Amber Salach is often outnumbered at work — when meeting with clients, sitting down in a boardroom or overseeing work at a construction site, she’s typically the only woman around.
According to local industry professionals, she’s the one and only female architect currently working in the city.
“It was, and still is, pretty intimidating,” the associate at Yallowega Bélanger Architecture said. “I have to be confident in what I do.”
Throughout her young professional career, the 30-year-old already had the opportunity to prove herself by working on projects like the South End library, the addition at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School, Princess Anne Public School and her personal favourite, Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School.
The hometown girl, who grew up in Azilda, said she enjoys the challenge of designing institutional facilities that have a “welcoming, comforting feel,” while ensuring projects stay on schedule and on budget.
Salach studied at the School of Architecture at Carleton University — it’s where she completed her bachelor degree, as well as her masters. Before heading to university, Salach graduated from Lockerby Composite School, where she let her appreciation of arts, maths and sciences flourish.
Once she hit the post-secondary ranks, she learned about the art of architecture from classrooms as well as international destinations.
While she loved visiting places like Spain to learn about design, she “definitely” knew she wanted to come back home to Sudbury. Ten years since she began her endeavours, she is happy to be bringing her visions, as well as those of her clients, to life.
“I want to make beautiful buildings for the Sudbury community,” she said. “I want to make buildings we are going to want to preserve.”
Lofty aspirations, but not unattainable. Salach said she’s happy to be in the industry now — in the midst of a “design revolution,” in a city that’s allowing her craft room to grow. The creation of Laurentian University’s School of Architecture means good things for the city, she said.
The contributions of the downtown school don’t end there either, Salach added.
“While (students) are learning, they’re also contributing to new cultures downtown.”
When she returned to live and work in Sudbury, she wanted to “inject some new young blood into the design community.”
“Every day is a challenge,” she said with a smile, but every day is also rewarding.
Posted by Arron Pickard