Alumni Profile: Lloyd Shenefelt

Project Designer Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
Atlanta, GA

Provide an educational background including professional experience.

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design from the University of Alabama (1993) and a Master of Architecture from LSU (2003).

Unlike many architects, I never had an interest in architecture as a child. It wasn’t until after undergraduate school, through an accretion of ideas and experiences, that I became interested in architecture. And even then it was a gradual affair. After briefly studying architecture at both LSU and Montana State, I did a number of jobs that, in retrospect, were important to my career in architecture. While in Montana I worked as a metal chaser in a bronze foundry, did inlay work on Gibson’s acoustic guitars, including a touring guitar for Dwight Yoakam, and designed and built lighting and furniture. With little real experience in architecture, I worked briefly for small firms in Virginia and Maryland. When the architect I was working under in Maryland passed away I was left without a job—it was then that I decided to get the education needed to pursue a career in architecture.

After graduating from LSU I moved to Atlanta to work for Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback and Associates (TVS). TVS offered the opportunity to work on large scale projects with large project teams. I worked on projects in Beirut, Dubai, Guadalajara and the United States. Most of the work was either international competition or retail based projects. After leaving TVS, I worked for Hellmuth, Obata+Kassabaum (HOK) on higher education projects and was elected as a member of the office’s design review board. While at HOK I had the opportunity to work on a large design competition as well as a new building on Emory University’s campus.

Currently I am working for Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects in Atlanta. I am very fortunate to work with extremely talented individuals in an environment that rewards design exploration.

Why did you choose LSU for your education?

Having studied previously at LSU, I was familiar with the program and its strengths. I was, and still am, interested in some of the same issues of low-cost housing and sustainability that were being researched and discussed by the faculty. I was also fortunate to have studied under professors that taught critical thinking and empowered me to create a personal and successful design methodology.

I also wanted to be a part of the newly formed Master of Architecture program, a program that wasn’t reliant on maintaining what had succeeded in the past, but rather was trying to figure out its course, its potential. I was a member of the first graduating class.

How did your LSU degree help to prepare you for your profession?

LSU offered the tools to think critically about design, to question the current practice and to “build an army” of knowledge. It was the frequent one on one discussions with professors in the halls of Atkinson, as well as the recommended readings, that made a large impact on my ideas of architecture.

LSU also happens to be situated in an extremely diverse area of the country… unlike anywhere else in the United States. The area’s vernacular architecture offered knowledge built up over centuries, ways to design within an environment.

What current or past research and projects/exhibitions have you done?

I am currently in design development on Yale University’s new Health Services Center. Not only do I find it very rewarding to work with talented individuals in our office, but I have the opportunity to work with some of the best consultants in their given field. Together, along with the Yale University user group, we are designing a new facility on the campus that is exciting, sustainable and conscious of its site.

What are your plans for the future?

I’ve actually never been very good at planning tomorrow. All you can do is continue to enjoy what you’re doing and adapt to changes along the way. I would like to increasingly test the boundary of architecture…to explore possible collaborations outside the field of architecture…to experiment with guerilla installations…a sowing of programmatic intervention…