Lance Matthews, AIA earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Louisiana Tech University with Magna Cum Laude Honors in 2009. Lance was awarded the Certificate of Merit for the excellence in the study of architecture by the AIA. He has been a designer with Barron, Heinberg & Brocato Architects & Engineers in his hometown of Alexandria for the past 12 years. He is a LEED accredited professional (BD+C) and has been a registered Architect in the state of Louisiana since 2018. Upon licensure, Lance became an active AIA member and fulfilled the positions of President and Director for the Central Louisiana AIA Section. He also is a member and assisted in the revitalization of AIA Louisiana’s Associates and Emerging Professional Committee, focusing on aiding interns and newly-licensed architects.
Why did you choose architecture as a profession?
When I was young, I remember my parents’ house being designed and constructed. I was fascinated by how all the components of the house came together in a functional and aesthetically pleasing manner. I remember telling my parents that one day I would design an even larger house for them, and I wouldn’t charge them much!
What is the strangest thing that ever happened on a job?
During a site visit for a new educational building at a health facility, concrete trucks were being guided to their appropriate designated locations. However, one truck driver ran into the perimeter fence, and got very upset with the person waving him to keep backing up. We asked the truck driver, “Was the person guiding you standing outside of the fence, or on the inside of the fence?” As it turned out, the individual guiding the truck driver was a patient who decided to assist from far within the confines of the campus perimeter fence.
Do you have a special routine/habit you may do to get creative juices flowing?
The first thing I do when beginning a design is devote some time to studying precedents and images to see “what is out there.” Then I get out my tracing paper and turn on the music. I find that music is a self-guided diversion to help minimize outside, random distractions, so I am able to focus on the task at hand. I typically go from tracing paper to AutoCAD, Revit, or Rhinoceros and move back and forth sketching and inputting the design information into the computer.
What type of projects do you like to take on?
Working in a smaller city dictates that you like to take on all projects. There are many diverse project types that I have been a part of in our local community. It seems that every project is completely different than the one before. The best type of projects, in my eyes, are those that have the ability to enrich and enhance not just the client’s needs, but also the surrounding community.
Best project, most unique/favorite project?
The most unique project is actually a project our office is currently designing. The project is an outdoor amphitheater band shell at the existing Alexandria Riverfront Amphitheater. The structure is composed of three cylindrical shells with a fifteen degree tilt at the apex for enhanced acoustics. Each arched frame is elliptical in shape to accommodate the curvature and tilt of the roof forms. Color changing LED lighting is planned to illuminate the inside of the three deck panels with different colors depending on the season or occasion.
What do you do after a hard day at work to unwind?
I typically come home to my two year-old son running up to me and grabbing my hand so we can play outside, which is such a great feeling. My wife had to undergo emergency surgery while she was pregnant and both, she and our son, are lucky to be alive. They have taught me to zoom out, try not to sweat the small stuff, and focus on what is really important in life. Also, I am recently a proud owner of a new massage chair, this can help too.
If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would probably have dinner with Robin Williams. His energy and ability to make people laugh is infectious. I enjoy laughing, and look for the humor in daily activities.
What is a great piece of advice you have personally received? Did you have occasion to put it to use?
My mother always used to tell me “Can’t never could, tryin’ probably would.” This simple saying has resonated with me all these years, and has helped me try my best, while not worrying about the potential for failure. Mistakes are inevitable, and most if not all, present great learning moments.
What is your favorite way to spend your time?
I enjoy spending time with my wife, son, and family. Our families usually come together every weekend, and we have a great time watching the New Orleans Pelicans or Saints. I also enjoy mowing and working around the house to try and receive “Garden of the Month” (even though our subdivision does not have an award committee, I’m still a winner every month in my heart!).
If you could have any other job what would it be?
If I could jump higher than a piece of paper, I would love to be professional basketball player.