Sam Coats came to the BAC immediately after graduating from high school in 2007. Since then, he has worked for firms, developers, and non-profits. He currently works full-time for Youth Build Boston, a non-profit whose mission is to empower and assist underserved young people with the essential social, vocational, academic, and life skills necessary to navigate a positive pathway to self-sufficiency and neighborhood responsibility.
"I started at Youth Build Boston three years ago as an instructor for the after school architecture program called The Designery, which is a program geared toward acquainting inner-city youth with the practice of design. I was then promoted to program manager after the first year and currently oversee The Designery program as well as design/build projects, residential, and commercial interiors projects built by our construction department. What I enjoy most is engaging in tangible small scale design/build projects that can directly impact a community client, while seeing the students engage and learn at the same time."
Working at Youth Build Boston has offered Sam unique opportunities he might not have had in a traditional firm environment.
"I think non-profit work offers someone such as myself, who is passionate about design, the opportunity to experiment and take on a leadership position in ways the structure of a firm really does not allow as quickly. Though there are downsides as well in working with the extremely limited budgets and resources of the non-profit world, my experience has often been that small-budget projects produce the best design. This has directly correlated to my studies in that I am interested in engaging the building at a master plan scale while working with the tectonic functionality of a project through a rigor of full scale built mock-ups and construction details. I have also gained confidence and knowledge in construction through this position, which allows me to tackle many build-ability issues in my studio work."
During his youth, Sam's family took numerous service trips to developing countries to volunteer their time, and those experiences have molded his understanding of his work.
"From these trips I was exposed to the challenges these communities face as well as the design aesthetics they employ with their limited resources. This has shaped my study and career in ways I never foresaw. It has made me sensitive to the needs of not only the owner or builder of a project, but the communities which a project will impact. I believe having this sensitivity has driven my career at Youth Build Boston and at the BAC to think about how my profession has the power to shape our social and physical landscapes. I am not sure what my path looking forward will be but I am excited by this generation of emerging architects who feel a personal responsibility to engage in socially responsible design."
Sam has chaired the Emerging Professionals Network at the BSA, where he built relationships between its membership and area firms by organizing tours and events.