Architect Les Wallach talks about his local and international projects which include the highly\\u002Dpraised UA Poetry Center just north of Speedway Boulevard as well as major endeavors in booming China.

When Les Wallach was 3 years old, his parents moved to Superior, where his father worked as an engineer and his mother practiced her art.

Their careers would influence Wallach in future years, when he decided to change his profession from mining engineering to architecture.

"After four summers in the mines breaking big rocks into little rocks, I thought, hum, maybe I'll try something else," Wallach says with a smile.

In 1988, his company was chosen to design the visitor center at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and the partners have been staying very busy ever since.

Line and Space LLC has worked on projects in Arizona, Nevada, California, Wyoming and China, although Tucson residents can see some their examples much closer to home.

They include the restaurant and gallery complex at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the University of Arizona Poetry Center which opened in 2007 and has won various awards.

But Wallach admits there were challenges along the way when trying to meet the expectations of different people that attended sessions with the architects.

"There were a lot of contradictions," Wallach says.

"One session would be about, for example how should people read the books. 'Well we'd like to read them in natural light, in a garden' you know, all these wonderful places to read," he continues.

"And another session would be preservation of the books. 'We don't want any natural light on these books. Keep them in the dark, don't let any ultraviolet light on them' and then I'd go away going, oh my God, what am I supposed to do."

But he says that's one of the pleasures of his profession.

One gets to blend brick and mortar with harmony and balance and the result can be a landmark that provides utility and function while making aesthetic statements.

It's a combination of engineering and art, and he can thank his parents for their contributions.