Although 2022 surfaced many challenges to we who inhabit the architecture world, it brought home just as many benefits. For REspace Design in particular, 2022 carried with it the promise inspired by welcoming a new staff member, our new architectural designer and master’s student Joud Bsata.
In January 2023, REspace officially welcomed Bsata into the fold. From there, she has quickly gained experience working on projects ranging from residential to commercial. In fact, she recently told us that the chance to “work on different types of buildings, with exposure to commercial and residential projects” is what had drawn her to apply with REspace initially in late 2022.
REspace owners, architects Eric Bratzler and Ryan Suess, said, “It has been a pleasure getting to know Joud and her work. As owners of a young business, we believe that nothing helps more than having responsible, reliable, talented people. Joud exemplifies all we could have hoped for in a new employee, and we are excited to work with her in the future.”
Bsata echoes the sentiments, saying that even amid finishing her master’s thesis at Boston Architectural College (BAC), she always felt Ryan and Eric were easy to approach and eager to impart their skills and knowledge. “They have been great mentors, good and patient, with experience in both huge and small buildings . . .” She also noted that “not only did their hiring statement appeal to me, but I realized right away that they shared my values and [professional] culture.”
Background and Education
An important part of the story stems from Bsata’s background. You see, Joud hails from Aleppo, Syria, where she was a licensed architect. So, her home country informs both her master’s thesis and her professional mission in architecture. In addition, she has studied and worked on engineering or architectural projects around the world, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, a semester abroad in Europe on scholarship, and in Massachusetts and here with us at REspace.
“With the Erasmus scholarship [which she won while obtaining her B.S. in Architecture at Gaziantep University, in Turkey], along with one other student at my university, I spent 5 months abroad in Bialystok, Poland.” While there, Joud lived on campus and traveled extensively throughout Europe to observe and learn from different architecture and design archetypes. This is not to mention that she met “kids from Spain, Italy, and everywhere who were studying in different fields.”
But such laser focus on education and achievement is nothing unusual for this well-traveled scholar, who grew up in a family of physicians. “[My parents] always encouraged me to be ambitious and curious, and to pursue my dreams. Then . . . when my oldest sister entered the school of architectural engineering, she gave me early exposure to the field and that got me really interested and drawn to the architectural world.”
Joud, in fact, followed her sister into professional engineering and architecture, obtaining her Master of Architecture degree from BAC in late Spring 2023. Her master’s thesis, dubbed Returning Home, “involves a structure of building that offers healing architecture [to Syrian refugees returning home to their war-torn country] and helps the people with their basic daily needs including housing, emotional support group spaces, . . . workshops for learning construction methods to participate in rebuilding their own houses, and a day care for their children.” As such, her humanitarian designs are both timely and pragmatic in terms of transformative affordable housing for displaced Syrian refugees.
A Passion for Helping
In reviewing Joud’s thesis work during their interviews, Eric and Ryan “noted the humanitarian sensibilities throughout all of her designs. This combined with the experience she has had working in other countries gave her an edge during the hiring process. These factors are a welcome aspect in any office, and we consider ourselves lucky to have her perspective available to help shape our culture as we grow.”
Joud recently told us that the largest building she’s surveyed so far in her architectural career—which has thus far spanned the world from Syria to Massachusetts to the Midwestern United States—has been with REspace. She’s off to quite a great start as our new architectural designer.
“If you love what you’re doing,” she said, “it’s not a challenge.” That passion has extended to working for REspace and its clientele. “I want clients to think of me as someone who always wants to help achieve their design, answer their questions, and bolster their user experience.”
And boost she has, working on a multitude of different project types from residential remodels to veterinary clinics, from self-storage facilities to war memorials, plus using her talent for 3-D modeling (as both hobbyist and professional architect) to achieve positive outcomes for REspace’s clients.
She explained, “I love 3-D modeling; whether the project is in its early stages or in its final, a good model will give an explanation and clear illustration that can help both the designer and the client to either push forward with a design or revise and improve.”
Joud ultimately hopes to become a college professor in architecture, after obtaining her architect’s license in the United States. She’s well on her way to reaching the approximately 3,800 reported hours required for her initial NCARB license.
Architecture and Life Role Models
Besides offering an educational work experience, we like to think REspace has supported Bsata on her own yellow brick road to licensure. But that road is also lined with many architecture-design touchstones: namely Pritzker Prize-winning Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, with her acclaimed futuristic architecture, and Frank Lloyd Wright, with his emphasis on nature embodied in the famed Pennsylvania estate Fallingwater.
In addition to admiring Wright’s work as a college freshman, Bsata said that Hadid also “put her mark on the architectural world in a very powerful way, such that I always saw her as a role model to follow when I was a student.”
Other real-world models (no pun intended) for this soon-to-be architect have included her family. “Having my parents, sisters, and husband encouraging and supporting me was the greatest thing that kept me pushing forward with my thesis and my work.”
Whatever goals REspace’s new architectural designer Joud Bsata builds toward in the future, we remain certain she’s sure to reach them with integrity, clarity, and aplomb—and we invite you to give her a hearty welcome when you communicate with her or see her on a job site!