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Profile: Haril A. Pandya AIA

Name: Haril A. Pandya AIA
Job title and company: Principal, CBT Architects
Degree(s): BS in Building Sciences; BArch
Professional interests: Repositioning, retail, (re)branding, and strategy

What are you working on now?
We are working on over 15 different multiscale corporate repositioning projects. Our goal is to increase the value of a building by transforming, rebranding, and repositioning it to compete in the current market. I am also creating a short film and getting ready for my band’s next gig.

How do you explain to your mom what you do for a living?
I don’t anymore; she still thinks I’m an “engineer.”

What inspired you today?
My staff.

What industry buzzword would you kill?
“Collaborative.” If people didn’t know how to do things together, we couldn’t get anything done. We are all inherently collaborative; it’s just a matter of how good [we are] at it.

When you’re working, do you discuss or exchange ideas with your colleagues
Every chance I get.

What are you reading?
Dan Brown, Inferno. I know, I know . . . cheesy.

Do you sketch by hand or digitally?
Both, but mostly mentally.

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?
Yes. Architecture is curious. As you grow into the profession, you either create architecture or enable architecture. Twenty years ago I didn’t quite see myself as a manager, strategist, principal, client connector, networker, contract negotiator, fee collector, speaker, board member, or even as a mentor. I was supposed to sit at a desk, head down, and design amazing things. But oddly enough, here I am. I am still actively involved in design, but not in the typical Howard Roark, Fountainhead way. I feel more complete as an architect.

Where is the field of architecture headed?
I think this notion of web-based “crowdsourced” design is an interesting one. Partly because design, as often taught in schools, is often a personal journey. But in the professional setting, it’s a group charette or team effort that tends to come up with solutions. The thought of the “team” expanding outside the office or even the profession to derive new and creative results is enticing.

Can design save the world?
Save it from what? Bad design? Not likely. But as a designer, it is important to be both creative and critical, observant and outlandish. It’s about achieving that balance.

What do you hope to contribute from your work?
Physical form that embodies thoughtfulness, artfulness, and timelessness.

Who or what deserves credit for your success?
My peers; colleagues; clients; and, of course, my family.

Your least favorite college class?
“Modernity.” A lot of “theoretical” pontificating for pontificating’s sake.

If you could give the you-of-10-years-ago advice, what would it be?
Take the big risks early; it’s much harder to afford them later.

Your favorite Boston-area structure?
The [Rose F. Kennedy] Greenway. It connects, it’s open, it creates community, and it’s the front and back door for so many neighborhoods in Boston.

Who would you like the BSA to interview next?
Kishore Varanasi from our office.

If you were on a late-night TV show, what would your 30-second plug be?
I tend to think big, think forward, think different, think quick.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say
Slow down and relax; nothing is that important.