Along with her classmates in the Design Workshop at Parsons, Leah King brought the Margaretville Pavilion—a 5,000-square-foot community center with an outdoor pavilion, an enclosed kitchen, a deck, and a tower—to life. King, who graduated from Parsons’ Master of Architecture program in 2008, explains that the “design-build” program was one of the reasons she chose to study at Parsons and was her favorite aspect of the architecture curriculum overall.
Through her coursework at Parsons, King was introduced to the concept of sustainable design, which became a major component of her master’s thesis. “I explored smart materials and new technologies as a way to improve the efficiency of space, light, air, water usage, and heating in housing units. I focused on Harlem, an area undergoing transition and gentrification. There, I found a way to modify the traditional brownstone with a skin structure that allows for these physical and environmental changes while accommodating the changing social trends of the neighborhood.” The interdisciplinary and integrative approach to sustainable design that King learned at Parsons is one she applies in her present position as an architect at Kutnicki Bernstein Architects.
According to King, New York City provides the perfect setting for the study of architecture. She says, “Classes take advantage of the diversity and significance of New York architecture. We took a variety of field trips and walking tours; we even took a ferry tour of the Gowanus Canal, something most people never do!”