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This post is part of our fall 2019 blOAAg series, Amazing Mentorship Stories. To see previous articles, click here.
Who are you?
My name is Matthew Suriano. I live and work in Toronto and am currently an Intern Architect with the OAA. I have completed the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC) and am on the last leg of finishing my hours to complete the Canadian Experience Record Book (CERB) and become licensed.
Who is your mentor?
Court Sin is an award-winning architect who is the director of FORREC’s Architecture Studio located in Toronto. His team creates extraordinary projects across the globe that range from bespoke eco-resorts, to ‘big idea’ tourism masterplans, to a mixed-used entertainment destination in Rome.
Court’s specialization in the field of Third Place Theory—the place between home and work—led him to publish his book, The One Third You Are Missing, on the design of authentic social places. Recently, his team has been working on several social-media-worthy hospitality and retail projects in Toronto that will be opening in the upcoming year. Given his international project travels, Court’s hobbies include painting in acrylics and being on the hunt for authentic local bars, restaurants and shops that will inspire his designs both locally and internationally.
How did you find your mentor?
Court and I first met sitting across from each other at a job interview after I had completed my undergraduate degree. We had common connections through Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science where Court taught Design Studio and we shared our interest in how thoughtful design can positively affect our built environment. He asked some hard questions in the interview, but we ended up being co-workers and worked on several projects together. Even before beginning the IAP process, Court was an informal mentor—someone who always took the time to check in and chat. It was a no-brainer when searching for a mentor to reach out to him.
What was your last meet-up?
The last time Court and I met was over lunch in October to get a bowl of ramen. We hadn’t seen each other for a couple of months, so we got caught up on work and life. Our conversation was casual, as it usually is, and we were able to share our latest achievements.
In what ways has your mentor helped you?
With Court, I speak honestly and openly about my goals and ambitions. He always offers support, genuine feedback and advice based on his experience. He has helped me focus on what experiences I need that are important, not only for licensure but also in becoming a well-rounded architect.
What is the best advice you have received from a mentor?
Court’s best advice isn’t something he has directly said to me, but rather it is the example he sets both professionally and personally. His dedication to, and his balance of, work and family is something we all can aspire to.
What makes a great mentor?
A great mentor encourages and inspires professional and personal growth. They reach out to check-in when you have forgotten to, and, most importantly, they not only give great advice but also lead by example.
How will you serve as a mentor later in your career?
I think mentorship plays a very important role in all stages of one’s career, especially at critical junctions such as during the IAP process. Like Court, I hope to mentor future architects by sharing my experiences and leading through example.
Architects interested in becoming mentors can submit their names and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find a mentor, watch for networking events, search for architects by city on Discover an Architect or email email@example.com.