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M.Arch Student Priyanka Rajani on Fearlessness and Building Unimaginable Worlds

Priyanka Rajani is currently in the M.Arch 2 program at SCI-Arc. She was born and raised in Coimbatore, India and earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from RV College of Architecture, Bangalore in 2018. She has worked at architecture firms in India and also held an internship at OWIU Design Studio in Los Angeles during summer 2019.

Priyanka Rajani portrait

How has studying architecture impacted how you view the world?

My obsession with cities started when I was a kid and my dad introduced me to the world of architecture. The world didn’t look the same to me from that point. Staring outside a car window to observe pediments and cornices while we drove in and out of various cities was fascinating. I have always been curious to try and find the unimaginable in the ordinary and question it. Especially in the field of architecture, where we create worlds and what we build can change situations socially, politically, and economically. I want to try bringing about that change.

Which living architect do you most admire, and what is the quality you most admire about them?

I’ve always been intrigued by set design. I like to integrate art, science, and color to produce design. I admire Olafur Eliasson for his art, which is driven by his interests in perception and movement that embodies experience and connects uncommon ideas with design.

2GAX XRay Workshop—The Apollo Project. Fall 2018, Instructor Natasha Sandmeier. In collaboration with Jui Cheng Hung and Linzi Ai.

If you were to die and return as a building, which would it be?

While doing my undergraduate degree, Frank Lloyd Wright was my first inspiration in the world of architecture away from Indian temples and vernacular houses. Robie House was the first project I visited that I studied about. What captivated me the most is how articulated it was, that every corner was thought of in detail. The basic floor plan was integrated with lighting and furniture. Everything followed a set of principles that made it seem as part of a whole.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I want to try and be more like Barkha Dutt—fearless and daring—to be able to overcome any situation that I am put in outside my comfort zone.

2GAX Engagement Workshop—Urban Landscape. Fall 2018, Instructor Casey Rehm. In collaboration with Jui Cheng Hung and Linzi Ai.

What is your most treasured possession in your workspace?

Right now, my favorite possession in my workspace is my headphones, to block the world out and get some work done.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue, both personally and in architecture? The most underrated?

We seek validation for the work we do. Obviously, it feels nice when the work that we spent hours on is liked. I feel it is the most overrated/underrated virtue. Over time, I have realized that most of the validation I seek is less genuine and all that matters is how I personally feel about it. One should always strive for excellence and stay motivated no matter who likes it.

2GBX, Spring 2019, Instructor Damjan Jovanovic.

Which talent would you most like to possess?

At times, I need to be able to separate ideas that work in a particular context vs the ones that don’t. They’re all good ones but I try to add too many of them to one project. I wish I could just be an abstract expressionist and maybe some design choices need not be reasoned for.

How has your experience as an architecture student influenced your taste in music, and what is your current studio soundtrack?

Music is very vital in the way I think at times. I tend to jump between a lot of rock and indie/techno depending on the kind of task I'm doing, thinking vs. Producing. Sometimes I might be feeling FKJ while on the other hand I might be into Tame Impala or even Pantera.

2GBX—InsideOutsideBetweenBeyond. Spring 2019, Instructor Damjan Jovanovic. In collaboration with Rad Mika.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I say “mental health is important, too” a lot. I tend to take on a lot more than I can handle by trying to keep myself occupied at all times.

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of how much I have grown in the last year, in both my personal and professional life.