We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "The Last Genocide Memorial" competition – Paya Salem from Canada!

Paya Salem from Canada

Paya is a young architect and a graduate of the Master of Architecture program from University of Calgary, (Alberta, Canada) Throughout his studies and after his graduation in 2017, he had the opportunity to collaborate with architecture firms of different sizes across Canada in various capacities.

With a background in music and visual arts, and also an interest in behavioural science, he continuously tries to weave his professional career as an architect into an exploration of how architecture and arts can act as potential drivers for positive behaviour change throughout the personal/social spectrum.

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 the company/ individuals have been involved?

For the past few years, my career focus has been on creating a sense of place in residential projects of various scales, along with design explorations of public spaces through participating in architecture competitions.

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

To me, architecture is a potential tool that can produce a wide range of tangible and intangible outcomes. Outcomes that are mainly dependent on the socio-geographical context, designer's intention, and more importantly, the level of consciousness in which the users interact with the built environment. I look at architecture as a tool/platform that can create an ecosystem which gives rise to positive social change.

With the fast-changing scenery, especially in the world of technology, I believe architects need to start re-navigating and re-defining their role which stayed the same throughout almost all of the history of civilization. To me, flexibility can be the key core characteristic of a digital age architect in the face of uncertainty and rapid paradigm shifts.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Participating in design and architecture competitions both as a student and later as an architect often gave me that blank design canvas to draw on more freely. A canvas with different and maybe minimal set of constraints compared to the professional projects that I have dealt with in different offices for the past few years. I believe competitions like this contribute a lot to pushing the edge of design and architecture.

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

I would say, "Do it!". Keep your grand vision but be micro-ambitious in the way you approach the subject.

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Enter Architecture Competitions

Curious about the value of architecture competitions? Discover the transformative power they can have on your career - from igniting creativity and turning designs into reality, to gaining international recognition.

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