University Life 31.07.21

Globetrotting with Architecture student Ari Khoshnaw

Student in Manchester city centre

Rhys Blanchard

Student Communications Assistant

Ari Khoshnaw is currently studying MArch Architecture at our School of Science, Engineering and Environment, who’s grabbing every opportunity with both hands. Ari and I met to discuss the phenomenal adventures he’s embarked on in the last six months. Not only has he been lucky enough to enrol in a summer school state-side, but he was also selected to represent Great Britain at the prestigious Venice Architecture Biennale, an event that sees some of architecture’s greatest minds come together.   

Below he’s shared in his own words the emotions and experiences he was submerged in during his time away, as well as a selection of beautiful photos, featuring Ari himself.

NEW YORK & BOSTON SUMMER SCHOOL 13/06 – 23/06

The ten-day summer school was an exciting trip as it was my first time travelling to America. It was always a dream to travel over to the States. Our first stop was Boston, where we stayed at Back Packers Hostel just outside the city. Our lecturer Claudia Trillo, who is a regular visitor to Boston, joined us for the whole trip and helped us to plan our itinerary.

Boston City Hall

We went to key areas of Boston that we had already covered in our lectures as part of our projects. We visited the Emerald Necklace (one of the major park systems in the world) and the Big Dig project (a tunnel covered by a greenway crossing the Downtown area). We also saw much of the great Boston architecture, such as the Renzo Piano Isabella Stuart Museum. Most importantly, we had the privilege to be welcomed at MIT by one of their researchers who showed us his work, and we were also welcomed at Harvard University and given a tour around their studio and workshops. It was great to see their student projects and I personally found it very inspiring. After a packed week in Boston, it was time to say our goodbye and head to our next destination, New York City!

Times Square, New York City

As much as I enjoyed Boston, New York was a whole different world! We arrived around nine in the evening on the first night and checked into our accommodation at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, thanks to a alumna of the University of Salford. Over the next few days, we visited the outstanding architecture sites of New York, such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Ground Zero area. We were also welcomed by a local architectural practice KOKO, who gave us a talk on their portfolio and a tour around their office which overlooks the New York skyline. We also went to visit the New York High Line – one of the most important greenways on a former industrial railway, which has been regenerated thanks to grassroots movement. It was great to experience the New York High Line because we had also studied this project in lectures and were able to link our theoretical knowledge with the practical experience. We also had a chance to visit one of the professors at Colombia University, who showed us around the campus while giving a brief talk on the history of the university. He also surprised us with meeting British architect, historian, and critic Kenneth Frampton, who took the time to welcome us and take a picture with us!

Inside the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

On our last day, we were lucky to be in NYC while the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Conference on Architecture 2018 was on: one of the biggest architecture events in the States. It was amazing to see so many architects and listen to talks about their projects, one of the highlights of the summer school.

We were also lucky to experience New York like the locals, getting around the city by using the subway and using hired bikes to explore the city from a different perspective, and getting lost within the wide, open spaces of Central Park. It’s a trip I will never forget!

Students in New York

VENICE TRIP 23/08 – 23/09

Working at the Venice Architecture Biennale for a month has been exciting and helped me expand my architectural knowledge and provided a great place to network with other like-minded people.

Being a fellow at the British pavilion has been very engaging. I was first introduced to the other fellows during a two-day induction in London and that helped to build relationships. During the induction, we were introduced to this year’s exhibition the Island by the artist Marcus Taylor, who co-led the theme with the architectural practice Caruso St John.

Canal in between streets in Venice

This year’s exhibition raised some eyebrows; I think this was because people were not expecting such a bold move. I personally think the exhibition did very well in the sense that it sparked critical debates among the visitors. When I was not working, I was tasked with carrying out my own research on my chosen topic. I had decided to use my research in Venice as a test-run for my dissertation.

Living in Venice for a month has been an eye-opening experience. Of course, I did what most tourists would do within the first two weeks of arriving. One of the first things I did was visit the St Mark’s Basilica (I love how light plays a big role on the interior walls in shifting focus on different holy figures throughout the day) and going up the St Mark’s Tower where you could view the whole of Venice and fragments of the rooftops. I also explored other parts of Venice like Cannaregio and Castello, as well as travelling to other islands by vaporetto (water bus) to Lido where I was lucky to be there during the Venice Film Festival and experience the buzz of the red-carpet, and to also welcome the English director Danny Boyle to the British Pavilion. While on Lido, I hired a bicycle and had the chance to cycle and experience its true natural beauty. I was also lucky enough to experience Venice Glass Week, an important event in the Venetian calendar to celebrate Venetian glass from the Island of Murano.

View of St Mark's Tower in Venice

This very memorable internship has given me the opportunity to gain insights that I hope to apply to my upcoming projects during the final year of my Master’s in Architecture.