Kalish works part-time at Auburn Outdoors, a division of Campus Recreation that rents equipment, leads trips and offers training to students who want to participate in hiking, kayaking, rock climbing and other adventurous outdoor activities. Kalish appreciates how Auburn Outdoors builds community and connects students, and his supervisors are constantly encouraging him to implement his designs into real world solutions at the Rec. “I’m super excited to be working on a ‘moon board’ concept for the training area of the Rec Center rock wall,” he said. “ENVD gives me the opportunity to bring my pre-existing passions into my work.”
“Zach has an eye for design,” stated Assistant Professor Kelly Homan. “His designs for ENVD 2100, Environmental Design Workshop I, were among the best in the class. His work is thoughtful and creative, and he has a great work ethic.”