This week, we interviewed Arjun Uppal, an architect and project runner at Hyphen. Typically based in our Paris office, Arjun has delivered projects for clients across Europe.
1. What is a typical day like in your role?
Lots of design coordination, liaison with the local authorities and client relations.
2. What’s the most interesting place that you’ve ever visited for work?
Prague, Czech Republic, for a luxury boutique project as a client representative, where I had the opportunity to discover the city with locals involved in the project.
3. Top local permitting tip?
Do not hesitate to actively involve the local authorities in the design process. More often than not, they are eager to work towards delivering a good project.
4. Best tool for staying in touch with your team?
Microsoft Teams and Whatsapp
5. What’s your work super power?
I am pretty quick on CAD and Photoshop
6. Most useful tool for architectural/design work?
The most important and useful tool for any architect is the ability to hand sketch and being able to visualise your design before beginning to draft. Revit is a godsend too.
7. What do you like most about working at Hyphen?
Hyphen is the third WA100 practice I have worked for, but, unlike the other two, Hyphen feels more like a smaller design practice. The management is approachable and always interested in improving our work culture. There is a very high level of transparency and knowledge sharing between the different offices.
8. How has Hyphen supported your career development?
I have been challenged to work on my weak areas and feel supported when I encounter roadblocks. This has helped me feel more confident dealing with rigorous and often unrelenting regulatory authorities in France.
9. What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled for a site visit?
I had the opportunity to work in the north of India at the beginning of my career and had to regularly travel deep into the Himalayas for different projects, braving altitude sickness and often dangerous driving conditions on National Highway 22, sometimes for 12-14 hours. It was absolutely magical.
10. Favourite local delicacy?
Being a self-confessed foodie, I enjoy trying different cuisines and love rice based dishes generally with unholy quantities of coriander and lemon. I also love trying rare cheeses and champagnes.
11. What do you consider a must have carry-on essential?
My tablet, noise cancelling headphones and a bottle of water.
12. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Visiting museums, cooking for friends, gardening and playing with Lego, as well as construction simulator games on the Xbox.
13. If you could deliver a project anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I hope to be able to have at least one project in every major city in Europe. I am a few short. I would also love to design an eco-friendly skyscraper in Manhattan or Dubai (one can dream).
14. If you were a building what type would you be and why?
If I could be any building, I would love to be the first ever Lunar or Martian habitation pod or biodome and support vegetation and human development on extra-terrestrial land.