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Meet the Reps

 

Ishka Heart

SONA Representative, University of Tasmania (3rd Year Level)

If you couldn’t live without one thing what would it be?

Music, it’s something I always have on in the house, when exercising and when relaxing. I love attending live concerts and music festivals. It encourages creativity and study, it calms me when stressed and motivates me when feeling depleted. There is always an album, artist or song that truly resonates with how I am feeling at any given time.

Do you take part in any activities outside of the Industry? E.g. Tutoring, teaching, mentoring, volunteering etc.

 I work as a Student Ambassador for University of Tasmania, working at educational and community events as well as going into schools to speak about my university experience. This has been a very rewarding organisation to be a part of because I feel like I really get the opportunity to reach out to students from all walks of lives, a lot of rural based children from regional schools around Tasmania.

I am passionate about instilling some sense of aspiration in these students who might not even be aware of what opportunities are out there which might really interest them. I want to help people feel as passionate as I am about learning, and this is a really great opportunity to share with students my excitement about furthering education and trying get them to realise that if they choose to come to university, they really will get freedoms to study laterally and that they are able to open their horizons.

What’s your dream job? & What do you want to achieve in Architecture?

Designing with a well-established international firm designing public buildings, exhibitions centres, museums and restaurants etc. I want to be producing sustainable solutions for building projects on a big scale and be able to employ new and innovative materials and products to enhance the experiences of users and visitors to the spaces.

 

Sahibajot Kaur

SONA Representative, University of Newcastle (5th Year Level)

Where have you lived?

I was born in Chandigarh – Corbusier’s great experiment – and lived in Bangalore for the first nineteen months of my life. After that, Sydney was home. 

After having completed my Bachelor of Design in Architecture at the University of Sydney, there was a new calling for me at Newcastle, and this is where I currently live. The university here – and the School of Architecture, in particular – is one of my favourite places to be.

Do you take part in any activities outside of the Industry? E.g. Tutoring, teaching, mentoring, volunteering etc.

Yes! This is actually a weakness of mine. In addition to being a SONA Rep, I am currently President and co-founder of the University of Newcastle Sikh Society, a Content Contributor with the University, a volunteer with Akaal Fauj (a Sydney-based educational and charitable Sikh-youth organization) – a role which allows me to travel the country and plan events with artists and speakers from other countries, as I am doing at the moment. 

I also enjoy community initiatives rooted in social and environmental justice and was MC at last year’s Youth PoWR conference, featured in an ABC documentary about the turban in Australia, and presented an electricity-generating whirlybird at a business start-up program in 2015.  

I like keeping on my toes! There’s nothing that excited me more than building connections with like-minded people and seeing those connections grow into community events and initiatives that bring people together and share ideas of oneness and solidarity.

What has been your Architectural journey?

Poetically enough, my architectural journey has been one of self-discovery (not that I have discovered myself in whole!). I chose Architecture because I really liked design. I’m glad I did, because it allows me to release my creativity in many ways – from writing, to drawing, to story-telling and crafting. However, this reason started to feel somewhat hollow, toward the end of my Bachelor degree, and I longed for something more to aspire to.

I am so thankful that what I was looking for – even though it was unclear to me what this actually was – was presented to me in an unmissable way. This revelation came at the annual Ozetecture Summer School, at which I had secured a place in my year out of university (the one most people take – and I highly recommend – between undergrad and postgrad). It showed me that architecture was not about fancy metaphysical constructs, but rather about wellbeing. This simple idea was so beautiful and precise that it pierced my mind and pulled it from a cloud into a streamlined array of motivation. It encompassed everything I believed in and put it into words my innate love for land, nature, and Indigenous ways of living (my own ancestors being the Indigenous of Punjab).

I’m glad I packed my bags and ventured to Newcastle because thanks to the mentors I am grateful to call such, I have embarked on the exploration of architectural issues of homelessness and displacement in India – something very close to my heart – and have spent time in the Motherland conducting self-direct first-hand fieldwork since.

Who or what inspires you?

 My ancestors, my elders and the trees. My ancestors show me how to have unrelenting faith in that one light that binds us all together as living beings and what it means to be selfless for the betterment of others. My elders guide me, support me and teach me. In the world of Architecture, my elders – my mentors – show me what a noble thing it can be and how to practise it in a meaningful way. As for the trees – they show me unconditional love and unmatchable beauty.

 

Ricardo Muller

SONA Representative, Curtin University (4th Year Level)

 Where are you from?

I am originally from Brazil and moved to Australia in 2009 with my parents and my brother in search of a better quality of life. The whole migration process took over two years to complete and was an alarmingly risky process where many of our belongings were on the line. Thankfully, we were accepted into Australia and so a new journey began!

Why architecture?

Architecture sounded cool and going into it I have found it a challenging but very rewarding experience. The course consists of what my peers and I call “being thrown in the deep end” over and over again, as well as having our pre-conceived ideas and concepts interrogated rigorously.

The learning process for the discipline is uncomfortable to say the least, but it is when you overcome the design challenges presented to you that new methods of thinking are suddenly unlocked. We learn how to make informed and meaningful decisions so that designs can be tackled from a rational and persuasive standpoint. We gain the ability to articulate our creations with sound reason and reaffirm it with credible research.

Inevitably, you become wiser and build resilience throughout your architectural journey, growing as a designer and as a person. For the architect, spatial experience is a consequence of our struggle to create the best architectural proposal we can.

What do you think makes a great architect?

Great architects seek to make the greatest contribution they can for humanity. This can be seen in their determination during the design process. They actively search for innovative solutions, finding the high ground where the solution is married to the concept, where the client’s needs are met, and intangible ideas are embedded in the space. As architecture critic Blair Kamin pointed out, “only architecture is the inescapable art.”

Values and ideals of a prospering society can be reflected and promoted through space. Architecture therefore serves as a powerful reminder of our search for harmony, integrity, fidelity, among other virtues, shaping people’s perceptual framework of themselves and the world. Ambitious design development gives rise to creative ingenuity in the built environment, and affects people’s routines, their quotidian and the way their lives unfold.

 

 

Samantha Dye
SONA Representative, University of Western Australia (3rd Year Level)

What is your favorite type of beverage?
Milk-tea-flavored bubble tea

Where have you lived?
I lived most of my early childhood in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Not many people associate Sarawak with Malaysia, or have any idea where it is, unless I mention Borneo. Even then, people assume the entire island of Borneo is part of Indonesia but there are 3 nations that occupy the island – East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), Indonesia, and Brunei. 

What has been your Architectural journey?
Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated with buildings. I would be drawing the usual kid depiction of houses, you know the type – a very 2D house with pitched roof, square windows, and a door – in my exercise book. I could pretty much pinpoint the start of my architecture journey there. I didn’t know anything about architecture at that time, but I knew I wanted to design and build my own house.

After migrating to Australia and attending high school, I finally discovered what architecture is, and the possibilities that it brings. That was when I could attach a name to what I wanted to be – an architect. The idea of being an architect has been in the background of my high school life; I took Media, Tech Graphic, Geography. These classes didn’t reveal the path I would take to architecture as most people thought I would go into media. Yet, Tech Graphic was the one subject that made me realise I enjoy designing, and it made me less anxious about choosing architecture to study.

By chance, I stumbled across the University of Western Australia’s program for high school students called a ‘Day in the Life of a uni student’.

The only available choice at that time was to experience the life of a landscape architect student. It was close enough to what architecture students would do so I took on the chance to experience it. It was a good opportunity to understand what it would be like studying architecture by getting a preview of a studio environment, with the pin-ups, and the discussions.

This experience, along with my mum’s support and encouragement, made me strengthen my decision to choose architecture as my dream career. I held firm in my determination, and here I am today, in my 3rd year of studying, as well as being a SONA Rep, both of which I’m enormously enjoying! 

What’s your favorite subject and why?
History. I like history because I firmly believe that studying the past, makes a better future. History is the foundation every architect must learn, understand and acknowledge, to effectively present solutions to cater the needs of current and future society. We look to history, from both success and failure, to guide us in building a better future.

 

Amarinda Bazeley
SONA Representative, University of Melbourne (5th Year Level)

Favorite place or building in the world?
I visited the Chichu Art Museum on Naoshima Island whilst in Japan last year. Designed by Tadao Ando for a permanent collection of art, the Museum absolutely took my breath away. Nestled into the Naoshima hillside, the Museum becomes one with its surroundings; subterranean tunnels open up into light-filled courtyards, and nature creeps its fingers across every external surface. The Museum houses three permanent art collections that represent a reverberating relationship between architecture and art. For a structure built largely underground, one is simply awed by the way in which Ando skillfully controls the experience of light within the spaces. The sense of wonder and stillness I experienced during my journey through the Museum is a memory that I doubt I will ever forget.

Do you take part in any activities outside of the Industry? E.g. Tutoring, teaching, mentoring, volunteering etc.
This year, along with jumping onboard with SONA, I have signed up for several volunteer positions at university to help support my fellow students in any way I can. I’ve had the opportunity to guide new graduate students around campus, share where the best place to get a quiet study space is, and advise when NOT to use the printers in our building (among many other handy tips)! It’s been great seeing the enthusiasm of a lot of students in participating in these activities and reaching out to others to make friends. I am also a peer-mentor for students at MSD and I’m so excited to meet my group of students and hear their unique stories and experiences. Creating a sense of community at uni is one of the most important things we can aim to achieve, and I am lucky that I have been able to get involved to support our cohort.

How do you balance your academic, professional and personal commitments?
I’d like to make it sound super easy in balancing full-time masters, part-time work at an architecture firm, SONA and volunteer commitments but the reality is it’s a lot of hard work! My number one go-to is my planner, which I keep all my assessment deadlines, events, meetings and workshops in. With so much going on, I find it easiest to be able to quickly jot down notes of important dates otherwise its almost guaranteed that it will slip out of my mind! One thing I have really been trying to work on lately is meditation and learning how to quiet the mind to reach a state of stillness. I really struggle with racing thoughts; there is always something that needs to be considered, organized, designed or coordinated. And to be honest, meditating is truly an uphill struggle. To actively use your mind to try and calm your thoughts sounds counterintuitive, but slow and steady, I’ve made progress! I’d like to encourage others who experience similar states of mind to give it a crack; there are some great free apps out there to guide you and taking 10 minutes out of your day to just sit and be, is always going to elicit a positive response.

What do you want to achieve in Architecture?
I would like to work in a future in which the value of the architectural profession is well known and respected. I would like to work on advocacy for the profession, not just within the industry, but also towards our wider network of stakeholders such as our clients, developers, consultants and users. We need to communicate the value of not just great design but ethical design. And we need to be able to see these design aims and intentions through to fruition. I aim to improve the lives of others through the built environment, from our public spaces to our private sanctuaries. I aim to excite people by how wonderful the spaces are in which they inhabit and occupy. And I aim to use my knowledge and skills to help support the wider community through teaching, advocacy and awareness.