Alabama School of Math and Science (ASMS) 2000 alumna Lana Smelley is a National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) certified Architect in Alabama. After graduating from Auburn University with degrees in Interior Architecture and Architecture, Smelley has been working mostly with residential designs. Living in a rural area of Alabama, Smelley’s aspiration is to provide vernacular language so that her designs visually suit, in material and style, her rural community.
“My goals for working in architecture locally is to provide good design for the people here,” Smelley says. “Too often, rural communities get left behind in design work. I’m taking what I have learned as a student with Rural Studio and applying them to my clients.”
Smelley defines architecture as a unique profession that combines science and art with community activism, with all designs affecting the community.
“People of varying ages and from different socio-economic backgrounds should feel comfortable in [their] space,” Smelley says. “It’s like an endless puzzle that you pick and choose design solutions based on circumstances (and budget) to make the project work. To make it work and be aesthetic in form is the complexity of the architecture.”
Smelley’s understanding of social differences and drive for excellence was cultivated by her experiences. A valuable experience she states was her time at ASMS.
“ASMS taught me how to research,” Smelley says. “Before attending ASMS, I wrote a few papers here and there at my local school, but ASMS really pushed us to research and write. It’s such an underrated, yet critical skill in this day. I had to work harder than ever before in my education and I think it gave me confidence in doing challenging coursework in college..”
Providing students with an excellent education has been the ASMS’s foremost goal for its students since 1989. A residential campus experience also pushes students to engage with people who come from different backgrounds, in turn making them more well-rounded students.
Smelley’s latest environmentally conscious design with the team at Rural Studio: Hale County Animal Shelter
Photo: Magnolia Tree Media