Words: MASONRY DESIGN Magazine
Photos: Pramit Khatri
Editor’s Note: In this month’s installment of this series, we had the opportunity to chat with Pramit Khatri. Pramit is a freshman architecture student at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is excited to see what his future classes have in store for him. We want to thank Pramit for taking the time to talk with us.
MASONRY DESIGN: To get started, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Pramit Khatri: My name is Pramit Khatri. I am a first-year student at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). I just finished my first semester and started my second. I am originally from New Jersey and NJIT just seemed like the perfect place for me to go because their architectural program is designed in a way that it focuses on two aspects. Technology, since it is a tech school, and also on the design aspect. It’s also 15 minutes away from New York City, so that was perfect. The first semester went well, I had great critiques and the second semester just started. I just finished my first project yesterday and that was fun.
M.D.: Tell us about that project.
P.K.: We are starting to learn more about different materials and how they can perform. So for this project, we designed three main models, which we explored further. We used different materials. I used wooden skewers and sticks creating this system with plastic rubber bands connecting them. Other people used tooth flossers, popsicle sticks, straws, paper clips, and other random objects and developed them into a unit by connecting them and created an entire system around it.
So that was very interesting because we learned how each material performs. In this project we focused on three main things: the behavior of the material, the performance- how it can perform being in a system, and lastly we focused on the appearance or feeling that it gives.
M.D.: Very cool! So what made you interested in architecture and design and technology?
P.K.: I think ever since I can remember I was always really interested in art and as I grew up, I discovered robotics. In high school, I focused mainly on art and robotics. Architecture seemed like the perfect blend between the two because it combines the aspects of art in a more practical sense in terms of how robotics and engineering are.
M.D.: That’s awesome that you stuck with it. What is going to keep you motivated to continue on that path?
P.K.: I would say the thing that motivates me a lot is designing for the future. As we all know, the world is changing. For example, the polar vortex, that is not common, and things like that are occurring quite often in the world that we live in today because of climate change and other factors. So, my goal is to use architecture as a tool to design and build environments that can be sustainable and be practical for the changing climatic factors that we are facing right now. I hope to help positively affect the way that we live and the emotional connections that people make with a particular space.
M.D.: That is so interesting! What classes are you looking forward to taking?
P.K.: Since NJIT is a tech school, we are required to take a certain number of CORE classes such as calculus and some certain math like statistics and computer science. But, in terms of architecture, I’m planning on taking some sustainability classes that are in the second and third year and construction classes, which focus more on materials and how structures are put together.
I am also taking a construction management class this semester. It is different than architecture because it focuses more on what contractors and people working on the actual jobsite are going through rather than from the architecture perspective. It is good to understand the other side of the wall or panel and get a different view on how things are done.
M.D.: Are you involved in AIAS? Tell us about your experience in the organization.
P.K.: Our school has a pretty large AIAS chapter. There are, I would say, more than fifty members and there are twenty-six people on the board itself.
P.K.: The AIAS does three things. We have a print room, which prints large posters and boards for students. It is a paid service so that is how we generate funds for the organization. There is a 3D lab, which is pretty much 3D printing, and there’s a little shop where we sell some materials and some snacks. That is another way to generate revenue for the organization. I mostly work in the print room.
The AIAS also does other things in the community. There is a design program called Kits for Kids that helps teach young high school students about architecture and introduces them to the field, and the general things that we learn in school (the very basics of it.) We go to schools in and near Newark and teach kids about that on Fridays.
M.D.: That’s great. Do you have a role in your school’s AIAS chapter?
P.K.: No specific role, no. I am a first-year student and some members have been in the club for almost five years now. Some have even been in the club for more and they are grad students. But I plan on serving and having a role in the club. We have an interest meeting right now, coming up, so I will be going to that and would love to do that.
M.D.: Have you had any internships or apprenticeships in your field?
P.K: I intern right now at an architecture firm from my hometown in Milburn, New Jersey. The firm is called Studio 1200. I am a junior intern right now, but it is pretty good in terms of getting a general idea of how architecture is in an office instead of in a school. I started doing that during the end of my senior year of high school, I carried on throughout the summer and I’m still doing that once or twice a week.
M.D.: Very cool. It is rare that you hear of first-year students getting internships, it’s admirable that you have one. Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?
P.K.: That is a good question! I would say professionally, and I would like to work for a firm in five to ten years. A large firm that focuses heavily on sustainable design, because that’s something I am passionate about. It would be interesting to follow through on. I may even teach! It is pretty rewarding. I do Kits for Kids, the program that I just mentioned from AIAS, we teach other students, and it is pretty great!