Published: Dec. 14, 2021

Rachel Lee Lavine photo collage“My professor has made a positive impact on me as a student because she shows up for every class with her bright, encouraging, and enthusiastic personality. For me, this makes all the difference in the world because as a new college student, it's hopeful and very relieving to know that someone wants the best for you and is looking out for you.”

–Fellow Design Buff

Rachel Lee LavineThank you for being kind and being human – sometimes we could all use a smile and I’m glad I got one when I needed it most. 

What courses do you instruct? 
I currently teach the Beginning Digital Applications REVIT class and I am coordinating the 1020 Introduction to Architecture for incoming first-year and transfer students. In the past, I’ve dappled in environmental product design (EPOD) and taught upper-division architecture studios.

Where are you from? 
I grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and attended school in New Orleans and Glasgow, Scotland. After college I lived in Asia for a year, then Ireland for two years and eventually moved to Colorado. 

What inspired you to come and work for ENVD? 
I had been invited to participate, as a community artist member, with the Boulder Office of Arts and Culture to help select the first piece of public art for Boulder. I evaluated art along with other community members from the Boulder Arts Commission and museum curators from Boulder and Denver. It was such a dynamic, exploratory experience and I realized this type of collaboration was missing from my work as an architect. I missed the conversation around art and design and realized that I could have that experience as a teacher. And, I wanted to dream again – to relax the requirements and constraints of being a professional architect and reconnect with my passion for architecture and design from a more conceptual and figurative place. 

What have you enjoyed the most about being back in person on campus and ENVD? 
Running into all my wonderful students from the previous online spring and fall semesters! I have had so many unexpected encounters with friendly faces. The delight to be in person together has almost made that time online feel comical – like we are all real now and that was a fantasy world where we were simply heads on screens. 

What has been one of your favorite memories so far, this academic year? 
I had a funny moment during a final review a few days ago….one of my first-year students was presenting his project and when he finished his introduction my juror sat back and said, “I saw this project on Instagram.” And I thought (and then said), “WHAT? NO WAY! This project is completely original!” I felt so protective and offended and a little confused. And then the juror (and student) clarified that the student had photographed his model the day before, posted it on Instagram and the post had been reposted by @cuboulderenvd. So, it was the real deal and we all laughed. I felt a little #out-of-the-loop with that one! 

What’s your go-to activity during the winter/holiday months? 
I love baking in the winter and knitting. So if the house smells like warm baked goods and I have a cup of tea and my knitting in front of me then, all is well.