Ryley Poblete MArch ’14 knew he wanted to study architecture much earlier than most. While still in high school, Poblete was lucky enough to participate in an engineering enrichment program at the University of Toronto, and was exposed to advanced software— like Revit and Inventor—by a zealous teacher. After competing in several local design competitions, he won the AIA Houston’s annual Michael G. Myers Design & Scholarship Competition, and subsequently enrolled at the University of Houston, graduating summa cum laude in 2012 with a bachelor of architecture degree.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Poblete worked part time throughout his undergraduate career. During this time, a partner at HOK (a global design, architecture, engineering, and planning firm) encouraged him to shift his focus from engineering to design. Upon graduation, Poblete joined the design team at HOK full-time to work under Peter Ruggiero MAUD ’84, who instilled in him an appreciation of “the space between an instigator of urban space.”
Poblete came across a number of GSD-produced publications while at HOK, including Ecological Urbanism, A Guide to Shopping, A Great Leap Forward, and The Function of Ornament, which he found especially provocative. These readings inspired him to apply to the School, and he began his coursework in architecture and urban design. While attending, he continued to explore a theme that arose from his undergraduate thesis: urban growth patterns, the development of industrial sites, and resource extraction in proximity to urban space. Today, Poblete is working as an architectural designer at Gensler in Houston where he concentrates on high-rise and large-scale campus design.
Poblete says his giving follows the spirit of his parents’ example, and he enjoys contributing to institutions that have helped shape him, “To me, it’s a way to say ‘thank you.’ If none of us gave back, there would not be institutions like Harvard.” This past year, Poblete increased his donation, a sign of his continued commitment to the GSD, and his gratitude for a world-renowned education at the School. He reflects, “I was lucky to get the opportunity to work with amazing people during my two years at the GSD. I would like to help other students, no matter their economic means, have the same opportunities as me.”