The GEN Z series travels from the Australian continent to the African continent to interview a young talent named Ala Moutasim Hassan, who had graduated from the University of Khartoum, one of the ‘Top 5’ Universities in Sudan. She is currently working as a Junior Architect at Medat for Contracting & Construction in Khartoum, Sudan.
Apart from being an upcoming architect, Ala loves to volunteer in various charity organizations to serve the society with her love and care. She enthuses, “As a volunteer, I became passionate about technical aspects, systems, software and everything that make people lives easier and help them complete their tasks faster. I am currently interested in ‘Smart Architecture’ to better lives of the people of my nation.” Ala is very ambitious and works hard to achieve her goals in life.
Ala Moutasim Hassan loves to meet and interact with people from all walks of life and cultures. She loves to explore and expand her horizon by listening interesting new stories about places, people and happenings of the world. Johnny D interacts with Ala Moutasim Hassan to unravel her journey into architecture.
Your childhood ambition, did you always wanted to become an architect?
I have always been searching for a career path that allows me to make the most of my social capabilities and communication skills. I love to listen to human stories and inspire them to move forward in their lives. I chose ‘Architecture’ as it is an important combination between art and science that shapes people’s living environment, affects their life, feelings and productivity. Architecture is an interdisciplinary field. It requires acquiring basics of other sciences and to stay close to people for whom you design.
Briefly describe your project.
In my thesis project, I proposed a National Media Production Centre as an art infrastructure. Highlighting it as an important facility rather than just for entertainment, the media is part of our lives and has an enormous influence on our society. It is necessary that each one of us becomes aware of the power of the media. This allows us to be critical of all the information we receive daily. As Allen Ginsberg said: “Whoever controls the media, the image, controls the culture”
It is a media production complex, where different professionals from different media fields meet to produce high-quality productions and offer chances for highly-qualified and skilled experts, and start-ups. The complex does not work as a firm with employees and managers, but it is an art infrastructure providing business-friendly environment for different investments in media industry.
I selected a site located in a business district, while contributing in the city skyline and main view from the Nile. I used smart-systems for such a project, so that it serves a large number of users with different needs and functions; which requires the building to be high responding and highly efficient. I am interested in smart architecture; some architects view it as luxurious solutions with high initial cost. However, I see it from a different perspective, since it is a result of scientific and technological development that we should get the most of it in today’s modern world.
What does ‘architecture’ means to you?
For me, architecture is a kind of applied science and applied art. Architects should apply effectively what they have learned to improve quality of life as a part of human development, while keeping the humanity values and aesthetic values that affect directly the users’ psychology, productivity and experience.
How has it influenced your life as an architecture student?
I learned how to be patient and how details are so very important to make big changes. I developed many personal technical skills that helped me in my voluntary works and personal business. As a student of architecture, I learned a lot about life. I believe that architecture students are special, because of their way of thinking and how they do they job to better lives of others.
Which National or International architect has inspired you? Please specify as to why?
Rem Koolhaas! He studies his clients, users and their needs to create designs to perfection. He develops building program that meets their needs and make the best of the site and its environment. His utilization of technology and materials to achieve the best for the project is exemplary. His works provide unique users’ experience, as they are imbued with a strong sense of humanity and a concern for the role that architecture plays in everyday life.
How has the pandemic changed your learning process since the last two years?
I had more time to learn using more software applications, because of study breaks and online study. I studied online courses and had more time to read. I also had the chance to put my knowledge and skills into practice, as I participated in projects in design phase online. It was really a good chance to enter the local construction market. I take every opportunity in life, good or bad, as a learning curve to strengthen self. One has to be always positive in life (smiles).
What are your views on Climatic catastrophes and how architects of the future will overcome the herculean challenge?
I believe that principle of sustainability and ecological design must be adopted in each project, as we create the built environment. We are all responsible about how it affects our natural environment and our planet and how to control the drastic effects of climate.
Please write briefly about your university and course.
I graduated from the University of Khartoum. It is the top university in Sudan and one of the top universities in Africa. Our 5-year architecture program is a combination between theoretical lectures, design studios and site visits.
Image Courtesy: Ala Moutasim Hassan