Staff Spotlight: Nanditha Thiagarajan

Nanditha shines as a promising designer with a portfolio featuring K-12 schools, development and commercial projects

July 27, 2022
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Nanditha Thiagarajan offers eight years of experience in the field of architecture, receiving her undergraduate degree from the National Institute of Technology in Trichy, India before attending and completing her Masters studies at Arizona State University. Nanditha’s portfolio features work in Texas, Arizona and now New England, in sectors ranging from K-12, commercial and development. Since joining Finegold Alexander back in January 2022, Nanditha continues to make a positive impact on the firm through her personable attitude, insightful perspective, spirit of volunteerism and commitment to quality design.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in architecture?

N: My original interest in architecture began with wanting to be in a very creative field, in addition to having something you designed be realized in real life, a tangible space that can be experienced by everyone. Over time, I have realized that the decisions I make while designing a building have real-life consequences in terms of how people behave, live, and enjoy our built environment. And that is what inspires me stay in the field.

Q: In what ways has the profession of architecture surprised you so far?

N: The extent to which architecture is a multi-disciplinary profession. It involves the application of knowledge and understanding gleaned from so many different areas of study. Each new project teaches you something new – a new construction method, material, technology or uses. There are always surprises in store and that’s the best part!

This past spring Nanditha participated the Boston Private Industry Council’s (PIC)’s April Vacation Design Thinking Bootcamp offered to high school students in the City of Boston. In this screen shot, Nanditha (highlighted in yellow) discusses window details with the students and with colleagues.

Q: What is your favorite moment or highlight so far, either in your studies or your postgraduate roles?

N: One of my favorite moments has been being able to interact with elementary school children, their parents and teachers through the process of designing an elementary school in Texas. It was a fun process where I got to listen to different viewpoints and actively work to incorporate their thoughts and wishes into a space that they will use through some of the most formative years of a child’s life.

Q: Do you have any guiding principles in your design approach?

N: I do. For me, design is an iterative process and there is no one solution to a complex problem. I think it’s a powerful method to put yourself in the shoes of the user, that allows you to tweak and improve the design, as opposed to designing a building in one fell swoop and leaving little room for improvement. The “why” matters!!  

Street view of Hawa Mahal palace (Palace of the Winds) in Jaipur, Rajasthan. India; Photo by Aditya Siva on Unsplash

Q: Do you have a favorite city to visit for architecture?

N: Jaipur, India. There are centuries worth of history that is represented in its architecture and my favorite thing to do is imagine the lives of people of who have lived in its buildings over time. There is also a stark juxtaposition of old vs new, and the story of its evolution told through its buildings is just fascinating!

Designed by Snohetta Architects, The Oslo Opera House was finished in 2008 and is a popular tourist attraction in Norway: Photo by Sherman “Pat” Morss, Jr.

Q: Do you have a favorite building or perhaps a favorite architect?

N: I have a favorite firm whose body of work I find very inspiring, Snohetta. Of their work, two buildings that stand out are the Observation Pavilion and the Oslo Opera House. Two very different scales of projects, each with a very strong contextual presence.

Stay tuned for another Staff Spotlight next month!