Getting her Bachelor’s degree in architecture in Bangladesh, completing her internship in Sri Lanka, and being exposed to different architectural styles from all over the world has made Arpa Aishwarya something of a globetrotter in her professional ambitions.
“Working in a different context made me realize how architecture moulds itself around the culture and people and I have started seeing the built environment and spaces with a new set of eyes. Each country has its own dialogue, it’s really interesting,” Aishwarya explains.
Aishwarya wanted to come to Oulu exactly because it’s so far away from her home. She says Oulu is the extreme she could have travelled to gain new experience.
“Starting from the weather, the lifestyle and local materials, everything is so contrasting to what I am comfortable designing with. I feel like an empty slate. This is a new challenge which will make me a more versatile architect,” Aishwarya says.
Studying in the Oulu School of Architecture for her Master’s degree is giving her a window to the Oulu--and, by extension, Finnish--lifestyle. She is part of a project in developing the Oulu city center and improving it to meet the smart society goals of the future in Finland. This is a multi-disciplinary project in that it doesn’t involve just architects but many different stakeholders who have needs for different themes and functions in a city.
“So we have people from service design, lighting design, city council, anthropology and so on. I am really interested in participatory design and I think that what the users want is critical. Their wants and needs are sometimes very different to what we professionals think,” Aishwarya says.
Aishwarya points out that Bangladesh has been affected by climate change over the years and will continue on this trajectory. Architects are implementing local strategies and technology to combat the situation. Aishwarya says that consciousness about climate change and taking that into account in design is a part of her schooling in Oulu.
“All our programmes take these things into consideration and guide us to prepare ourselves better for the future. I want to explore more how Finnish architecture is modelling itself for the effects of climate change and bring my own background to collaborate on a bigger solution for tomorrow,” Aishwarya says.
Extremely focused and articulate, Aishwarya has a clear sense of the architects’ mission.
“We have to understand what’s coming in the future. We’re working on the same goal here. The knowledge I’m accumulating here is something I have to pass on back home, the idea that cities need to be like this in the future and we have to do this as architects. If not, we’re destroying the cities,” Aishwarya says.
And working together is something she has already enjoyed in Oulu.
“In my class there are people from 14 different countries, including Finnish students. The scope of working with exchange and local students has been a great experience. Even though we are studying the same field, we all have our own unique vision to bring to the class,” Aishwarya says.
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Last updated: 12.6.2020