Tim Liddell’s time at The New School of Lancaster started in his parent’s basement. Mary Marzolf was his teacher and he was among a group of students in one of the first primary classes. What no one knew at the time was that his experiences in Mary’s class would help provide the foundation for what would later become a career with one of the most respected architecture firms in the world.
“Architecture for me is an extension of what I did as a toddler. It’s nice to think that this early exposure to spatial reasoning expanded my developing mind and contributed to by abilities as an architect. But maybe I’m reading too much into it. I liked building things with blocks back then—and I still do,” said Liddell.
Liddell graduated from Cornell University’s prestigious five-year undergraduate architecture program and currently is working on a mixed-use office building and hotel near the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, buildings also designed by his firm, Pelli Clarke Pelli.
Tim sees the power of Montessori math in the upper grades as well. “The Montessori approach with the hands-on understanding of blocks and the relationships between them served me well. For example, the square root blocks—that conceptual understanding of math and space carried through in high school and college,” he said.
Tim observes that architecture not only demands spatial and mathematical skills, but one also needs the life-long desire to learn—something that was not only nurtured during his time in high school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, but also during his time at The New School.
As one of the first students at The New School, Tim is in a unique position to look at the history of the school and stays abreast of what is happening here through his mother, Pam, who has served the school in a variety of roles, and as an uncle of two current New School students, one of whom, like Tim, counts Mary Marzolf as a teacher. “I love the school and like hearing about it. It’s cool to see how much it has evolved,” he said.