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...the role of an architect is to "make a space more human"

Sandra Mustieles

Although the schedule of a graduate assistant is quite busy we were able to have a sit down with Sandra Mustieles. She shared her experience learning on site while participating in the Buildgreen program. Buildgreen and their collaboration with Florida International University help connect and expose budding architects like Sandra with seasoned professionals in the field. What's particularly remarkable about the Buildgreen program is their initiative to build and teach about sustainable development and sustainable construction. When asked what was her understanding of sustainable development and construction, Sandra explained, "The ability to use local resources, materials and employees rooted in Miami, contributes to sustainable construction. And making the effort to manage waste and repurpose buildings and their materials is the driving factor behind sustainable development". The Buildgreen program and their affiliation with ARC+, encourages networking and hands on experience to better their students. Sandra credits the program for her motivation and involvement in the field; she said, " The lectures that were held and the architects I've been introduced to, helps reinforce my decision to be an architect". The Buildgreen program also gave Sandra access to Procore, an application that acts as a project management tool. Sandra said she was introduced to Procore after she became a GA; Procore gave her the opportunity to see each phase of a project like never before.

Sandra summed up the Buildgreen program best when she said, " it's where the academy meets the real world". The program is the perfect segway for Sandra because she too, shares Buildgreen and ARC+'s mission in sustainability. Sandra hopes to have her own architecture firm that focuses on low-tech ways to implement sustainable design elements. Sandra noted that it is much easier to build sustainably when a budget is not an issue; but she's more interested in finding sustainable options if you take money off the table so to speak.

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"...it's where the academy meets the real world"

- Sandra Mustieles

As our interview with Sandra Mustieles came to a close, we wanted to know how does Sandra describe the role of an architect. Sandra eloquently explained that the role of an architect is to "make a space more human". Sandra elaborated by adding, " you can tell when an architect had a hand in creating a space, the space is not just built to function, it’s built with people in mind". Sandra pointed to studies that indicated, buildings that were built by engineers alone proved to have negative psychological effects on the inhabitants. Sandra hopes to bridge the gap between building according to plans and building in recognition of people.

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" you can tell when an architect had a hand in creating a space, the space is not just built to function, it’s built with people in mind"

In collaboration with...

Article by Ajaj Thompson - In collaboration with the FIU BOLD agency