Celebrating SMMA’s New Registered Architects: Ryan Glick & Ron Wassmer

SMMA's Ryan Glick and Ron Wassmer

SMMA is proud to announce that two of our very own, Ryan Glick and Ron Wassmer, have passed their Architect Registration Examinations! We talked with the two of them a bit about their careers, paths to becoming architects, and ideas about the field:

What drew you to architecture?

Ryan Glick: “I have always been interested in both creating things and leaving people in awe. Even as a kid, whether I was playing or was working on a school project, it was always important to me for my creations to function, look good, feel right and impress. There was a point when I was deciding between film school and architecture, and I ultimately decided on architecture because I thought I could have a more positive impact on the environment in this field.”

Ron Wassmer: “My dad is an engineer, and my mom was an artist, so I think I got a little bit of both side of the profession as a kid. I spent a lot of time with my dad on job sites and was always intrigued by the built environment. From my mom, I learned the creative side of things and how to express myself in a way that was unique to me.”

What inspires you?

RW: “There are so many times when you are working on small details, and you have to find clever ways to tie it back to the overall design concept of a building. Those instances where you put that puzzle together just right are really inspiring.”

RG: “I enjoy going to well-designed spaces and asking non-architects how it makes them feel. It usually catches them off guard and leads to some spontaneous and genuine answers. I’m always interested to know how what we do impacts people subconsciously in that way.”

What is your favorite project that you have been a part of at SMMA?

RG: “10 Stack Street at Hood Park was a project that I started my career at SMMA with. I was able to see the project over multiple of building changes, which was a great experience to be a part of and learn from. The firm gave me a lot of responsibilities, and I learned so much from that team.”

RW: “I loved working on the NAASR Vartan Gregorian Armenian Center because it was so intimate. We were building something specifically for their longevity and prolonged cultural stewardship. Working on a project that is so closely connected to the organization and inspired by their mission is extremely rewarding to be a part of. I also enjoyed the development and execution of that project because of the various artistic possibilities. We did some exciting material selections and incorporated fascinating sculptural work, both designed by SMMA and in collaboration with outside sculptors, that allowed for a lot of expression beyond the typical building components.”

Are there any spaces in Boston that you would like to see redesigned?

RW: “All architects have some ideas for places that they would love to see transformed into better spaces. I think that way about MBTA stations because the public transit outside of the US is so much more vibrant and exciting. When you compare them to stations in Boston, it seems like a missed opportunity because the spaces could be so much more enjoyable.”

RG: “Boston City Hall is a product of its time, and it would be an awesome experience to be a part of the modernization efforts for that building. The other redesign projects that I love seeing are parking garage conversions, which there have been a handful of happening in Boston.”

What does being an architect mean to you? 

RG: “Architecture is taking in points of information from a million different areas and coming up with a single output. You have to listen to different groups of people, understand as much as you possibly can, weed through all of that information, put things together, and put some things aside to get to your final product.”

RW: “Being an architect entails a surprising amount of power because of the ways that space subconsciously affects people. When you talk to a client, you have to interpret what they want out of a space and make sure that your design meets those criteria and makes them experience those emotions. You have to think about how your design affects people as well as how the building looks and feels. It is just as much about how impactful the overall gesture is, to the selection of materials and what those selections imply, to the increasingly small details that change the gesture from overt to subconscious.”

How does being an architect affect the way you see the world around you? 

RW: “Being an architect changes the way I go on vacation. When I take a trip somewhere, I have an idea of buildings and spaces I want to explore. It makes you experience the world in bits and pieces of space and think more about how individual buildings fit into the feel of the world around them. There’s also an expectation for the unexpected; a certain joy comes from finding the little hole in the wall restaurant or side street that is picturesque but being able to distill out why its successful creates a sort of expectation to find those experiences and capture them in some way. 

RG: “All architects love to travel, but it is true that seeing other places means seeing different ways of life and different ways that cities come to be developed. I love learning about why cities are in certain places and why they are situated the way they are. I was impressed with Vancouver, Canada. Everything there is so comfortable and walkable and at the right scale. I loved traveling to London; I expected to find older types of buildings, but it seemed more modern than New York City in certain ways.”