Did you always know what you wanted to do?
Although I didn't always have a clear plan to become an architect, my inclination towards creative processes was always evident. The artistic bug inside me was constantly fascinated by the world of art. During my teenage years, I began traveling and found myself captivated by the stunning architecture and cities I encountered. This experience served as a catalyst that led me to pursue a career in architecture. As time has passed, my interests began to evolve and expand. I became increasingly more fascinated with projects that placed a strong emphasis on sustainability as a key value.
Fortunately, my current role provides me the opportunity to explore a distinct facet of architecture and sustainability. Through my work, I am able to delve into various perspectives and ideas that inform the design process, as well as collaborate with people with varied experiences on topics including sustainability-related aspects.
What route did you take to becoming an Architect and Sustainability Designer?
After completing my Bachelor's degree in Architecture in India, I pursued a Master's degree in Sustainable Environmental Design from the Architectural Association in London. During my undergraduate studies, I was exposed to various subjects such as Architectural History, Construction & Materials, and Design. My Master's program provided me with a comprehensive understanding of building sciences and equipped me with relevant tools. I also secured internships during my studies, which allowed me to gain insights into the industry and identify my interest areas particularly in sustainability with a focus on building sciences & built environment. I began my professional journey as an architect before transitioning into the role of a sustainability consultant, working on projects both in India and London.
I also collaborated with academicians and industry leaders on research projects in London, and my views on sustainability have been featured in prominent publications such as The Times. In my current role, I am utilizing all my learnings & skills as I work on diverse projects ranging from architecture projects, research papers, collaborations with different teams.
The Reality: what does your role actually involve and how does your work affect our lives/the world around us?
When starting out in the industry, straight out of college, it's common to expect to work on exciting and glamorous projects right away. However, in reality, like any other career, you often have to begin with the basics and work your way up. This can be frustrating at times, but it is a necessary grounding experience that can lead to the opportunity to work on more interesting and complex projects over time. Overall, the process can be very rewarding. Designing the built environment has a significant impact on people's lives, and it requires careful consideration. Not only to create visually appealing spaces, but also anticipate how people will experience and interact with them, while ensuring that the environment is not negatively impacted.
In my current position, I have the opportunity to collaborate with professionals including engineers, surveyors, energy analysts, academicians, business development analysts, as well as individuals from human resources and marketing departments.
There is a significant emphasis on acquiring software skills for architects and sustainability consultants. While I believe it is crucial to have a foundation in basic software's, it's worth noting that new software's frequently emerges in the industry, which can be acquired on the job over time. However, developing soft skills such as public speaking skills, presentation abilities can be incredibly advantageous in the long run.
"Besides my routine responsibilities as an architect, I enjoy venturing into areas that push me beyond the conventional role of an architect. My present position enables me to collaborate with people from different backgrounds, enabling me to acquire fresh perspectives and knowledge. Additionally, I am able to tap into my creativity through writing assignments."
Besides my routine responsibilities as an architect, I enjoy venturing into areas that push me beyond the conventional role of an architect.”
I'm Eashita Saxena, an Architect and Sustainability Designer based in Bangalore, India. I am 31 years old and currently working as a Design Architect for SMEC.
I have been working within the Construction Industry for more than five years and have been employed in the architecture, sustainability, and real estate sector.
Challenges are inevitable. What are some challenges you personally face at work and how do you overcome them each time?
The industry presents various challenges, one of which is the lack of appreciation for sustainability among some professionals. While educating clients and colleagues on sustainable design can be challenging, it is essential to prioritize and implement sustainable practices. However, the post-COVID world has seen a noticeable shift, with more people in the industry seeking long-lasting solutions. On days when I work on something very different, new or challenging, I take it as a learning experience and approach it one day at a time.
What is it like to be a young woman working in your career area?
Being an architect demands a lot of effort, commitment, and often involves working long hours, sometimes pulling all-nighters. Additionally, the profession can be challenging in several ways, especially for women, as it is still a relatively male-dominated profession, and there may not be many female role models to follow. This can make it challenging to establish a solid foundation initially and achieve career aspirations. Furthermore, there are still misconceptions about the role and responsibilities of an architect, and some people even confuse them with civil engineers. Despite these challenges, I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with supportive and knowledgeable individuals and to have worked on a diverse range of intriguing projects. Throughout my career so far, I have not only worked on architecture projects but have also been involved in various sustainability projects. Overall, the experience has been highly rewarding.
What advice would you give a young woman thinking about a career in your role?
My advice would be to explore various opportunities, especially through internships, to work on a diverse range of projects that require different skill sets. Exposure is critical during the initial years of the career. Instead of limiting yourself to a particular type of work, I suggest exposing yourself to various projects, designs, and work styles. Doing so will help in understanding various aspects of the industry and bring a fresh perspective to the table.
Outside of your day to day role, what else are you passionate about?
I find my passion in doing different creative things. Such as I have a travel page and an art page on instagram, apart from this, I am very passionate about theatre. I currently am a part of a theatre group and I perform on interactive & improv formats of theatre.
@soulfultravelexperiences & @artfully_alive