Ever since Doug Seidler ‘93 was in fourth grade, he loved math and drawing. He knew from a very young age that with these skills he could become an architect. Throughout his college search during Upper School, he consciously looked for universities with architecture programs. What he didn’t realize then was that he had even more to offer the world.
After being named Shorecrest’s Outstanding Senior in 1993, Seidler went off to the University of Florida, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture. While at Florida, he studied at the Vicenza Institute of Architecture (Vicenza, Italy) and the Preservation Institute: Nantucket (Nantucket, MA). He graduated at the top of his class and was awarded the AIA Henry Adams Medal. He then began work at The Scott Partnership as a designer. There, he helped design and develop an open-heart surgical ward and cath lab at the Leesburg Regional Medical Center. He then worked as a designer at both Morris Architects and Ellenzweig Associates.
After his time with architecture firms, Seidler sought a new career challenge and made the transition to teaching. As an assistant professor at Suffolk University for 6 years he discovered a passion for teaching. When the opportunity of teaching Interior Design at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia opened up, he jumped at the position. He found teaching to be rewarding as he could sense immediate feedback from his students, whether it be positive or negative.
Seidler feels personally fulfilled when teaching and loves the challenge of trying to convey ideas that can be meaningful to students. He learned these skills from his Shorecrest AP Biology teacher, David Hyink. Seidler says he thanks his students for coming to the obligatory class each day, as if they had a choice, just like Mr. Hyink did for his classes.
Seidler loves the concept of learning from unexpected situations. He reflects personally about how his own failures brought him to his successful, happy self today. He says, “the more you can fail, the sooner you’ll find what makes you happy.” Unexpected situations in life - whether it be changing careers or having a difficult class or day - make you the person you are, Seidler says.
Unexpected situations can also bring new ideas to the table. We asked Seidler to share how design has changed since he was in school. “It’s not an evolution of design, but an evolution of consumer demand.” Seidler explains how through evidence-based design, he and his students form models that will be both aesthetically and scientifically successful. For instance, he describes how schools’ classrooms years ago lacked windows because the designers didn’t want students to look outside and become distracted. In contrast, today’s classrooms have windows because it has been tested that students perform better on assessments when there is natural sunlight present. His students also research which kinds of fabrics and other materials would best inhibit the growth of bacteria.
By following the path of architecture, Doug Seidler found underlying passions for teaching and mentorship he didn’t know he had beforehand. Now, Seidler's academic research focuses on the application of pedagogical research in design education. Doug has used his architecture knowledge and background to build a career in education. He has published three textbooks and presents at national conferences on design education.
Though not always an easy thing to do, Doug trusts the process of change because he believes it can lead you down the right road in the long run.