Artist of the Month: Noah Liao

Courtesy of Helen Mehreteab

Courtesy of Helen Mehreteab

Sam Bernardi, Staff Writer

“Ever since I was younger, I was pretty curious about making models, finding out how things work. I chose architecture as a route to pursue that,” explained junior Noah Liao.

Clearly, it was an obvious choice for Liao when he signed up for his eighth grade art elective three years ago. This architecture minor course served as a gateway into the taxing, but rewarding world of Princeton Day School’s Upper School Architecture Program, one of the best in the country. But, the question is: did he know what he was getting himself into when he chose this course?

“I had very little knowledge and skill freshman year,” said Liao. With the help of architecture teacher David Burkett, Noah soon honed his skills with lots of practice, and he became one of the more talented members of his class. During Liao’s sophomore year, Mr. Burkett gave each one of his students 16 different architectural sites that they were required to research. They were then given an exam on the sites, and Liao placed very high on the test and was thus given freedom to further explore.

He chose to study the Bridge School in China, which appealed to him for a couple of reasons. One of these was how the school united two tribes. Another reason he chose to focus on this school was because it  physically brought together mountains and made a statement. The bridge project has helped Liao discover what he enjoys and has affected his future plans. “Next year, I would be interested in designing my own house, making a statement through it,” said Liao.

Over the course of just three years, Liao has developed into an extremely talented artist— quite the jump from his beginning as a fifth grader at PDS. When asked to reflect upon his experience with Upper School architecture, Liao said, “I’ve learned how long it takes to work and create all the models.” This was certainly an appropriate response when considering the well-known workload that comes with taking architecture.

“There’ve been times where I wanted to give up,” Liao commented. Perseverance is without a doubt one of the most rewarding attributes gained from taking architecture. “It’s all about time management. Architecture has helped [with] managing time for my courses. I see a lot of overlap between them.” Learning how to control schoolwork is certainly a difficult task, but by challenging himself, Liao has become better at managing his work. He is also thankful for the course because, “It has opened my eyes to landmarks and buildings in the real world. I see things I would not have normally seen,” he said.

It is more than fair to say that with the support of his mentor, Mr. Burkett, Liao has quite the bright future at PDS and beyond high school.