Name: Shadath Chowdhury

MSA Role: Secretary

Manchester Practice: Tim Groom Architects

Job Description: Architect

  1. Why Architecture?

From a young age, I spent hours drawings or painting. My sketchbooks were filled with drawings of buildings, city scenes, and interiors. I knew early on that I would eventually end up in a career relating to art and design. Alongside art, I had an interest in maths and physics, which inevitably paved my path towards a career in Architecture.

  1. What drives your passion for Architecture?

Architecture is not just a building, it is about the spaces that are created around it. In particular, I enjoy problem solving and the urban planning side of architecture.

My interest are in buildings that create high quality public realms and strong relationships with its context. At the opposite spectrum, I also like detailing and ornamentation; all of which gives a building its own character and charm.

  1. How did your architecture education and career journey to date, bring you to working in Manchester?

To begin my career in Architecture, I had to identify an appropriate school of Architecture. Manchester School of Architecture due to its reputation and the location in the city made it a clear choice for me. The undergrad course helped me build a toolkit of skills that would become the foundation of my architectural learning.

Following this, I began my 12-month placement at Saunders Architecture and Urban Design in the summer of 2017. My work predominantly persisted of social housing and master planning. Towards the end of my placement, I became more confident in my abilities to design. I also gained a vast amount of experience in the construction stages, which made me more of a well-rounded designer. At the end of my placement I was asked to stay on and work part time while doing my masters.

For my masters, I decided to go back to the Manchester school of architecture where I got to shift my learning to residential, adaptive reuse and master planning. After graduation, I joined Tim Groom Architects (TGA) which is a practice with projects that are aligned with my interests. I did my part III at TGA and currently work as an architect here. TGA have a strong presence in Manchester with majority of the workload within the city centre. I am fortunate to work with amazing people, on exciting projects and get myself involved with the development of Manchester.

  1. What do you enjoy the most about being an Architect in Manchester?

The best part of being in Manchester is that I get to immerse myself into a vibrant and culturally diverse city, where each corner has its own unique character, heritage and charm. It is a city that is ever evolving, with cranes cementing itself as part of the skyline. There is no other city like it with the ambition and drive for high quality development, making it a really exciting place to be an architect.

  1. What was it that made you decide to be involved on the Manchester Society of Architects committee.

I joined the MSA with the hopes of getting more involved with the industry and meeting passionate, intelligent, and creative like-minded people. After attending a few monthly meetings, I began to find my footing within the society and started to help organise events. Shortly after, I was elected as Secretary in 2020.

As part of the Manchester Society of Architects, I get the opportunity to organise and get involved with events which are outside my day to day role as an architect. It is an opportunity to meet, socialise and learn. And to contribute to the society’s ethos:

to champion and nurture the current and future architects of Manchester’.

  1. What is your favourite Manchester Building?

I am interested in urban design and I believe that Manchester has very strong walking links, public spaces and active streets. In particular, I really like the central library walk. It is a very sensitive and subtle intervention which accentuates the character of the neighbouring listed buildings.

  1. What advice would you give a young person wanting a career in architecture?

Architecture is a very rewarding and challenging career. The skills you will acquire are extremely versatile, that can be applied to any field. Architecture is so vast that I would tell young architects to follow their passions and interested within subject. And most of all, talk to people, make friends and enjoy the journey!

  1. What do you do in your spare time?

Painting and drawing fills up most of my spare time. My artwork can be found on my Instagram: @shadath_Chowdhury.

Aside from painting and drawing, I believe that staying active or going outdoors is important and love a challenging hike. In terms of sports, I mostly play racket sports as my steady hands translate well to sports like tennis, table tennis and badminton.

  1. In your opinion – energy and sustainability aside, what is likely to be the biggest game changer in our built environment in the next 50 years?

The two biggest changes are:

1 – Growing city and aging population

Cities and town are growing at a rapid rate and people are on average have a higher life expectancy. This results in a rapid growth to cities and towns. We will need to find ways to accommodate the increased density, find solutions for generational city living and tackle homelessness within cities and towns.

2 – The way we live and work post pandemic

I believe that the way we work and live has completely changed since the pandemic. As more people are starting to work from home, we may see a shift in the desire to live in the city centre and the way that office spaces are used. The increased flexibility and priority on work life balance may result in a more adaptive city.

  1. What is one thing you believe we should be talking about in architecture that isn’t discussed?

Diversity, wellbeing and education. All of which are topics that the MSA can bring to the table for discussions.