Student Spotlight: Will Prescott

Will Prescott

Will Prescott
Major: Architecture
Hometown: Naperville

Will Prescott's creative mind began designing at an early age, although he wasn't aware of its impact.

"Looking back on it, I think it was growing up playing computer games like The Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon, which gave you the ability to design these digital environments for people to inhabit and interact with, that nurtured this desire to create things in the real world," he said. "They were really early exercises in creatively conceptualizing spaces and expanding your imagination, disguised as simple games."

But his love of architecture took time to develop. In fact, in high school, he was having a hard time staying focused on any subject.

"I struggled to find any kind of motivation to work hard my last two years of high school, and this was reflected in my grades," he said. "My parents and I decided that rather than send me to a four-year university and shell out $30,000 a year for me to aimlessly wander through multiple majors, I would go to College of DuPage and pay a small fraction of the price while I went in search of something that would interest me and get me excited about school again."

That's exactly what happened. Prescott took his time before discovering his interest in architecture. After enrolling in COD's Architecture program, he was immediately guided toward classes that would help him transfer into the school of his choice.

Prescott graduated with high honors in 2012 with an Associate in General Studies and a Pre-Architecture Certificate. He also was accepted into the prestigious Versailles program at the University of Illinois and spent the 2012-2013 year in France studying architecture, an opportunity that may not have happened at another school.

Having found his motivation, Prescott is now designing his future.

"After I complete my bachelor's degree, I'd like to volunteer for a federal program like Americorps or the Peace Corps," he said. "The unique chance to help those in need while continuing my education in a foreign workplace is very appealing. After a few years of working, I plan to go back to graduate school somewhere on the West coast and pursue my master's degree so I can take my ARE (Architect Registration Exam) to be granted the official title of architect.

"I'd like to think that by the time I enter the professional workplace, environmentally friendly design will be the norm rather than something to strive for. Regardless, I would like to work to further our efforts to reduce carbon emissions created by buildings. I would prefer to work in low-income community housing and get the chance to show that good design is available to everyone. I like the idea of being challenged by a low budget to produce the best design possible, and prove that the quality of design doesn't have to be limited by the size of investment."

Prescott is inspired by Peter Zumthor, a Swiss architect who is a major part of a movement emphasizing the "atmospheric" qualities of architecture, those that engage all five senses through the use of light and material.

"His writings and designs come off as poetic and timeless, and really strike a chord with me personally," he said. "His Therme Vals, a hotel and spa in Switzerland, has become one of my favorite buildings which I plan on visiting this winter."

Prescott thanks College of DuPage for giving him the opportunity to develop this passion for architecture.

"More than anything, COD allowed me to take a risk," he said. "The instruction has been an individual experience where you can really connect with your professors. I'm more prepared than a typical university student and have a range of skills rather than one that's tailored to a specific school." 

More about the Architecture program