The GEN Z Series travels from the United Kingdom to Turkey to meet the recent architecture graduate Safae Jaouad from Abdullah Gul University, Kayseri. Interestingly, she was born and brought up in the Moroccan city of Tangier. Her childhood revolved around her Civil Engineer father, who works in Tangier. The strong support of her loving parents saw Safae growing to be a compassionate, creative and an ambitious individual. As a doting daughter, she made her parents proud to graduate successfully as an architect in June 2022.
Safae Jaouad fondly reminisces, “I have been very lucky to have my parents as my strongest supporters. They always believed in me and pushed me to achieve my goals. I was the first person in the family, who wanted to go and study abroad. Their strong support has been a blessing for me (smiles). Studying abroad widens an individual’s perspective and it helps a great deal, especially for architects. I became aware of various architectural styles and design by observing keenly. I am truly grateful to my loving parents.”
A true believer in giving back to the society, Safae Jaouad volunteered to serve her motherland Morocco and Turkey, where she completed her graduation. She emphasized that every individual should help and contribute in the growth of our society. So young and yet such a noble thoughts, Safae Jaouad comes across as a very respectful and kind soul. Johnny D interacts with Safae Jaouad to explore her journey in the world of architecture and her thesis ‘Textile Hub, Gaziantep’.
What was your childhood ambition? Did you always wanted to become an architect?
Growing up as a daughter of a Civil Engineer, I often visited various construction sites during my childhood. Ever since my first visit, I was always asking my father to take me with him again to the construction site (smiles). As a child, I was very impressed with all the building process, and the working environment which made me curious to know more my father’s profession. From my childhood only, I wanted to be creative girl. Civil Engineering was a bit hard for me (smiles), so I started thinking about architecture. Architecture combines both of my passions for the creative production and the construction work.
How has architecture influenced your life as a student?
Studying architecture gave me the opportunities to work on several group projects which allowed me to become good at teamwork. Architecture taught me to work under pressure and in deadline-driven environments.
Briefly describe the significance of your project.
Gaziantep is a multicultural city, where people from different nations choose to migrate and live there because of its great hospitality. However, problems that come along with immigrants such as poverty, lack of job opportunities and the language barrier – my project focused on improving the lives of immigrants, while integrating them with the locals to create a healthy community. Gaziantep is well-known for its textile industry. My project will provide textile training program that will help them to find jobs. This training is not only for immigrants, but also for the local valuable community.
The project provides a marketplace, so that they can sell all their products produced during the training workshop. Moreover, as the immigrants face a lot of issues in their life because of the language barrier, the project provides language classes for all the immigrants to facilitate their daily life. In addition, most of the immigrants face several psychological issues and traumas, which is the reason behind designing some psychological support facilities as well. It will help the immigrants to heal from their traumas and motivate them to improve their lives and the society at large.
As an Intern, what is the most important lesson(s) you have learned from senior architects, while being a part of a project?
As an intern, I had the chance to work in a National Competition from the beginning till the end. I went through all the process of finding the concept, space distribution, landscaping, interior design and visualization during my internship. I have learnt a lot about the significance of team working, sharing, supporting and always initiate to suggest ideas and design solutions with confidence.
Which National or International architect has inspired / influenced you? Please specify as to why?
One day, I was watching TV with my father. The news of Zaha Hadid’s death was being reported with some of her remarkable design creations and arts. The news made a great impact on me. I became curious to know more about ‘the Queen of Curves’, who was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. Every minute I was reading about Zaha Hadid, I got more excited and more passionate. It helped me greatly to envision myself, only as an architect (smiles).
I have always wanted to make an impact on the society with my own contribution, while following my passion for architecture. I have been curious to know how I can be of some help to others, especially the vulnerable society through architecture. One day, I was introduced to the project ‘Half a good house’ by architect Alejandro Aravena. It made me the happiest person, because it was my first architecture discovery of a socially conscious project, where the architect tried to solve the high expenses of housing, in addition to the huge lack of housing that was caused by the urban migration (smiles).
During my architectural studies I have been introduced to and admired several architects, yet these two had a great impact on me, as they were one of the main reasons to make me follow my dream of becoming an architect.
Cities are getting inundated in a massive proportion due to flawed drainage and sewage systems apart from Climate Crisis. How should urban planners, architects and landscape architects tackle this crisis to make cities flood- proof?
Flood is a great challenge that many cities are facing. The main reason behind this is that cities are not prepared for such catastrophes. I recently read an article providing some solutions such as the installation of the storage tanks, sewer backflow valves and underground reservoirs. These solutions are a bit expensive as an alternative. However, I believe cities should encourage the usage of permeable surfaces, especially the green surfaces, which can work as sustainable draining system.
Briefly write about your University and Course.
I completed my 4-year degree course from Abdullah Gul University, Keysari, Turkey – the 3rd Generation University. I am grateful to have gained a lot during my studies in the University. The architectural Course mainly focused on teaching students how to train ourselves by self reflection, which I believe is an essential skill that all university student should gain.
Which significant aspects of the global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ did you liked the most, and why?
I love and appreciate a lot the GEN Z Series, because it gives young architecture students the chance to get a global exposure and the opportunity to express themselves, their ideas and their personal quest from the beginning. I believe, this is a great initiative from ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ I hope we can see more of this in the future, as I believe it might help creating a solid new network of young architects all around the world.
How would you differentiate Turkish architecture from the Western or Asian architecture?
When talking about Turkish architecture, I would like to divide it into two parts: firstly, the traditional architecture, which was influenced hugely by the Byzantine architecture, in addition to the impact of the Seljuk Empire and some architectural traditions that are from the Middle-East and Central Asian countries. Secondly, the Turkish contemporary architecture, which we can observe is a big change in, as it is hugely impacted by the international transitions, social, and technological developments. Turkish architecture is the result of both, its rich and diverse history (Roman and Greek empires, to the Seljuk and Byzantine architecture) in addition to the contemporary international transformations.
Image Courtesy: Safae Jaouad