Darshna Patel, Associate AIA, is Making an Impact on Industry and Community in Today’s AIA New Jersey Women in In Architecture Spotlight

March 31, 2019

Darshna Patel, Associate AIA, is Making an Impact on Industry and Community in Today’s AIA New Jersey Women in In Architecture Spotlight

 

Growing up I was surrounded by family members in the architecture and engineering field. My dad, a civil engineer, would bring my older brother and I to his construction trailer in NYC. He would give us odd jobs to keep us busy during the day as we were exposed to the daily grind and interactions of a construction site. As I got older, I worked for my maternal uncle. He was a civil engineer by day, but would moonlight as an architect with small projects on the side. My brother and I were ecstatic when he offered us jobs at an hourly rate when we were on breaks from school. Naturally, I found myself gravitating towards the architecture and engineering field.

 

I applied to only one college, NJIT, since it was the only college in New Jersey that had an accredited, undergraduate, Architecture program. I graduated amidst a recession in 2010 with a Bachelors in Architecture and a Masters in Civil Engineering (with a concentration in Construction Management). Luckily for me, I was one of the very few classmates that already had a paid position at a mid-sized firm in NYC. Even though this provided me with a steady paycheck and benefits, it gave me less opportunity and flexibility to figure out what my passion would be within the industry. I used my time at Goshow Architects and later, at Swanke Hayden Connell Architects to experience the various sectors within architecture such as education, government, healthcare, retail and workplace. I developed relationships with people from across the industry and also saw what others were passionate about.

 

Now, as an associate and Project Architect at Gensler, I have found my own passion in workplace interiors for the science and pharmaceutical industry. My current roster of clients include Johnson & Johnson, Barclays, McCann Torre Lazur and Jaguar Land Rover. My current focus is understanding the dynamic of client needs and building meaningful, long standing relationships to help our clients succeed. With that, I’d like to think that I am viewed as a strong team member who consistently goes above and beyond my responsibilities to ensure the project objectives are being met or exceeded.

 

My passion for sustainable and social impact projects drives me to always look at ways to improve the impact architecture has on people’s lives. Throughout my career I have intertwined my passions for community and architecture. I was recently part of a New Ventures Innovation initiative where my team presented an idea on developing self-sustainable communities and where the firm could evolve into becoming a community developer with a focus in affordable housing. From an early age, I’ve enjoyed being actively involved in giving back to the community. From traveling to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to assess housing, to participating in local Habitat for Humanity builds in New Jersey, to setting up a NYC city-wide volunteer day through SAALT, community has truly become a driving factor for me in this industry. Even something as small as sharing the fruit and vegetables from your garden with neighbors can really have an impact within your immediate community.

 

I also strongly believe in mentorship and empowering women in the industry. I’m currently working on building a platform, such as this wonderful opportunity, where individual women can share their impact and skills in this industry and others. I’m also working on setting up networking events where women can share their experiences, support each other, and also discuss how to create a great work/life balance. For those reading this right now, you’re not alone!
 

Outside work I enjoy travelling, snowboarding, practicing yoga, spending time with my two puppies Mila and Stella and with my husband Gaurav. I am an Associate member of AIA and a LEED Green Associate. 

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