Staff Spotlight: Up Close + Personal with Kathleen Sowle

Our team is growing and full of team members with different experience, backgrounds, and interests. Check out our latest Staff Spotlight with
Kathleen Sowle. How would you answer?


 What made you get interested in architecture and design?

As an Army family, we moved often, living in a variety of homes and exploring historic sites and locations during summer breaks. In Kansas, our home was previously a Civil War era church – destroyed in a fire and rebuilt as two officer’s quarters. Inhabiting that house surely influenced my interest in adaptive reuse. In Mannheim, Germany our home was literally the mirrored plan of our house in Bremerhaven. My preference for asymmetry stems from this lived experience. Mannheim’s Multihalle (Frei Otto) opened in ‘76 with a National Flower Show – can’t recall the flowers, yet I do recall being awed by the space & form, saying to my Dad, “this is better than anything on the Jetsons!” His reply, “and it’s real, dear, as are the flowers you are standing on.” Packing and unpacking and setting up home again and again, we worked as a team – I attribute my love of space planning to these bi-annual family moves.


What is something fun that we might not know about you?

Tomatoes for Sunday sauces, a strawberry patch, and a variety of hot peppers grow on our roof. Tending this wee “bucket farm” – that I access by a multi-story fire escape,  provides my version of daily cardio minutes from April to November. 


 Other than architecture and gardening, what do you enjoy?

I’m an educator at heart and an arts enthusiast. Before joining Lothrop, I taught Architectural Design and through volunteer work, developed arts based programs led by creatives in my East Harlem Community. Critique and group discussions enhance literacy, listening and communication skills. The programs are a catalyst for acceptance of each others’ differing perspectives and backgrounds.

Giving back to my community, seeding a joy for lifelong learning, and an appreciation for the arts, is a passion of mine.


What type of projects do you work on here at Lothrop Associates?

Historic Preservation and Public Libraries are my focus. Libraries are centers for their communities, providing resources and space for study, cultural exchange, and extra curricular programs. The buildings of our past, like Libraries, are vessels of societal knowledge. Preservation for future generations is, to my mind, as important as preserving the right to read, to vote, and to succeed. 


What has been your favorite project and why?

I can’t pin a favorite project – but I can offer this:

The best projects are executed by a team with a shared vision. Improving and preserving the built environment, for the communities that our client’s serve, is our mutual goal. At Lothrop, we are our clients’ collaborative partners. It’s truly a great place to work.