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Bridgett Wakefield

Bridgett Wakefield

Project architect, Reifsteck Reid & Co. | Parkland professor | Class of 1996

This Illini memory is dedicated to the late, great James Warfield, who “saw the world with different eyes — and invited his students into that world,” says one of those students, Bridgett Wakefield.

“The view of architecture that he professed was people-centric, and his methods were intimately effective,” adds the Parkland College professor and Champaign architect, who earned her UI bachelor’s degree in 1996 and her master’s two years later.

“Professor Warfield was the advisor for my thesis, ‘Through the Eyes of a Child: Building Environments that Work.’ The first six months flew by as my research easily flowed into place. I combined psychology, education theories and physiology of children to determine what their ‘ideal’ environment would be at each elementary grade level.

“However, since I had so much great research, I found myself stumbling when trying to translate it into the design. I will never forget the day that Professor Warfield ‘raided’ my desk – removing all of the drawing utensils and paper.

“He handed me a large sumi-e brush, a well of black ink and a pad of thick paper. ‘Only draw with this for a week.’

“I thought he was insane. But of course, I did as he requested. The result was an award-winning design.

“Professor Warfield has since passed away, but his memory will definitely live on through the students he guided.”