Sons and Daughters - Tara Follon building on the future

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Central graduate Tara Follon has been admitted to Iowa State University’s elite and prestigious architecture program.

Kim Hurley

Register Freelance Writer

Dreams do come true…with scrutiny and hard work. Not only being invited to step into almost any house, but actually being welcome to explore the whole edifice, has always been a dream come true for Tara Follon. As more and more people observed this vivid interest in the daughter of Craig and Tracy Follon of Volga, someone suggested that she should become an architect. “I remember only being in fourth grade at the time,” Tara recalls, “but that was when I decided I wanted to be an architect.”

“Some people’s ideas about what they want to do when they get older change all the time,” Tara points out, “but the more I looked into being an actual architect, I got more and more excited, and I realized that this is what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

After graduating from Central Community High School in 2014, Tara enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames where she spent her freshman year vying to get into the institution’s architecture program. This involved taking basic design classes and then compiling her work from those classes into a portfolio. Tara explains that, at the end of the year, she submitted her portfolio for it to be looked at by an anonymous group of people involved with the College of Design. On June 12, 2015, around a month after applying for admission, Tara received notification that she was accepted into the actual architecture program at ISU. This step towards fulfilling her dream of becoming an architect was no small feat. No matter how many students apply, only 80 get accepted into the program each year.

 Tara explains that every year, the architecture students are required to take a studio class, which is where they do their main projects. Last semester, the projects they did included designing a façade for a building, designing an area where a person could go through different spatial experiences, and designing an infill apartment building that would go in downtown Ames.  

Currently, the whole second year architecture class is working on a design-build project where they have observed how people used public space and then designed a structure where people can sit, study, talk, and eat on. Once they created the design, they had to make construction documents for each layer of the structure and physically build it themselves. “Not only did we go through the design process, we had to go through the construction and assembly process,” Tara points out, “so we can understand what happens to our design when we send it off to the construction company.” Because there are so many students working on this project, it also gives them a feel of what it will actually be like working in an architecture firm. 

Other classes Tara will have to take over the course of the architecture program include those which focus on architectural history, different types of building materials, environmental effects on buildings, and structure of buildings.  She will likely be interning at architectural firms during her upperclassman years.

Home sweet home! As she fulfills her dream of becoming an architect, she may very well fulfill your dream by designing your home sweet home.  That’s because she would prefer doing residential architecture: “I would love to be mainly involved in just the designing part of the house.”


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