SCI-Arc Student Profile: Alma Ramos

Alma Ramos is going into her second year of the B.Arch program at SCI-Arc. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and is the recipient of the 2018 LAUSD SCI-Arc Scholarship, a full-tuition, merit-based award. She is currently an intern for Current Interests, a collaborative project co-founded by SCI-Arc Design Faculty Mira Henry and Mathew Au.

How has studying architecture impacted how you viewed the world?

Studying architecture has perhaps not really changed but has helped me expand how to see the world and be able to see it from different angles and perspectives. In some sense I would even say it has allowed me to be more appreciative of all the things around me, even the little details you don’t tend to take into consideration. Architecture really allows you to be aware.

Which living architect do you most admire, and what quality you most admire about them?

I wouldn’t want to pinpoint a single architect but I will say that an architect in my opinion is someone who is passionate and curious about the world around them. Passion is a big one for me, it allows you to feel this feeling of satisfaction and optimism; knowing what you want as a designer and knowing where you stand.

Alma Ramos, House and Plus One, Circulation Diagram from 1B Design Studio, 2019. Instructor: Angelica Lorenzi

If you were to die and return as a building, which would it be?

I haven’t really thought about it. But the first thing that comes to mind is my own house. Just because it’s my own and it changes or adapts to my needs and my ways of being. So I would be a home. I feel like it would be interesting—in some ways I think of architecture being the stuff inside the home, the different stuff that people accumulate and identify with. It would be interesting to see what form and shape I’d take if I were to die and return as “your” home.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I tend to or want to identify with people like Frida Kahlo, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, because of the similar background and storyline of being a woman of color in a field that is/was considered to be pretty male dominated

Alma Ramos, Soft Tectonics Model Studies , 1B Visual Studies, 2019. Instructors: David Freeland and Mira Henry

What is your most treasured possession in your workplace?

I feel like I don’t have a most treasured possession—it’s more “what’s always on my desk.” I tend to have lots of sketchbooks for I have always seen them as a sourcebook of and for creativity, where my thoughts and ideas are able to flow freely without any restrictions or limitations. They always tend to look very random, or you could even say messy, due to the spontaneous thoughts or ideas I’ve jotted down on a single page. I realized I often keep my “rock” on my desk—it was the rock I designed during my entire first semester here at SCI-Arc. So maybe it inspires me a little.

What do you consider your most overrated virtue, both personally + in architecture? The most underrated?

Growing up I always thought that creating/making something that qualified or could potentially be considered good had to meet a specific grade letter, or be approved by someone who is deemed to know all. But over time I have come to realize that it’s less fun, less genuine, and not true to who you are to operate that way. That to me is one of my most underrated/overrated virtues; and I encourage younger generations to not feel like they have to make something of themselves for others to approve without any other sense of interest/importance. You should always strive for making something that you personally love and feel motivated and proud of without the requirement of meeting a grade. Deep down one feels when they have accomplished something, and that is genuine. And that’s not just for me, or architecture school, but for everyone.

Alma Ramos, Soft Tectonics Diagram, 1B Visual Studies, 2019. Instructors: David Freeland and Mira Henry

Which talent would you most like to possess?

I have always wanted to possess a musical talent or something similar. A performer perhaps, that could do all types of physical performances, like singing or dancing. I feel like it would make my life much more fun and help me to be less of an introvert on the outside.

Which words or phrases do you overuse?

I tend to use the phrase “I don’t know,” I realized—though not in a way that I am going to give up and not try. It more of an initiative for my thinking process. Usually when I say it, it ignites something inside me that makes me curious and want to find an answer; it’s almost like a breathing moment where I recollect my thoughts and ideas and try to find an answer to that “I don’t know.”

What are you most proud of?

I often think of what I am most proud of as something for which I am grateful or appreciative. I am most grateful for having a supportive family, friends, and peers. Another thing that has expanded during my time at SCI-Arc is that it is helping me to be more appreciative of all the little details that come to be in our world; in who we are, and our bare surroundings. I am proud of being an architecture student, and of having the opportunity to grow with so many different people and different stories. I am grateful.