We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winner of one of our Honorable mentions for the “Iceland Northern Lights Rooms” competition - Madina Zhazylbekova from Kazakhstan!

Madina Zhazylbekova from Kazakhstan

I studied architecture and town planning in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where I grew up and spent most of my life. I moved to Australia in 2014 to study a Master’s in Architecture at the University of Melbourne where I graduated from in 2016. 

Growing up, I was surrounded by many soviet style buildings which influenced me in the purely practical nature of architecture, whereas studying at the University of Melbourne I learned and explored more about aesthetics and architectural philosophy. In my designs I therefore aim to combine these two aspects into one philosophy with both a practical and poetical approach.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where company/individuals have been involved?

During my undergraduate and Master’s studies I have designed and been involved in a multitude of projects that include residential houses, skyscrapers, office buildings, galleries, cities and space architecture. I have a particular interest in projects involving environmental sustainability.

During my 18 months at Hassell I have worked on a variety of projects such as the Geelong Performance and Arts Centre, refurbishment and redesign of a 8 storey art deco building for The Hour Glass watch company, a large sustainable office building adjoining the South Melbourne Market, and a small role in the Melbourne Metro train redevelopment project.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

I envision architecture as a tool that helps to improve our quality of life and the environment. Being concerned about the current state of our planet I like to explore the possibilities of architectural responses towards environmental problems.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

All of my design processes begin with extensive research, so I consider architectural competitions as a great learning opportunity. Through this project for example, I discovered an array of fascinating facts about Iceland and its history, whilst also learning about state of the art construction materials and building technologies. In addition, architectural competitions give me full freedom of imagination that is sometimes restricted in practice due to budget, planning and client’s preferences.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

Any mastery comes with time and pressure. If you want to become a good architect you need to practice, practice and practice. Participating in architectural competitions helps you to practice with complete freedom and flexibility, whether you are in the industry or not. Concern for grades, client feedback, town planning approval, or other external factors are not your primary objective. All you need to do is just explore your own ‘crazy ideas’, new forms and technologies. Apart from improving software skills, work efficiency and design confidence, architectural competitions are also fun and certainly help add breadth and scope to your experience and your future projects and career.

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