“Sanctuary is a state of mind,” says Kaydee Kreitlow from behind a latte during a Sunday afternoon rush at Archive Coffee & Bar.
“But the built environment can either encourage or discourage that.”
Amid the bustle and noise of bused tables, the 34-year-old Salem resident and licensed architect recalls a moment during her travels in Europe when she says she found her sanctuary, at an urban renewal project in the Netherlands called Silodam.
A former run-down dam and silo in an industrial area, the site had been repurposed and restored as forward-thinking living spaces rising directly above the waters of the Amsterdam harbor. It was not a typical place to find serenity, she says, but sitting alone there on a deck and taking in the sights, something moved her.
“I had this moment of pure joy and happiness for being there in this spot,” she says. “There was nobody around, it was just me and the building and the water.”
For Kreitlow, who graduated from Pratt Institute in 2006, architecture has always been a passion. Having grown up in a geodesic dome in Beaverton, she has always had an eye for what’s possible with creative layout and design, she says. She jokes that when she travels, all her photos are of buildings.
“The way that I look at the world is different from most people,” she says. “When I’m in a space, I appreciate the layout of the space, thinking of how something could have been done differently.”
According to Kreitlow, architecture has a unique ability to influence our sense of peace.
During her travels, Kreitlow spent a few months in Rome where she would wander the streets of the ancient city, using a famous Giambattista Nolli engraved map from 1748 as a guide.
“Rome is a city of 500 churches,” she says. “Almost from any street you’re in, you’re going to see another church.”
It was a profound experience, she says, sensing the serenity radiating outward from the fountains and ancient edifices.
From the streets of the Eternal City to a Salem alleyway, even to a single bathroom stall, says Kreitlow, sanctuary can be made anywhere.
“It’s going to be different for everyone,” she says, but there are a few specific characteristics all sanctuaries possess.“Sanctuary is a time and a moment where you’re very much in the present.”
“You can get that in any city.”
Speaker: Kaydee Kreitlow
Profession: Licensed architect
Pet: Howland, German Shepherd / Retriever mix
Hobbies: Drawing, sewing, DIY
Favorite Movie: Robin Hood: Men in Tights – “If you’re watching it and you’re not paying attention, you miss some of the humor. I like that.” Also Ratatouille.
Favorite Music: Alternative, techno and ambient music, including the music of Emancipator – “I’m the kind of person who needs background music all the time. It helps me focus.”
Favorite Book: The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand – “It reminds me to always do my best… I can separate the idealism of Howard Roarke (the book’s protagonist) from the one-percent philosophy.”
Favorite Meal: The roasted Whiskey River salmon and garlic mashed potatoes at the Best Little Roadhouse in Salem
Favorite Drink: The mojito by Giles at the Hostel Tevere in Vermont
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TEDxSalem V is an all-day event featuring talks, performances, refreshments, lunch and a swag bag that takes place Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, at the Salem Convention Center. Purchase tickets here. Follow us on Facebook for the most up-to-date news from our community, and check our website regularly for new information. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.