MFx16: Meet Janet Ni

 

Janet Ni
Bachelor of Architecture
Rice University, 2019

What motivated you to study architecture?
I have known I wanted to go into architecture starting from when I was 10, and held onto that interest through high school. I attended the UT Summer Academy of Architecture so I could immerse myself in a studio and from then on decide if that's what I wanted to pursue as a career. I loved the program and appreciated the way it made me realize how much design can affect the way people go about their everyday lives. 

Analog or digital?
[Relating to photography:] I prefer to shoot analog. Although I predominantly work with digital, I find that analog forces me to photograph more intentionally and slowly because there is a finite shot count. Not only to my analog photographs tend to be more carefully taken, but I also think there's something nice about using a physical medium, something that's actually tangible, rather than a file on a memory card.

California Landscape

California Landscape

What's your design process like?
I start by researching the site to investigate what purpose the project needs to serve there, and how a design can serve the area best--whether it needs to be revitalized, preserved, unified, etc. Then, I begin to look towards other precedents and read up on projects that have done what I'm trying to achieve. After researching, I spend a large chunk of time just sketching, brainstorming programmatic organization ideas, imagining what forms might suit the project and deciding what is important about the project and why. Throughout this process, I'm constantly jotting down notes or drawing quick little sketches so that I can review all my thoughts and ideas. 

What's a valuable memory or experience from architecture school so far?
I think the experience of constantly presenting my work through pin-ups, mid reviews, and final reviews has been incredibly valuable. Not only has it helped my public speaking skills, but it also forces me to look critically at my own work and step back to evaluate why it is important and why it matters.

What are you listening to lately?
I normally am constantly listening to music, but lately I've actually switched over to mostly podcasts. I'm a fan of 99% Invisible, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!, Invisibilia, and Fresh Air. I have definitely been meaning to listen to the new Chance the Rapper album, though. 

School of Architecture, Madrid, Spain

School of Architecture, Madrid, Spain

How do you feel architecture improves the world or solves a problem?
Architecture affects how we approach space, how we engage our environment, and how we interact with each other. It can do something as big as ameliorate congestion and traffic through large infrastructural moves and urban planning, or something as small as creating a beautiful handrail detail. I think it has incredible potential to improve the world at varying scales.