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Alumni Profile: Erion Nikolla

Meet BAC alumnus Erion Nikolla and hear about his journey from Albania to the BAC and his current role as architect at Wilson Butler Architects

What brought you to the BAC? How did you first hear about it?
My circumstances aren't very common. I'm originally from Albania and came to the States when I was 19 after my family and I won the green card lottery. I didn't know much English but I knew I wanted to do architecture. After attending UMass Boston for a year, I transferred to the BAC and began my academic career there. I graduated with my Bachelor of Architecture in 2017.

What is your current role at Wilson Butler Architects? How has the BAC prepared you for where you're at now?

I'm an architect at Wilson Butler Architects. For more than 22 years Wilson Butler Architects have been designing performing arts centers and state-of-the-art entertainment venues on land and at sea. I'm involved with two ships at the moment. These projects are much longer than a typical land project, so you need to be prepared for a journey. Even though they take an average of 4 years to complete, the process is very intensive. You have to coordinate with large teams on a daily basis. It's never dull, that's for sure!

Recently, I've been taking strides toward becoming a project leader. You always have to ask yourself "what is the team's goal? How can you better serve your team?" This doesn't happen overnight, these are skills I first began to develop while at the BAC. Time management becomes essential when you are both, a full-time student and a full-time practitioner. These skills begin at school but can translate to any team in any career. Going to the BAC has definitely given me a big hand in time management.

What advice would you give current students at the BAC?

No matter what you do or where you are, be resilient. Find a balance between pushing on and not burning yourself out. Know your goals because the clearer your path is, the better decisions you make. Give back if you can, you cannot make it on your own. The more you give back, the stronger future you build for yourself.

Who is an architect you admire?

My former boss had some of Frank Lloyd Wright's work on the wall at the old office. I'd see that often when I walked in and he sometimes talked about him, so I got to know Frank's work more than any other architect. But I always admired architecture that isn't shy to show you its structure. Any work that could blur the line between architecture and pure structure I always enjoyed. On that note, Calatrava would be another favorite.

Erion is currently working on confidential projects. Below is some of the work Wilson Butler Architects has recently completed.

Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University, Completed in 2019. All images by Robert Benson Photography.

Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University, Completed in 2019. 

The Theater in Celebrity Edge Cruise Ship. Completed in 2018.

The Theater in Celebrity Edge Cruise Ship. Completed in 2018.

Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University, Completed in 2019.

Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University, Completed in 2019.

Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University, Completed in 2019. All images by Robert Benson Photography.