What are the important skills for PhD students (or candidates) to facilitate their success in research?
Well, a PhD is much more than mere research and writing. It requires a lot of devotion, mental toughness, discipline, determination, and passion for what you do. And it's a journey that is challenging not just intellectually but emotionally. You learn a lot about yourself in this process and you grow in ways you weren't expecting. These are important qualities that benefit one's path in trying to become qualified independent researcher. And while doing a PhD is a lonely process, a good relationship with your supervisor/advisor is essential for its success.
What issues become more and more relevant in the today's architecture discourse?
I think it is now evident that things are much more complex than what architects imagined them to be in the past, and dealing with complexity only through spatial approaches can be a dangerously reductionist approach. Particularly, the advancements of information technologies have given much greater power to the individual –not necessarily the architect– and it is no surprise that today there is an increasing interest on bottom-up systems, emergent morphologies, and global actions and organisations. However, we are still struggling to fully grasp all the bewildering patterns and processes that originate from the bottom-up, not to mention, predict and anticipate their change in the future.
Who has been the biggest influence on your work to date?
I'm very fortunate to have met some great people along the way – professors, colleagues, students, and dear friends – without whom I would not be the person I am today and to whom I feel grateful. I feel that a special mention shall go to Leonard Streich who has been a kind, brilliant, and supportive mentor for me during my time at the ETHZ and afterward.
What would you advice for aspiring architects?
I am not sure if I am in a position to give advice as I am in the early stages of my career. What I could tell to someone younger is to work hard, aim high, and keep doing what you love and feel passionate about. Paraphrasing a quote by T. Roosevelt, `do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are!`