Programme: Architecture – BA

Year: 2016

Growing up in Kenya, Farhana Jiwa developed a desire to improve people’s quality of life through architecture. This lifelong aspiration led her to study Architecture – BA at Edinburgh College of Art. Since graduating last year, Farhana has gone on to work on a variety of projects as an Architectural Assistant.

Tell us about your time at ECA

Architecture has always appealed to me as a dynamic and ever-changing field that can address people’s needs while expressing a strong contextual ethos. Growing up in a less-developed country where the lack of quality infrastructure is an issue, I developed from a very young age, a desire to improve people’s quality of life, using architecture as my tool.

My undergraduate study at Edinburgh was a rich learning experience, with the city’s fabric being a strong inspiration for my creative endeavours. Being a part of this institution has allowed me to further appreciate the breadth and depth of architecture whilst simultaneously understanding how the field bridges a myriad of disciplines, from construction and history, to philosophy and the environment. During my course, I was fortunate to be a part of Mood, Mobility, Place; a health and well-being funded research project aimed at sensitive design solutions for the elderly community. By working in an interdisciplinary relationship with Landscape Architects, I developed a masterplan and building design for the Orkney community to create an age-friendly environment. My active participation in such projects has allowed me to critically engage in architectural discourse through design, research and creative thinking in order to conceive proposals that provide opportunities to their users.

My years at Edinburgh were truly memorable and I certainly feel that I’ve grown in many ways. The life-long friends, spontaneous adventures and beautiful city are some of the things I will always cherish.

"My undergraduate study at Edinburgh was a rich learning experience, with the city’s fabric being a strong inspiration for my creative endeavours. Being a part of this institution has allowed me to further appreciate the breadth and depth of architecture whilst simultaneously understanding how the field bridges a myriad of disciplines"

Farhana Jiwa, 2016 Architecture - BA alumna

Tell us about your experiences since leaving

My engagement in various projects at the University equipped me with a wide skill set which I’ve been able to apply in the work and practice environment. Coupled with my participation in a range of interdisciplinary relationships, I have had the opportunity to work both individually and as part of a team. In doing so, I have been able to explore the interplay between function, style, materiality and sustainability, some of the central components of architecture. Furthermore, I have been to increase my awareness and better understand the architect’s role in professional practice.

My role as an Architectural Assistant at ADAM Architecture – a leading practice specialising in traditional architecture and contextual urban design – has involved a myriad of work on protected and listed buildings. My experience working on a variety of renowned projects has taught me the importance of historic and cultural preservation. Moreover, my involvements in commercial, residential and educational projects have broadened my architectural awareness while cultivating my teamwork, creativity and problem-solving skills.

Converging Perspectives Reclaiming life through Connection
Image by Farhana Jiwa
Converging Perspectives Reclaiming life through Connection
Tectonics - The Sonic Environment
Image by Farhana Jiwa
Tectonics - The Sonic Environment

Alumni wisdom

Get Involved and try something new. The University has so much to offer and it’s a great way to meet new people! Work hard and keep going – things won’t always go as you’d like so be patient and persevere. Stay energised and make sure you get enough rest! Go travel, experience the city and visit some buildings - there’s so much to see! Most of all, enjoy every bit of it. It’s an incredible experience!

What have you been doing since graduation? Whether it was last year or 50 years ago, we want to hear about it! Get in touch to share your story on ecaalumni@ed.ac.uk.


Are you interested in studying Architecture - BA/MA at Edinburgh College of Art?

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