Therresa Shannen Budihardjo on her journey as a talented and upcoming Architect.
April 6, 2021at1:30 PM
by Vaishnavi More
Shannen is a dedicated architectural designer with 2.5 years of professional experience. She specializes in BIM with a strong interest in people-oriented design and sustainability Passionate about solving scalable human issues. Thinks big, learns fast. Committed to bringing fresh ideas and creating real-life impact in human-environment relations. Graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master of Architecture degree.
Architectural Designer - Ian Birchall + Associates (San Francisco, CA)
Intern Architect III - Ankrom Moisan Architects (San Francisco, CA)
Design Professional Summer Intern - Alliiance (Minneapolis, MN)
VDC Summer Intern - Turner Construction Company (Seattle, WA)
Architectural Summer Intern - PT. Airmas Asri (Jakarta, ID)
Master of Architecture - University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
BA in Architectural Design - University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Environmental Psychology Course - Cornell University (online)
Archslate: Tell us a little bit about your background and what made you choose Architecture as a profession.
Shannen: My family comes from a construction background. My father is a contractor and furniture manufacturer, while my mother works in structural engineering. Ever since I was little, I have been exposed to the construction industry. I have always been amused by how buildings were built and how they have so much influence on the human psyche. However, I only decided to take architecture after I went to an apprenticeship in a local architecture firm in Indonesia. I got to see firsthand, how architects work and I was inspired by the amount of thought behind every design decision. The idea of creating spaces that people interact with on a day-to-day basis still interests me to this very day.
Blurred Lines - Home, a place that now takes on a whole meaning. In a world where we are all suddenly forced into isolation, our home is now our shelter, our workplace, our gym, and so much more.
"The Danish architecture firm, Gehl Architects, is my dream firm, because they are a huge advocate for people-oriented design. I really admire how the firm cares about the betterment of urban life through architecture and urban design."
Archslate: What types of projects do you see yourself working on?
Shannen: I really love creating people centric places. Communities, where people genuinely enjoy and can thrive in and hence I have been working on mostly multifamily or mixed-use projects. However, having said that, I would like to expand my skills and experience by working on hospitality and retail projects as well.
Rethinking Havana Planning for A Self - Sustaining City
Archslate: How do you describe your design style as an architect?
Shannen: I would describe my design style as contemporary, with influences from the Scandinavia, Barcelona, and Japan. However, I do believe that when an architect designs, he/she designs for the client, so I always bend my design style to follow the clients' preference
"Ever since I was little, I have been exposed to the construction industry. I have always been amused by how buildings were built and how they have so much influence on the human psyche."
Archslate: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Shannen: In an ideal world, in five years, I will be a registered architect, focusing on BIM, human centered design, and sustainability, working as a Project Designer at a firm that believes in the same vision as I do.
Archslate: Which is your most favorite project in your portfolio and why?
Shannen: My favorite project in my portfolio is my thesis from the University of Michigan. The proposed project is the idea of using collective living in Suburban Japan to create a model suburb to improve the elderly population's quality of life. It questions the design decisions of a governmental apartment complex in Tokiwadaira and its role in creating isolation among the ederly's lives.
Through the proposed design interventions, including sociopetal spaces and reduction of individual areas, the project forces the tenants out of their apartments and into a series of spaces that promote natural engagement in informal activities. In this project, architecture becomes the solution in promoting interaction and communication among the occupants of the housing complex. I like this project because the design is oriented around the occupants of the building, specifically, the elderly population.
This thesis investigates how this surge of the aging population will affect the infrastructure, and therefore, the built environment surrounding us.
Designing For The Elderly: Collective Living in Tokiwadaira, Japan. Modern Japan is experiencing a shift in their demographics. The aging population is beginning to dominate Japan as the percentage of Japan's elderly population, or the elderly dependency ratio is set to continue to grow drastically in the coming years.
Archslate: When searching for internships or jobs, what are you looking for?
Shannen: I believe that the two most important things that I look for in a firm are how aligned thew vision is with me and the work culture. I want to surround myself with supportive people that can help me grow personally and professionally.
Archslate: Which firms do you admire the most that make it to your list of 'Dream job'?
Shannen: The Danish architecture firm, Gehl Architects, is my dream firm, because they are a huge advocate for people-oriented design. I really admire how the firm cares about the betterment of urban life through architecture and urban design.
Rho Stool - A multifunctional stool that can also serve as a magazine rack and a small coffee table/nightstand. All pieces are CNC cut from White Birch plywood and are hand assembled.