How Diana Vatinyan who won an internship in the office of Daniel Libeskind, became a successful architect in New York City
Archi-World Academy – www.awacademy.org – is an international architecture competition entirely devoted to students in architecture. Over 1,200 architecture schools worldwide are supporting this event organized on biennial basis together with Messe München and BAU.
Three editions have been organized so far and the next BAU fair, planned in January 2019, will be rewarding the best 12 projects of the fourth edition of Archi-World Academy.
Many renowned architecture offices and star architects have been taking part in the competition as jury members (almost 50 architects among them Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid, Christoph Ingenhoven, Mario Cucinella, offices like Henning Larsen Architects, C.F. Møller, Bjarke Ingels Group, Mecanoo Architekten, Skidmore, Owens & Merrill…).
As for the number of entries, the three first editions have registered over 4,000 student projects from all over the world.
There are many success stories from students having their professional life boosted thanks to Archi-World Academy we could talk about.
One of the most significant examples concerns former student Diana Vatinyan from Moscow who was selected by Daniel Libeskind in the framework of the very first edition of Archi-World Academy (2011/2013).
We have been in touch with her and have been interviewing her asking questions about Archi-World Academy competition, her expectations, her experience regarding the traineeship, how winning the competition affected her professional career and finally we asked her what kind of advice she could address to future generations of Archi-World Academy students.
Diana was very excited about sharing her experience with BAU magazine readers and immediately accepted to be interviewed:
Archi-Europe: Diana, when and where did you first hear about Archi-World Academy Awards and why did you decide to participate to this competition?
I read an article announcing Archi-World Academy Awards on Archi-Europe website and was very impressed by the concept so I immediately felt that this contest represented an extraordinary and unique opportunity for young and talented professionals to get noticed and gain great professional experience.
I did not hesitate one second and decided to take my chance and submit my project.
Archi-Europe: What was your first reaction when you learned that Daniel Libeskind had selected your project?
You also had the opportunity to meet him personally at the awarding ceremony in Munich at BAU 2013, can you tell us more about it?
I was very surprised and excited at the same time. Although the presented project had already been recognized in other competitions, it was still a great achievement for me to receive a prize from one of the world top architects. This traineeship was a life-changing experience.
When I first met Daniel Libeskind I had very limited English-speaking abilities at that point and it made it quite challenging for us to communicate. I was very impressed by Mr. Libeskind’s charisma, friendliness, and his passionate speech.
Archi-Europe: Can you tell about your working experience in Daniel Libeskind office in New York, we also know you worked longer than the initially agreed internship period.
I worked in Daniel Libeskind’s office 1 year and a half.
In fact my initial traineeship was supposed to last six months but was extended for another year.
During this time, I worked on a variety of different projects and was given an opportunity to develop design ideas and participate in team meetings as a member. I also assisted him in preparing several presentation materials, drawings and models. It was an amazing experience.
Archi-Europe: We know you are still living in New York, what is your current occupation?
Yes, I have lived in New York for over four years now and have worked on a wide range of projects and ideas as an employee and independent designer. I currently work for a well-known healthcare design firm as an Architectural Designer and Associate. I think that healthcare design is one of the most challenging and rapidly developing industries that has a lot to offer to people who want to learn and grow professionally.
Besides that, I have become a LEED Green Associate and begun working on my architectural license which is necessary for lawfully practicing architecture in the USA.
Archi-Europe: Winning an internship in a big international office clearly represents a real opportunity. What kind of advice would you give to the winners of the next edition of Archi-World Academy about the way they should consider the internship?
It is a lifetime opportunity that can help young professionals gain valuable experience and become a better professional, I strongly encourage and recommend students to take part in Archi-World Academy.
Personally, Archi-World Academy completely changed my life and I am still thankful to Archi-Europe and Messe München for having developed and promoted such a challenging and stimulating tool for young professionals.
Archi-Europe: Do you want to address any special message to students in architecture based on your personal experience?
Believe in yourself, take a risk, work hard and you will have a chance to become a winner of Archi-World Academy competition.