The Nautilus, Winter 2002
Amy Green Deines
1. How did your childhood influence your career choice and life?
My childhood had a great influence on my life. My parents were extremely supportive and enthusiastic about my creative endeavors. My father would often build furniture and cabinetry in his work shop which allowed me at a very early age to work with machinery and tools as well as witness the act of making.
2. Why did you choose to pursue architecture as a profession/area of interest? What about architecture motivates you?
Architecture, art and design have always played a major role in my life as well as form the way I perceive things. The real beauty for those of us who are lucky enough to truly find something we love to do and for which have great passion, is that the result is a lifestyle, not just a career.
3. Why did you choose teaching over strictly professional practice?
There is a balance that I have found through teaching and practicing that supports everything that I believe in. It is very important for me to feel that I contribute something to others around me. Obviously I contribute through my work, but to contribute to a student's creative development is a very rewarding experience. The balance allows me to constantly reflect on my own work and expose students to a more multi-disciplinary approach to design and architecture.
4. Please describe your approach to teaching.
Currently I teach freshman studios. There is a specific way to teach first-year architecture students that must engage them on many levels. Through short, rigorous projects, students are exposed to the design process, reinforcing the idea of thinking and applying. They begin to ask questions about the world they live in, and on a really good day, they begin to truly “see”. Testing their designs within the urban context is something that I like to expose students to as a means to both learn and observe. I constantly reinforce and encourage the idea of contribution back to the community and creating a holistic experience.
5. What is it about teaching at UDM that you like most?
UDM's relationship to Detroit is very important to me and is often the catalyst for specific studio projects and my personal teaching philosophy.
6. Please describe your philosophy on life.
Contribution to the architectural world, through smart design, offering those less fortunate a holistic architectural experience. A philanthropic approach to each solution. The design may be the mark but the by-product becomes a contribution to society.
7. What current projects or research are you working on?
Currently at my practice, Green+Deines Studio, we are working on a prototypical machine/design for IMX labs. It involves a great deal of collaboration between myself, engineers, chemists, graphic designers and software designers. We currently have 10 patents pending and have already been awarded two.
The overall concept of the project/ product is using a blend of art, science and technology, allowing creativity that can be explored through young women, empowering them to make strong choices. Beginning November 2002, we will be installing in Fred Segal Boutique in Santa Monica, CA and Nordstrom department store in Las Vegas, Nevada. The project will soon be published in Wired magazine, Glamour Magazine, I.D. and various other fashion magazines.
8. What do you do outside of teaching, ie. personal and professional activities?
I have a five year-old son named Jack, who keeps me very busy! My husband, Kelly, is also a designer. He is currently practicing at Rossetti Architects, Birmingham, MI. Kelly is frequently a guest at my studio presentations. Kelly and I both attended Cranbrook Academy of Art. He received his M.F.A. in industrial design, while I received my M.Arch. So the real balancing act begins at home, constantly including everyone in my family. Our son has been exposed to studio life since the moment he arrived. I can see the positive influence in his life already.
9. What keeps you at UDM?
UDM/SOA and its mission statement is what I believe is the core of a rich education. It also has an amazing group of faculty and administrators. I am constantly being challenged in this academic environment.
10. What are your plans for the future, personal or professional?
My plans—to seek interesting, challenging work that involves philanthropic pursuits. Collaborating with other disciplines, and working more in the urban context from micro to macro.
11. What accomplishment are you most proud of, both personally and professionally?
Giving birth to my son and giving birth to my degree show at Cranbrook Academy of Art. (during which Jack was 1-1/2 years old.)
12. What would you like alumni to know about you and what you have to offer students and the University?
I am an extremely dedicated individual who has a multi-disciplinary background, both academically as well as professionally.
I am a practicing designer that engages a collaborative approach to each project, offering a variety of experiences in practice and teaching.