I had a stereotypical Indian upbringing—growing up, I assumed I’d be a doctor, since my uncles are doctors and my cousins are aspiring doctors. It wasn’t until one day during my routine summer sketching that my dad had nonchalantly suggested I look into architecture. Though my sketches of maharanis decked in ornate royal jewels didn’t align with the unintelligible architectural concept drawings generated by my Google search, I decided to take a leap.
By the time I finished my bachelor degree at the Illinois School of Architecture in May 2018, I had no doubts about my chosen career path. I continued my education at the same institution for my Masters degree. I took upon a variety of studios (residential, comprehensive integrative design studio, urban planning, AISC steel competition) that fundamentally taught me to design with empathy and understanding. Whether it was designing a rehabilitation hospital or developing an urban plan for a migrant inclusive city, it was essential to design for the people. And with that understanding, I produced my own (un)intelligible concept sketches that would further drive these projects to completion. With the finale of each studio, I was reminded how architecture has the ability to shape lives.
As my Masters degree was concluding, I recalled Vitruvius’ theory: from one theory we can derive so many other branches of knowledge that we simultaneously learn from architecture. It is the eagerness to continue to expand my horizon and simultaneously give back to the community that fuels my passion in the field of design.