Moustafa Abouelmagd, Associate AIA, is Now Featured in the AIA New Jersey Black History Showcase

February 20, 2019

Moustafa Abouelmagd, Associate AIA, is Now Featured in the AIA New Jersey Black History Showcase

I am participating in the AIA NJ Black History Showcase to show others my struggles. I hope it will motivate and encourage others to reach for their goals.

When I was a young man, I lived in Alexandria, Egypt. I always loved drawing and examining details. I considered becoming an architect. I enrolled in an associate degree in Egypt and then on to a 5-year degree at Alexandria University. During my fourth year, I emigrated to the United States. When I arrived in the US, it was harder to continue with my studies than I had expected. I worked for four years in NYC, met my wonderful wife and then moved to NJ.

In looking for the best job, I came across an opportunity to work as an environmental technician. I learned about soil samples and how to analyze water samples. I took the state test to become an environmental driller responsible for geotechnical soil samples. I learned the characteristics and behavior of soil. I found this education to be very valuable. But, I still felt a professional void. My dream was to become an architect.

I went back to school as a part-time student, then increased to a full-time student at Essex County College, earning a two-year associate degree. Next, I moved on to NJIT, earning a Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Civil Engineering with a concentration in Construction Management. The experiences at NJIT were vast. I was a member of the Solar Decathlon team working in partnership with a university in China. All our design work came to life and every single member of the team made a significant contribution to a result that not only supported human shelter but also responsible to the health of the planet. I was the first in my family to go to college. I promised my father that I would achieve my goal of becoming an architect. While they still lived in Egypt, we always stayed in touch. My parents always supported and encouraged me.

Since graduating, I have worked for architecture and Engineering Firms including Jarmel Kizel, Sargenti Architects and now I am working at studio5 partnership in Fair Lawn. I’m taking the ARE now. I’d like to learn more about construction management and maybe work in design-build someday. I understand how buildings are put together and I’d like to have more control over the whole project.

I joined AIA NJ to have a network. I have learned a lot since joining. The presentations are valuable. Every meeting I meet new architects with new inspiring stories. My AIA network is beneficial, welcoming, kind and willing to help. I have access to excellent resources for preparing for the ARE.

One very interesting project I have had the opportunity to work on was the MOMA Tower. I worked directly with SAS engineering. The structure involved these threaded bars. We developed the design and joints. Sometimes there were three or four branches. It was complex but very exciting to solve the problems of the unique design.

All images by Moustafa Abouelmagd, Associate AIA



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