April 7, 2023

Brianna Tsatskin

School Year
3+ year (between 4th and 5th year)

Architecture + Biomimicry MS

Why’d you join AIAS?
I believe in the importance of giving back to my community and especially to the students and designers I have become close with over my professional and academic career. My favorite thing that I have been able to do as a result of AIAS is not only build connections of my own but help connect others to professionals and get their foot in the door of places that they want to be.

What national event or programming do like the most?
AIAS Grassroots, without a question! I have been to three Grassroots conferences and every time I come away inspired and motivated to make a difference.

How has joining AIAS benefitted you?
As I mentioned, I have made countless connections as a result of my involvement with AIAS. Not to mention, one of my co-leaders on our ASU 2014 Executive Board team became my best friend, a bridesmaid in my wedding, and now coworker at my dream job!

How has AIAS impacted your school?
It has shown students what is possible in the profession and how to get the most out of schooling. We have offered resources on licensure, professional development, portfolio reviews and more that have very tangible benefits for students.

What inspires you in studio?
My bachelor’s degree was in Sustainability and I am currently working on a concurrent M.Arch and Biomimicry MS program. What inspires me is anytime I can marry all of these passions into my projects and make sustainability at the forefront, and not just an afterthought. And it is a lot of fun teaching my colleagues about biomimicry for those that are unfamiliar.

How are you going to use your architectural skills/knowledge outside of the classroom?
My goals are to graduate with my dual programs, work and become licensed and eventually return to academia to get my doctorate with a focus on the intersection between sustainability, biomimicry and architecture. Ultimately, I hope to become a faculty and researcher at a university and the basis to making this possible is gaining the architectural skills that I am now.

If you were an architectural style which would you be?
Art Nouveau with a modern spin and emphasis on green building systems. It was one of the beginning movements to emphasize the importance of using nature’s logic and this is one of the basic principles of biomimicry.

What’s your hot take on the architecture industry?
As a person with bipolar disorder, I have suffered greatly in the past as a result of toxic studio culture and the belief that architects should suffer for their art. However, I am optimistic that this attitude is changing due to the prevalence of mental health resources on college campuses, literature demonstrating warning signs for students in crisis and even AIAS’s task force on mental health and well-being. I hope to see this continue into the profession as well.