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June 21, 2024



Episode 3: From Pittsburgh to Italy: Bridging Architectural Dreams with Bea Spolidoro

In our latest edition of “Architecting an Interview,” I had the pleasure of speaking with Bea
Spolidoro, Principal and Owner of Fisher Architecture, about her unique transatlantic practice
and her inspiring journey in the field of architecture. Bea works mostly in Pittsburgh, and
remotely from Italy for a few months a year. However, for the past year, she has been setting up
the business so that she and her husband can also practice in Italy. This approach offers a
fascinating blend of cultural and architectural perspectives, making her insights particularly
valuable for both aspiring architects and seasoned professionals.

Embracing Dual Practice

Bea’s practice extends beyond the borders of the United States, embracing her Italian heritage
and offering services to American clients wishing to relocate or build in Italy. She
enthusiastically shared her vision:

“Basically, what we are trying to do is help American clients that want to relocate in Italy… not only from an architectural point of view but also with more concierge services. We have partners that can help with citizenship and other bureaucratic processes.”

This holistic approach not only simplifies the relocation process but also ensures that clients
have a seamless transition, supported by Fisher Architecture’s robust network of local
professionals in Italy.

Blending Cultural Insights

One of the standout points from our conversation was how Bea brings the charm of Italian
architecture to the U.S., and vice versa. Her travels and experiences across Europe heavily
influence her designs in Pittsburgh. She emphasized the importance of understanding how
people live and use spaces in different cultures:

What’s very important for us is really collecting ideas of how people live, how people use the space. Also at the urban level… I’m a strong advocate for making spaces more inviting.

This philosophy is evident in her projects, which often incorporate elements that promote
community interaction and efficient use of space, reflective of European urban design principles.

Overcoming Challenges

Bea recounted a particularly challenging project that tested her professional limits and helped
her grow. During the pandemic, a renovation and addition project faced significant setbacks
when the contractor disappeared, leaving the clients in a dire situation. Bea’s ability to pivot
from panic to problem-solving was a testament to her dedication and resilience:

In this process, I automatically shifted from panic mode to ‘we need to help these people’…
continuously trying to find solutions, redesigning elements, and finding the right people.

This experience not only solidified her reputation as a reliable architect but also reinforced the
importance of client trust and adaptability in the face of unforeseen challenges.

Mentorship and Growth

Mentorship plays a significant role in Bea’s career. She spoke highly of her experiences with
mentors who guided her through her early career stages. Bea also actively mentors young
professionals, emphasizing the importance of showing up and being open to learning:

If I have one superpower, it’s showing up. I keep showing up, I never give up.

Her commitment to continuous learning and professional development is evident in her
involvement with the AIA Pittsburgh, where she served as president in 2022. Bea encourages
new graduates to join professional associations to build community, learn beyond the
classroom, and grow as leaders.

Key Takeaways

  1. Holistic Services for Relocation: Fisher Architecture has recently started offering
    comprehensive services for clients relocating to Italy, from architectural design to
    bureaucratic assistance, ensuring a smooth transition.
  2. Cultural Influence in Design: Bea integrates European design principles into her U.S.
    projects, promoting efficient use of space and community-friendly urban design.
  3. Adaptability and Resilience: Overcoming project challenges with innovative solutions
    and a calm approach is crucial in maintaining client trust and delivering successful
  4. Importance of Mentorship: Both giving and receiving mentorship significantly
    contribute to professional growth and industry advancement.
  5. Continuous Learning: Staying curious and involved in professional communities helps
    architects stay updated on industry trends and expand their knowledge.

Bea Spolidoro’s journey is a testament to the power of cultural exchange, adaptability, and
continuous growth in architecture. Her dedication to creating meaningful spaces and supporting
her clients through every step of their architectural journey is truly inspiring. As Fisher
Architecture formally transitions to a women-owned business in 2024, we can expect even more
innovative and culturally rich designs bridging the best of both worlds.

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