• "I WAS WORKING HARD DURING THESE YEARS...SUPPORTING MYSELF AND MY DAUGHTER WORKING AS AN ARCHITECTURAL INTERN, AND KEEPING MY DESIRE TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT. IT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE TO OVERCOME FINANCIAL BURDENS AND FINISH MY DEGREE NOW WITHOUT SCHOLARSHIP AID."
    "I WAS WORKING HARD DURING THESE YEARS...SUPPORTING MYSELF AND MY DAUGHTER WORKING AS AN ARCHITECTURAL INTERN, AND KEEPING MY DESIRE TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT. IT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE TO OVERCOME FINANCIAL BURDENS AND FINISH MY DEGREE NOW WITHOUT SCHOLARSHIP AID."
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Where are you from? Tell us a bit about your background.

I was born in a big postmodern industrial city in Russia. As a student in art school, I started my studies by observing the famous paintings, sculptures, and architecture. Day after day, I was learning about the artists and architects and the mysteries of their lives. Copying the amazing works of Salvador Dali, Van Gogh, and old Italian masters such as Goya and Eugene Delacroix, I wished to see the Dali Theatre and the Museum of Spain in Catalonia and walk across the olive groves. 

 

Later, excited to study architecture, I explored St. Peter's Basilica, the fumed-oak-piers in Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, classic architecture of Italy and Spain, and ancient Italian and French castles and examined many other significant works of famous architects. I graduated from the Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering, in Russia, with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering in 2011. I then moved to Los Angeles with the goal of receiving international cross-disciplinary knowledge, as well as, wide practical experience.


What made you decide to enroll in USC Architecture?

I remember my first visit to the USC School of Architecture. I was warmly greeted by faculty members there. It was explained to me that the school was established by joining four main departments (Architecture, Building Science, Landscape, and Heritage Preservation) together, as their respective curricula were interconnected. The idea to have synthesized education impressed me the most. Therefore, I have desired to be a part of USC not only due to its high reputation, long well-known history, and very friendly community but also because this school is the only one that is able to fulfill all aspects of architectural knowledge for a successful future career.


What has your experience at USC Architecture been like so far?

While the process of adoption of sustainable design principles has increasingly developed, in my opinion, architects tend to have the primary voice to gradually change every aspect of the built environment. I completely agree with My Liveble City (Vinayak BhareneI) – the interconnection between urban architecture and ecology is very obvious now. In my experience at USC, I significantly improved my theoretical and technical knowledge in sustainability, explored many helpful resources to be prepared for my career. 


Since reusing, reducing, and recycling are the primary methods of protecting the environment, my focus is sustainable architecture, of which components such as the Green Buildings initiatives (day lighting and natural ventilation, energy efficiency and water conservation, natural landscaping and site preservation) become essential to be widely spread and adopted. By myself, working as an intern architect in several Los Angeles architectural companies, I am implementing my knowledge in real design processes. Moreover, last semester I received the USC School of Architecture Student Research Grant for the Social Moire communal working space building energy research.


What’s a notable project that you’ve worked on here and why does it stand out?

Being innovative is a process of reducing elements of one's idea and having those elements be more efficient. During the last year I was working on several projects: The Wind Catcher, The Social Moire, and The Triple Flow. 


The Wind Catcher project transforms a typical parking structure into a multi-use building that incorporates eco-approaches to energy conservation and sustainability. The project manipulates with wind characteristics to naturally ventilate the building. Daylight is provided in all occupied spaces. A solar tube radiating system maintains a comfortable temperature during the winter. Photovoltaics are addressing the building occupant’s energy demand. The automated parking system maintains 205 bays, where additional parking on the ground floor is provided. The new communal courtyard and roof viewing entertainment platforms are joined with a new Westside park and designed as interaction points for community, source of local food, and healthy lifestyle. 


The Social Moire project shows how to reduce the energy burden of low-income communities, provide fresh food and economic opportunity through green jobs, build greater access to open space, and correct environmental injustice across the city of Los Angeles. While more than 50% of Earth’s population is living in urban areas, neighborhoods, places where people live, work, play, and learn should foster health, safety, and wellbeing. The Triple flow project intends to join a home, an office, and a park.


What do you hope or plan to do after graduation?

I am super interested in sustainable design and AI (artificial intelligence) technology. This year I received a student grant for my energy simulation modeling research project "Social Moire". I presented my work at the USC School of Architecture Research Symposium this April. Also, I am planning to participate in other green building conferences and forums as well. I will continue to improve my theoretical and practical knowledge and apply them to all my projects. I am open to explore more AI technology opportunities and participate in environmental simulations and research. I graduate in 2021 and I am eager to have, as much as possible, practical experience in the architectural field during the next five years.


If you’re a recipient of scholarship aid, how has this opportunity benefited your academic experience?

First of all, I want to thank USC Architecture for admitting me and for being so welcoming and generous. I must state, the USC School of Architecture welcome letter gave me a tremendous feeling of joy; particularly, joy in knowing I’ve been accepted to a premiere and excellent institution of higher learning and, furthermore, that I am invited to be part of the exclusive USC School of Architecture family. The scholarship awareness is extremely important for me, a person, who moved to the United States almost five years ago holding a diploma of Science in Architectural Engineering, no English experience, but with grandiose patience to receive international cross-disciplinary knowledge as well as wide practical experience. While I was working hard during these years by being an A+ student and going through local ESL programs, completing degrees, volunteering, supporting myself and my daughter working as an architectural intern, and keeping my desire to become an architect, it would not be possible to overcome financial burdens and finish my degree now without scholarship aid.


Any insight or advice for prospective students?

“Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit experience and the last effort of genius," Leonardo da Vinci.


Now, almost finishing my academic journey with USC, I knew that it was a great experience not only due to its high reputation and long well-known history but because of its famous faculty members who are innovative and possess the secret of simplicity of the architectural world. I am proud to be a part of the USC Architecture family and hope that my energy and efforts will help the school to flourish.  


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To make a donation to support graduate student scholarships, please visit https://ignite.usc.edu/project/22100 and select “USC Architecture Alumni Fund for Student Excellence”.