Alumni Focus: Trey King

In the Fall/Winter 2016 edition of Scribe, ESK features several alumni who are doing great things in the Knoxville community and beyond. We will bring those same stories to the blog here at Trey King is currently a junior at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va. He graduated from ESK in 2010. 

How did your time at ESK prepare you for high school/college? 

ESK gave me the chance to explore academics on my own terms. The freedom built into the curriculum gave me the chance to find and hone what I was passionate about. I spent an absurd amount of time drawing, in and out of class, and my teachers were really good about letting me invest genuine academic interest in art. This may not have directly prepared me for the academic rigor of college–that’s what high school is for– but it certainly gave me the tools to understand what I really cared about. And that’s something that I exercise in studio every day.

Was there a teacher (or can you think of a story) that captures what makes ESK special?

There was a core group of teachers that embodied ESK’s educational spirit: Mrs. Coburn, Mat Luce, Susan Lancaster and several others. They recognized that we had a lot to learn without patronizing, and that meant a lot. Middle school is a tricky age. My classmates and I were at wildly different developmental points, both physically and mentally, and it takes a really good educator to recognize this and act accordingly. This is something I’m really thankful to have had.

Where did you develop your passion for architecture and design?

I think it really came from my high school studio classes, but I’ve loved drawing since I was a toddler.

Can you tell me about your experience thus far with the architecture program at Virginia Tech? 

VT’s architecture program is fantastic. I like it for the same reason I liked ESK: my studio classes give me an incredible amount of freedom to explore architectural ideas on my own terms. I have loved every minute of my time at college, both in and out of studio.

What has been the most rewarding part of the program? 

Like I said above, the academic freedom intrinsic to the program is what makes it so great. My work doesn’t feel like classwork: It feels natural, and it’s pretty much what I’d be doing with my free time. Drawing has always served as a tool for me process and understand things, and architecture lets me do exactly that.

What did you learn from your internship with BarberMcMurry this summer? 

BarberMcMurray gave me a unique look at the firm’s hidden machinery. I was able to sit in on meetings and take notes on site visits, among countless other really neat chances to find out what goes on behind the scenes. The experience gave me a critical understanding of the reality of working as part of a firm, and I’m as excited as ever.

I know your program requires you to study abroad prior to graduation. Do you know where you will be studying? How do you think that experience will help you grow in your field?

I’m hoping to participate in the school’s Travel Program– it turns the idea of a studio inside-out in a really cool way. I would basically spend a semester backpacking across Europe and, with the guidance of a professor,  analyze renowned buildings all over the continent. I think experiential learning is really important, especially in architecture (buildings should be made to be lived in, not looked at!)  and the Travel Program is a prefect chance to get this.