Artur Nesterenko graduated from the Master of Science in Architecture, Real Estate Development program at Woodbury University’s San Diego campus. As the founder of Archillusion Design, he creates design-build projects throughout California and other regions. We caught up with Artur and asked him about his career as a designer and how his studies at Woodbury prepared him for the profession.
What projects have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
There are multiple projects that I am proud of; some already exist, and some are in the process of becoming a reality. As an example, one recently completed project that I am really happy about is “Melrose Station”, which is a secret speakeasy bar/ restaurant in Hollywood. The other one that I am really proud of and is in the process to be built is an apartment building located in NoHo Art District, North Hollywood. It’s called NoHo10, with total of 10 creative live/work units.
How did your time in the BArch and MSArch RED program at Woodbury prepare you to pursue your work?
From the first day in the BArch program I knew I wanted to work for myself and do my own projects. I would constantly imagine my future life, future work and projects. Sometimes, I would even write ideas in my sketchbook on what I should be doing when I finish university. That constant reminder programmed my mind and led me to join the MSArch Red program to become an architect-as-a-developer. MSArch RED opened my eyes and gave me a good direction on what I should be doing. NoHo10 was my thesis project at the MSArch RED Program and now this project is about to become a reality
What do you like best about working at your own firm, Archillusion?
Freedom and flexibility. I can work on what I want to work on and every project that I work on goes into my own portfolio. Archillusion consists of a small team of very talented people and without those people there would be no Archillusion. I can definitely say the best part of Archillusion is to be part of an amazing team that share same ideas, goals and dreams.
What sparked the idea for the Melrose Station project?
It’s really hard to find good clients that fully trust you with the design. With Melrose Station, I was lucky to meet clients that believed in me and my ideas. They gave me freedom to create everything from scratch. The only information I was given on this project was the location and the program of the space. The location of the space and the existing structure sparked the idea to create a secret 1920s train station-like interior design. Archillusion created the whole concept design of the bar, the name and the brand. Currently we are working on few exciting projects with the same client, and soon we’ll be ready to share them with the world.
What have been the biggest challenges in your career?
Developing my own projects without clients takes time and patience. The most important is to not over stress and always move forward. One of the biggest challenges is usually finance. At the end of the day we have all these great ideas and plans but not enough financial resources to successfully execute them. However, it’s just a challenge like anything else, and without these challenges and obstacles it wouldn’t be as fun.
Did your experiences at Woodbury help you to overcome the obstacles you’ve faced?
Woodbury gave me confidence and skills that are helping me to move forward. A lot of alumni say that there were not enough real-life experiences during BArch program, but in my opinion, it is the opposite. Working on imaginary, unrealistic projects at Woodbury made me think outside of the box and helped me with creative thinking. I can’t even imagine how boring it would have been to work on real-life like projects during the BArch. I am confident to say that the experience at Woodbury changed my life, my thinking and opened me to a whole new world that I did not see before.
What advice would you give to younger alumni or current students who aspire to enter the architecture profession?
Believe in yourself and listen to your inner self. Architecture is not a profession it’s a life style. So, if you choose architecture you choose a new life style that you have to love. My secret during architecture school years was to create what I thought was right without relying on someone’s opinion. Your professors and adviser in studios are there to advise you and guide you through the process, but the only way to succeed is to listen and trust yourself.
What would you say to a prospective student who is considering Woodbury University?
There are many good architecture schools and Woodbury University is definitely one of them. Woodbury has all the resources that you need to learn about architecture and to succeed in real life. You will not regret choosing Woodbury University.
What is your lasting impression of studying at Woodbury University?
Definitely working in studio with all the classmates was the best time ever that I will never forget. We had the same group of people for 5 years, and we were like family spending every single day working in studio together.
Describe Woodbury University in 3 words.
Woodbury University is inventive, effective and original.