Architect Gloria Kloter Talks About Joy and Purpose in Architecture and Motherhood
Text By: Jack Baldwin
Photos Provided by: Gloria Kloter
If you are a regular listener of our podcast By Design, you've heard some fascinating and inspiring stories from a number of creative professionals and fellow entrepreneurs.
Author, architect, and mother Gloria Kloter of GLOW Architects joins us for our next episode of By Design
Recently, I spoke with Gloria Kloter AIA, NCARB, CODIA about architecture, motherhood, entrepreneurship and her new book "The Architecture of Motherhood". She is an award-winning architect, founder, and CEO of Glow Architects and she is expecting her second child later this year!
Her story is an inspiring and personal testimony of how a woman fell in love with architecture and created a life for herself but decided to give everything up for love and follow the American Dream.
Little did she know, a pandemic, a baby, and a new business would all happen at once! Follow Gloria's incredible journey to becoming a worldwide renowned architect and business owner while being a new mom.
Through this book, you'll learn how women in any industry can find a balance between their professional life and motherhood without having to compromise either role.
Gloria is originally from the Dominican Republic and has been a keynote speaker, author, and practicing architect since 2004. She works hard for the interests of fellow immigrant architects, women in architecture, and mothers worldwide.
Gloria currently serves as the Architect Licensing Advisor of the State of Florida through AIA Florida. She is a part of the Board of Directors of the AIA Tampa Bay, where she is the chairperson of the Women in Architecture committee.
Gloria has spoken at the Young Architect conference, NCARB's Architect Licensing Advisor Summit, AIA National Conference on Architecture, Women Architects Festival, World Creativity and Innovation Conference, AIA WMR Vision 2020, and Realty 2.0, among other events.
Below is a condensed version. of the transcript from our interview with Gloria Kloter. You can listen to the entire interview with Gloria on our podcast By Design.
Jack: Hi, this is Jack Baldwin with By Design from Reynard Architectural Designs.
Today I've got a one-on-one interview with a woman I admire whom I recently connected with. She is the author of the book "The Architecture of Motherhood" and the founder and principal architect of GLOW Architects in Tampa, Florida. Please welcome Gloria Kloter.
Gloria: I'm Gloria Kloter. I am originally from the Dominican Republic, where I was born and raised, studied, and did my bachelor's in architecture and master's degree.
I came to the states in 2015. So I've been here for a few years now. I live and practice currently in Tampa.
Jack: Where did you get the name GLOW from? I love it!
Gloria: One day, I was doing a devotion in the morning and read the Bible about what it means to be the "light of the world."
It really spoke to me because one of the things I've wanted to do, not just designing, but with my clients and the people around me. I want them to feel enlightened in the process. For me, that meant bringing purpose, connection, and joy to my work with clients.
Also, when I was in college, people used to call me "Glow," so it just made sense!
Jack: I remember that from your book!
I'm excited because we have two cool things to discuss with you. One is architecture, which is obviously one of our favorite topics on our show because we also run an architectural firm called Reynard Architectural Designs.
So it's always fun to have architects on here... and I'm dying to hear about your work, where you get inspiration and some of your favorite projects.
You also recently wrote a book while launching a new architectural firm, raising a two-year-old daughter during a disruptive time. I also understand you have another child due in December!
Let's talk about the book. It's called "The Architecture of Motherhood." What connection do you see between architecture and motherhood?
Gloria: There is such a strong connection, and it's funny because I was so afraid of motherhood before I became a mother. I realized through my own experience how connected the two scenes are like we are, um, you know, as, as mothers, we are vessels from God. We are creating life through our bodies, and it's just like such a miracle.
When you are an architect, you are creating things from nothing. You get inspiration from things around you that influence your decisions as an architect.
You want to create in, most of the time, things from nothing, and to me, you impact society with what you do, either positive or negative, and the way we live as parents.
And I know that my book is pretty much oriented toward mothers because it spoke to me about what I went through before I got to this point.
I wanted to share that story to encourage working mothers to "go for it" and know they can succeed as working professionals and mothers.
There's no reason to feel that this motherhood will stop your career or make you less of an architect.
Jack: Do you think there is a stigma with motherhood? When you have a baby, you must drop everything; the only correct answer is to be a stay-at-home mom.
Everybody's got to make the choices that are best for them. Still, you wanted to find a way to keep pursuing your career and pursue motherhood. You did not want to let either one of those things suffer.
Gloria: It's not just with architecture but having a career in general.
Data supports the notion that many women haven't begun motherhood because of their careers.
The subject of women in architecture has always fascinated me.
I was recently at a committee meeting, and we were looking at documentaries about women architects.
One of the documentaries, "A Girl Is A Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright", is produced by the Beverly Willis foundation based in New York. The documentary tells the stories of many of the first women to practice architecture in the United States. The film also discusses the support women received from Frank Lloyd Wright and all he did to promote equality.
But you also realize how hard it was for women in the workplace for a long time. It took a long way to get where we are. Historically, there were so few women studying architecture.
I love my career, and I love being a stay home mom. Everybody will make their choices for different reasons, which will come with other sacrifices.
Jack: You know, there's a sacrifice to stay at home, and there's a sacrifice to try and balance work and motherhood.
Those are sacrifices, and each person will make the best choices for them. You decided there was a strong pull to pursue an active role in motherhood and grow your architectural business.
That's what is exciting about motherhood too. It's a life that begins with nothing but two people. Architecture is the same way.
It begins with an idea. It starts with a dream and a vision, and then you go through the process of putting it on paper, articulating it, and designing it.
Gloria: And when it's actually built, it's so satisfying.
But you must rely on reps, experts, engineers, general contractors, client relationships, banks' funding, materials, and many systems.
There's so much involved with building a building and bringing it into reality. And when you bring a baby into the world, you take on the role of raising a child. In the journey of motherhood and parenthood, the challenge of raising good kids takes a village.
You need people around you. You need a support system for your career and motherhood, too.
Jack: Exactly. It's always community, and architecture is building community, building families, and building a business is building community.
That's what gives us joy.
You can connect with Gloria on any of the following social media: