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Founders

Matthew Abbott

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Matthew Abbott is a 2011 graduate from the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Architecture program. He is currently enrolled there working toward a Masters in IPD (Integrated Project Delivery). Matthew’s passion for architecture began at an early age playing with Blocks, Legos, Lincoln Logs, and drawing everything in sight. Born into a Coast Guard family he moved often growing up, and those experiences engrained in him a love of travel, and an appreciation for exposure to new things. As a founding member of Toasting Design he strongly believes in several key requirements for an Architect that lead to good projects. The first of these is that you have to experience good Architecture in order to practice it! The phrase “seeing is believing” is a simple explanation for the difference between experiencing a project and simply reading about it. Perhaps seeing is understanding though, would be closer to the truth. Next is the importance of site/cultural context on a project, which are important aspects to integrate into the design process. Both of these beliefs have spurred Matthew to extensive travel in such places as Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Uganda, Japan and South Korea to name a few. These travels only deepened his love of learning about different cultures and customs, and the impact they have on design. This passion surfaces in his photography as he tries to capture these unique moments. Finally there is Matthew’s strong belief that the method in creating a project is just as important as the end product. In an age of increasingly more complicated projects it is of fundamental importance to work with teams of Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Owners from the beginning to ensure the best possible product. To break down the silos that exist between these fields is essential and with the help of technology, can allow us to reach the building industry’s fullest potential. These are a few of Matthew’s ideals that he is excited to implement as Toasting Design advances.

Aric Austermann

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As a 2011 honors graduate from the Illinois Institute of Technology Architecture program Aric is a founding member of ToastingDesign. According to legend, his journey in architecture started in kindergarten when he drew a perspective on a chalkboard that was saved to show his parents. During his studies at IIT Aric focused on the use of computers in architecture and the role they play in facilitating design. This focus will help him in the design of mega-structures that have fascinated him since he was a kid.

Ryan Bloom

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Ryan graduated in 2011 cum laude from the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture.  His love for design and construction stems from his closet full of Legos and K’nex, his enjoyment of art and building, and the addictive Roller Coaster Tycoon computer game.  His studies at IIT drew him to an excitement for sustainability, design progression, building construction, and the efficiency of space.

As a founder of ToastingDesign, Ryan plans to use his energy and passion to bring innovation to architecture through the use of practical sustainability, collaboration of disciplines, efficiency, and an emphasis on the needs of people using design.

Mark Swingler

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Fiancé, Architect Intern at Aspen Group, recent Illinois Institute of Technology Graduate, Co-Founder ToastingDesign, Director of Design for Makazi non-profit, music & design enthusiast.

Contributors

Laurie Feldman

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Laurie is Brooklyn born and raised.Architecture Alumna, class of 2011, from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Pursued Specializations in Landscape Architecture and Architecture History/Theory. Currently pursuing an Online Masters of Infrastructure Planning and Management with the University of Washington.

She didn’t know she wanted to study Architecture until her Art Teacher recommended it at a Parent Teacher Conference her Junior Year of High School. Good thing she listened otherwise she might be a Librarian now instead.

Contrary to popular belief and her boyfriend’s insistence, she has no mob connections, sorry to disappoint….(not really)

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