BEIRUT: From Beirut, all the way to New York, Garine Boghossian has traveled around the globe to work on several architectural and urban design projects.
Boghossian has graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor of Architecture degree and a minor in art history. She embarked on her journey in the architecture and urban design field with Bernard Khoury, a well-known Lebanese architect. After working on a couple of projects in Lebanon, Boghossian decided to pursue her post-professional degree in architecture and urbanism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she also worked as a teaching and research assistant.
“I traveled around the world as a student and as a teaching assistant. I learned a lot about urbanization in different parts of the world such as Beijing, Bogota, Katowice, and Moscow,” said Boghossian. “It was really interesting for me to see how these different cities from around the world have similar urban issues but in different contexts.”
Boghossian also had the opportunity to teach architecture and urban design studios at Northeastern University and the Boston Architectural College.
“It was a gratifying experience to work with students, push their ideas forward, and work with them to develop their projects,” Boghossian told Annahar.
Following her teaching experience, Boghossian moved to New York, the city which she describes as “diverse” and “center of everything." She is currently working at the design firm ORG Permanent Modernity. Boghossian’s professional work includes large-scale urban and regional planning projects worldwide.
“I’m working on a national physical plan for the government of Malawi and this is a great process to learn how things happen at a governmental level and how you plan on a national scale,” she said.
Her collaboration with Design Earth was recently featured at the Venice Biennale 2018, as part of the US Pavilion Dimensions of Citizenship.
Boghossian has pointed out that the field of architecture and urban design lacks female representation and is more of a male-dominant field. Although this sets a challenge to her, Boghossian makes sure her thoughts are voiced properly.
“The decision-making process of urban design lacks female representation,” said Boghossian. “Sometimes, it can be challenging to be sitting at a table which has one type of representation, whether gender, class or other. In such situations, I need to make an extra effort to make sure the ideas I stand by, carry through.”
However, according to Boghossian, this field is witnessing more female architects opening their practices because people are seeing a certain value in hiring female employees.
“As women architects and urban designers who have been systematically excluded throughout history, I believe it is our responsibility to make sure other minority groups don’t feel excluded as well,” Boghossian said.
Boghossian also believes that architecture and urban design projects are often used by the state, government, and the private sector to propagate a certain utopic positive image of the future. These images, however, don’t reflect the economic and environmental reality of the projects.
“It’s our responsibility as architects and urban designers towards our built-in environment and the society at large to represent these projects as they are, and not fall into the trap of false promises that only favor a few,” Boghossian told Annahar.
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