University of New Mexico School of Architecture & Planning graduate architecture student Rajeeb Hazra is the 2015 Sean F. Mellon Memorial Architectural Scholarship Award Winner, as announced by the Society of American Registered Architects, New York Council (SARA|NY). Hazra was among those who put forth the more than 120 letters of intent and 80 submissions SARA|NY received.
Hazra, who graduates this month, reflected on receiving the scholarship, “Apart from the financial incentive, it's a huge encouragement for me to go forward and kind of tells me I am on the right track. My last two years in the United States have been kind of bumpy, but this award is a perfect confidence booster to end my studies and inspires me to face the challenges ahead.”
Hazra earned his bachelor of architecture in 2008 from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, located in his home country, which allows him to practice there, but not in the United States. Coming to UNM gave him opportunities unique to New Mexico and the School of Architecture & Planning. “I will be always grateful to this school for the wonderful opportunity they provided me. The school extended its helping hand whenever I stumbled. The facilities and rich studio environments – with professors of diverse backgrounds – ensured I was getting my desired education and fulfilled my ultimate goal of being a part of rich, multicultural fabric from which I can learn,” he said.
“With my U.S. education, I have been able to look at architecture from a different perspective compared to my South Asian background. Plus, this was an opportunity to study with people of different nationalities which enriched my knowledge not only about architecture, but also art and life!” he added.
During Hazra's time as an undergraduate student, he started working part-time under the guidance of one of Bangladesh’s leading architects. After five years, he became employed with one of the largest developer companies in the country, specializing in the design and implementation of duplex housing. Here he was able to devote himself to learning about combining his concepts with sustainable solutions in building design.
While completing his undergraduate degree, Hazra volunteered for and participated in various international seminars organized by the Institute of Architects Bangladesh. He was able to travel to South and South-East Asia, which opened his eyes to architecture’s many possibilities. His travels further increased his desire to explore different perspectives and avenues of design.
This newfound sense of diversity inspired Hazra to pursue his master of architecture degree in the United States, where he is now learning to express his thoughts and design ideas in a more sophisticated and creative way, while immersing himself in the culture and the American architectural environment.
Hazra is eager to implement his learnings in the United States and in Bangladesh’s rapidly growing building industry. His goal is to combine his experience in the west melded into the design principles of his native culture to create the aesthetics and essence of true, global architecture with responsible and accountable professional practices.
Hazra said, “I want to use all my eastern and western experience in a design setting. I don't know whether I will be in the United States or back home in a year, but all I know is if I practice architecture in a way that reflects my experiences here, it will ultimately enrich my skills and help me continue to learn. At the end of the day, I just want to be a good and sensible architect!”