Congratulations to CVEN final year Civil with Architecture student Jatin Midha who was selected for the 2021 prestigious 5-week design program MADE (Multidisciplinary Australian Danish Exchange) by the Opera House.
Each year since 2013 just five students from a NSW university and five students from a Danish tertiary institution get to participate in the program in Denmark and Australia respectively. The aim of the ten-year program is to create an alumnus group of 100 students to continue the international and interdisciplinary links first forged by Jørn Utzon's masterpiece.
Usually the MADE program involves some international travel but Covid-19 has meant Jatin’s program was implemented solely in Sydney. It was still incredibly thrilling. We caught up with Jatin in the midst of his busy schedule to see how he was getting on...
CVEN: Congratulations Jatin on having been selected for MADE 2021 – that’s a great honour for you, and UNSW! Why did you apply for it?
Jatin Midha: MADE provides the unique opportunity for passionate architecture, engineering, and design students to unleash their bold and creative ideas and present them to Opera House stakeholders and partners. So I felt it captured and enhanced upon the multidisciplinary essence of my degree, and provide a forum where I could apply and develop my skills and interests in BOTH engineering and architecture simultaneously.
The masterclasses, workshops and tours offered to the MADE students by the Sydney Opera House, ARUP, PTW and Steensen Varming also really peaked my interest alongside the incredible opportunity to visit the works of Jørn Utzon in Denmark and Spain.
CVEN: What group project are you working on in this year’s MADE program?
JM: The MADE 2022 team has been tasked with activating Sydney Opera House’s Broadwalk Journey, while keeping true to the organisation’s and Utzon’s vision. The three core themes: Country Centred Design, 24 Hour City and Futureproofing must form the foundation of our design, whereby the structural, heritage and ecological considerations of working on a UNESCO world heritage site will pose as our key challenges. Our team is working and living together over a five-week duration to completely immerse ourselves into the multidisciplinary process.
As a designer and engineering student it is the greatest privilege to contribute to the creative problem solving for real issues being faced by the Opera House and to be a part of the 20 year legacy of such a prestigious program.
CVEN: Why did you chose your degree - Civil with Architecture?
JM: From a young age I developed a strong connection to drawing, as a form of communication of my wildest ideas. As an inherently inquisitive individual I also felt drawn to understanding how logistically things work and this led to a natural progression to STEM related subjects in high school. I chose Civil Engineering with Architecture to better understand structures and buildings, whilst simultaneously stimulating my creative side with architectural design projects and studios.
CVEN: And why did you choose UNSW?
JM: I chose UNSW since their degree was four years and provided the flexibility to optionally take on the extra year of architecture to complete a ‘double degree’ (currently in process of formalising). Knowing family members and peers who’ve attended the university alongside the strong multicultural environment drew me towards the UNSW CVEN program as my university of choice.
CVEN: What’s been the best thing about the degree
JM: The different requirements and duality of thinking required for solving problems in both degrees, really opened my perspective and awareness of different built environment issues. I enjoy having the tools and the background knowledge to deal with issues that impact both streams such as achieving sustainability goals from an engineering and architectural standpoint
CVEN: In our Covid-era, how has the study/campus experience been?
JM: I am currently in my final year of my degree, having spent equal amounts of time studying from home and at university during this time!
In retrospect, I am grateful that my first year at UNSW was in person and I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, go to society events and establish connections early. During this time, I became familiar with navigating through the large campus and knowing where the best facilities and study spaces were (No I will not reveal my fav study space on campus!).
This initial experience really helped in getting through the next two years where, being on and off in online classes took a toll on my quality of learning and engagement levels. While studying from home, was not a particular issue for me, I struggled to navigate group projects and the severe disconnect online courses brought with it.
On the other hand, I liked that I could spend the time usually taken to travel to the campus, to focus on other areas of my life. As much as I would like to return to the campus for my final year, I feel that the routine I’ve established of working from home will take some time to readjust.
CVEN: You’re a busy man and yet you volunteered to be part of our marvellous student organisation CEVSOC – what motivated you and what benefits does it bring?
JM: I got into Civil and Environmental Engineering Society in third year, to try and reconnect with my earlier university experiences and to be on the other side of organising and marketing university events. Being a part of CEVSOC helped me gain deeper insights into the different career pathways that were available for CVEN students during and after their degree.
The positive and reaffirming CEVSOC team members helped motivate me to apply for different things and put myself out there, more than I would have on my own. CEVSOC provided a forum/safe space for meeting new people and make good friends in the process, which is an essential part of surviving university.
CVEN: What do you hope to do after graduation.
JM: There are several avenues I would like to pursue after graduation, but right now I’m focusing on the MADE program, Stem Cadetship for Defence and my Research Honours Thesis, hoping that the amalgamation of these experiences will shape my future decisions.
My initial plan after graduation was to pursue a graduate role at a structural engineering firm and acquire the practical experience to apply my learnings to real world projects. I would also love the opportunity to communicate and work with architects as I want to be involved with design ideas that may potentially shape the future of buildings.
From my experience of the MADE program I am leaning towards taking an extra year of architecture and completing my Bachelors in Architectural Studies, purely because it will form the foundation for a future Masters of Architecture. I don’t want to limit myself in the opportunities that come my way and after graduation I would like work on both sides of the design process. Complementing this, I would like to experience what exchange programs are like and maybe visit Denmark (the original location for the MADE program), seeing as I missed out this year due to COVID.
CVEN: Thank you Jatin and all the very best! We look forward to seeing what more marvels lie ahead.