‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ is indeed grateful to each student, who have so far featured in our GEN Z Series. Each student, representing their respective University and the firm they are presently working, have imparted me with great insight and taught me so much about their institutions they come from – both socially and academically. I am also impressed by their confidence and creativity. Their humility to express their desires to learn more from their peers and experience is really infectious in nature.
From London’s Architectural Association, we fly to Universitatea de Arhitectură și Urbanism “Ion Mincu” din București in Romania to meet a vivacious and creative sixth year student of architecture Alvina Turcoman. Coming from a family of academician, Alvina reveals, “I come from a family that values education and encourages individual growth. My parents have been very supportive of my sister and me throughout our lives. They have always pushed us to pursue our passions and find happiness in our chosen fields.
Night View from the Lake
Growing up, my mother’s background as a mathematics teacher and my father’s profession as an engineer instilled in me a love for logical thinking and problem solving. They taught me to always think ahead and consider multiple solutions to any given challenge. These skills have proven invaluable as I navigate the complex world of architecture. As an aspiring architect, I am deeply passionate about my work and am always striving to achieve more. I am an extremely ambitious individual, constantly pushing myself to improve and grow both personally and professionally.”
Alvina Turcoman’s strong motivation and work ethics are two of her defining characteristics. Hard working and always ready to grab an opportunity, she comes across a very interesting individual to interact with. Johnny D interacts with Alvina Turcoman to explore her amazing journey into the architecture field and her thesis ‘Regeneration of Dâmbovița River Zone’.
What was your childhood ambition? Did you always wanted to become an architect?
As a child, my ambition was to become an architect. I vividly remember the moment, when I first became enamored with the profession way back in first grade, when I learned how to write the letter ‘h’. Our teacher had us read a short text about an architect. I was fascinated by the idea of designing buildings and spaces that could shape people’s lives. That was the exact moment when the idea was “planted” (smiles).
Growing up, I had a tendency towards exact sciences, particularly Mathematics and Chemistry. During High School, I considered becoming a doctor, but I eventually returned to my first instinct and chose architecture. As a result, I pursued my studies in architecture and have enjoyed every moment of it, constantly learning and growing as a professional in the field.
Aerial East View from the Lake
How has architecture influenced your life as a student?
As a student, the influence of architecture in my life is immeasurable! It has not only shaped the way I think and perceive the world around me, but has also provided me with opportunities to form lifelong friendships with the best people. Working on projects together with fellow students, spending long hours in studio and collaborating on design ideas has created a strong bond between us. Additionally, the constant presentations and critiques have helped me develop excellent communication skills, allowing me to articulate my ideas with clarity and confidence. Architecture has challenged me to think critically, creatively, and collaboratively, thereby making me a better problem solver and a well-rounded individual (smiles).
Multi-criteria Analysis and Concept
Please write about your University and the Course.
Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest, Romania offers a challenging and rigorous 6-year-long architecture program that covers a wide range of technical skills and practical design approaches, including drafting, model-making, computer-aided design, and many others. Despite the demanding workload and tight deadlines, the program fosters a sense of camaraderie among some students, myself included, as we all work together to overcome the obstacles in our path.
Entrance to Pedestrian Tower
Briefly describe the significance of your project.
The primary objective of this project was to regenerate a high potential but disorganized and under-developed area of Bucharest, located on the shore of a damned lake, formed by the Dâmbovița River. By selecting this specific function, the aim was to create a new urban and business center in the city, thereby addressing one of Bucharest’s issues, namely, the congestion in the current business district located in the northern part of the city. Through the proposed master plan, I created a system that can function independently from the city, combining collective housing with green and recreational spaces, commercial areas, entertainment and employment opportunities.
Plan – First Floor
Special attention has been given to the materials used in the design, the position of the elements of the ensemble in relation to the sun, as well as encouraging walking and the use of public transportation through architecture, thereby making the project more sustainable. Additionally, through the strategically chosen location of the project site, I aimed to restore the waterfront to the people of Bucharest, an area that has been neglected in the architecture of the city until recently.
Aerial West View
Which National or International architect has inspired / influenced you? Please specify as to why?
I have been greatly inspired by the work of Zaha Hadid. Her innovative and unconventional designs challenge traditional notions of form and space, and yet have had a significant impact on contemporary architecture. Her use of cutting-edge technology and materials has allowed her to create dynamic and fluid structures that push the boundaries of what is possible. Additionally, she was a trailblazer for women in the field of architecture. Her success as a female architect serves as a source of inspiration for me and many other women in the industry.
As an Intern, what is the most important lesson(s) you have learned from senior architects, while being part of a project?
As an intern, I learned from senior architects that collaboration, communication and attention to details are essential for successful projects. Effective communication ensures everyone works towards the same goal. Additionally, collaborating with different members of the team, including clients, contractors and consultants allows for a more holistic and well-rounded approach to design. Also, I learned how important it is to listen to feedback and maintain the quality level of your work.
Night View of Pedestrian Tower Entrance
Cities are getting inundated in a massive proportion due to flawed drainage and sewage systems apart from Climate Crisis – Your views about flawed urban planning and remedies to rectify to make cities flood-proof.
Urban planning plays a critical role in creating resilient and sustainable cities that can withstand the impacts of climate change. Flawed drainage and sewage systems are a result of inadequate planning, and they contribute to the flooding of cities during extreme weather events. To rectify this issue, it is essential to integrate green infrastructure such as permeable pavements, green roofs, and rain gardens into urban design.
Plans – Mezzanine Floor
These measures can help manage storm water runoff and prevent it from overwhelming drainage systems. Additionally, improving the maintenance and management of existing infrastructure can also play a crucial role in ensuring cities are flood-proof. Overall, a comprehensive approach that includes both green infrastructure and improved infrastructure management is necessary to address this issue effectively.
View from the Lake
Which significant aspects of the global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ did you liked the most and why?
I really appreciate the Gen Z Series of ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ The series offers young architects the opportunity to showcase their works, while building their confidence as future professionals. The global platform’s emphasis on sustainability and innovation aligns with my personal values as an aspiring architect. It is inspiring to see how young architects are using technology and new materials to create sustainable designs that will shape the future of our built environment.
Local charm of cities has diminished due to Modern Architecture as every city looks alike and similar. How should architects / urban planners / landscape architects modernize cities, while maintaining the local charm intact?
I believe that modernizing cities, while preserving their local charm requires a careful balance between innovation and preservation. Architects, urban planners and landscape architects should focus on creating designs that are contextually appropriate and responsive to the specific cultural and social context of the city. This can be achieved through incorporating local materials, traditional building techniques and cultural references into modern designs.
Aerial View to the Lake
Additionally, involving local communities in the design process can ensure that the design reflects the needs and aspirations of the people, who are going to use the space. By adopting a sensitive and collaborative approach, architects and planners can create modern cities that are unique, vibrant and rooted in their local context.
Façade – West
How would you describe Romanian Architecture?
Romanian architecture is a rich blend of styles and influences from various periods throughout history. From the ornate and grandiose structures of the Neo-Romanian style, to the more minimalist and functional designs of the modern era, Romanian architecture reflects the country’s diverse cultural heritage.
Its architectural landscape is characterized by a mix of styles, including Byzantine, Ottoman, Gothic, Baroque, Art Nouveau and Socialist Realism. The use of local materials in different regions is also a distinctive feature of Romanian architecture. Overall, Romanian architecture is a unique and fascinating fusion of styles that reflects the country’s rich history and cultural diversity.
West View by Night
Image Courtesy: Alvina Turcoman