Senior Cody Luke hones design skills inside and out of school

Senior Cody Luke works on an interior design art project for school. Luke helped create a scaled-model of the Arterra-Mission Bay housing complex alongside college interns during her internship this past summer.
Senior Cody Luke works on an interior design art project for school. Luke helped create a scaled-model of the Arterra-Mission Bay housing complex alongside college interns during her internship this past summer.

Lauren Jung

While other students are cramming for the next class period’s test or grabbing a hot drink from Tully’s with friends, senior Cody Luke can be found flipping through various pictures of building interiors and exteriors, ranging from the ornate to the simplistic.

“I always have a Dwell magazine in my backpack,” says Luke as she pulls out the latest edition of the modern residential architecture and design magazine from in between her books. “Even though it seems boring, it gives me inspiration, and I like to look at it whenever I have some free time, like in between classes.”

Luke has been interested in design and architecture ever since she was in middle school.

“I used to have my mom drive around the different neighborhoods in the city after basketball practice so that I could look at all the different buildings,” said Luke. “I would take pictures of them with my camera, and if I saw something unique or a certain design of a house that I liked, I would go home and design a chair or a piece of furniture that would incorporate those elements.”

During this past summer, Luke interned at Kwan Henmi, an architecture firm located in downtown San Francisco, through Enterprise for High School Students, a citywide school-to-career agency.

Luke assisted the firm’s professional architects by binding books for presentations, sorting out samples rooms and organizing material binders.

Luke also worked in a group with college interns to build a scaled model of the Arterra-Mission Bay housing complex. She learned how to use AutoCAD, a professional architectural software system that creates 3-D renderings of buildings.

“We made the building in AutoCAD, and I took measurements from the other parts of the building to design some of the windows,” said Luke. “We printed them out, and I had to cut out each window paneling individually, which is about the size of half a pinky fingernail, and paste it onto our foam core and museum board for our model.”

Luke also worked on smaller projects, including resizing the Kwan Henmi logo for a presentation poster and designing a battery-recycling receptacle for the office.

“It really helped that we learned how to use InDesign and Photoshop in school,” said Luke. I got more opportunities to work on projects because I knew how to use the programs.”

Architecture is everywhere, but is often pushed into the back of people’s minds according to Luke.

“It’s all around us and we don’t even realize it,” said Luke. “One time I was washing my hands in the third floor bathroom, and I realized that someone designed this, someone planned the layout of the stalls, the sinks, the lights. It’s artwork, and we don’t really appreciate it enough.”

Architects not only design building exteriors, but also collaborate with engineers and builders to decide where lighting, vents and sprinkler systems are placed. They also make decisions on the color and texture of a building’s walls, floorings, and furnishings.

“I used to think I wanted to be an architect in general, but then I realized that I didn’t really like the plumbing and electrical part,” said Luke. “That’s how I got channeled more into interior design.”

Luke describes her design style as ultra modern and contemporary.

“I like using steel and glass materials in my designs because they are kind of dark and cool,” said Luke. “To bring in life, I like to intermix them with eco-friendly materials and natural elements like wood.”

Luke takes AP Studio Art 3-D at school, but she has also taken courses at the Academy of Art University in Interior Architecture and design and 3D modeling in the past couple of years.

“Cody has the potential to be a cutting-edge designer,” said art teacher Rachel McIntire. “She is a contemporary minimalist, but she is also interested in a larger, sustainable design movement. ”

Although Luke isn’t sure if architecture is exactly the path for her in the future, she still wants to learn more about it.

“You have to be extremely ambitious because it takes a long time to become an architect,” said Luke. “You only make a lot of money if you’re famous, but I don’t really care about that. I’m definitely going to try to get into an art school, and I know I will like architecture, but there are still a lot of different areas that I want to explore.”