Sean Bailey

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a relatively small town west of Denver in the Foothills of the Rockies. It was a really beautiful spot close to skiing and great hiking and but still close to Denver so it had the best of both worlds. It was a good place to grow up but it was a good place to get out of too.

Where did you go to school?

I went to school at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. I knew they had a great program for architecture and was intrigued by getting out to the West Coast so it was a good fit.

What made you want to choose architecture as a career?

My dad is a homebuilder so I spent a lot of my formative years framing houses on his jobsites. He designed some of his own homes and would let me help with some of the drawings as I got older. I don’t think he ever explicitly pushed me towards it as a career path but his guidance and profession created the tools and opportunities to learn about it at a young age and it helped that I always had enjoyed drawing and math. I feel fortunate because I had to declare a major before I even started college and it’s really hard to know what you want to do at that age. Luckily, I haven’t never had any doubts that I ended up in the right field and still great a great deal of enjoyment out of it every day.

What was the pivotal moment in your education?

As is the case with many things, a great teacher makes all the difference in the world. I can think of two or three professors that completely changed the way I thought about architecture in college and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am without having had those experiences. That and traveling and seeing the architecture of new places. The nice thing about traveling is there is always a new place out there to visit that can change your perception of architecture and urban design.

How long have you been with Pfau Long?

I was really young when I started working at Pfau Long during an off-campus internship program during college. I was fortunate enough to get hired on right out of school in a period of economic downturn and worked for the firm for a couple years after college. After about three years, I left and went back to Colorado for a year and then returned to the Bay Area and worked for a couple other firms in San Francisco then came back to Pfau Long about a year and half ago.

What’s your role at Pfau Long?

I am working as a Job Captain capacity currently. I was able to work in a fulfilling role on 270 Brannan and now on the Golden State Warriors Office project where I can take a management role over the set of drawings and head up a lot the consultant coordination as well as be an active member of the design team throughout all phases.

What’s your favorite thing about working here?

Having worked at some other firms and gotten some different office experiences, I found that Pfau Long has a great balance in terms of exciting innovative design projects in the office, a positive and healthy office atmosphere and great and talented people to collaborate with. My favorite thing is probably the people and the work itself.

How do you define great architecture?

To me, this is a question that I have continued to learn more about as I have gotten older and had more experience in the profession. When I was younger and coming out of school, I think I tended to think of architecture as more of a sculptural piece of art. And of course it needs to be a beautiful three dimensional object on its own but I’ve grown to appreciate great architecture as something that creates a fulfilling statement for a client and meets their needs and budget and is the end product of healthy collaboration and innovation between many different designers and engineers. I see great architecture as a quiet and appropriate background to human interaction in which the beauty is in the materials themselves and the honest display of their connections.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be?

I’ve grown up playing music and would probably choose to be in a band in some capacity. It’s easy to draw up parallels between architecture and music but I enjoy playing music most with other people and the improvisation when a group comes together to play the various parts of a song. It’s a fulfilling feeling to be part of something bigger than yourself and to me, playing music is the most visceral example of that.

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