Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs: Vienna meets New York

Eva Blsakova had a transformative collaboration with Parsa Khalili during her exchange in New York, gaining valuable insights and expanding her knowledge in the dynamic field of architecture and design.

Eva Blsakova und Parsa Khalili gemeinsam in einem Büro
© Eva Blsakova und Parsa Khalili

Who am I? My name is Eva, I'm an Architectural Designer with over a decade of experience in crafting cutting-edge architectural projects.  

I hold a Master of Architecture degree from The University of Applied Arts Vienna (Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien), where I was trained in parametric design under Prof. Zaha Hadid. Moreover, I received a FabDiplom - digital fabrication certificate from FabLab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. After receiving my degree I gained professional experience in diverse architectural offices such as Coop Himmelb(l)au, DMAA, GRD, SYNArchitecture, Bollinger+Grohmann, Noumena,... I've contributed to the design and communication of many international projects. I'm also a former member of Design Morphine.  

Currently, I'm running my own practice, where I curate architectural design concepts. Alongside this, I've developed an online eLearning platform arx.ace, a dedicated digital architecture education center. My core strengths lie in creativity, innovation, communication, and collaboration, proficient in various 2D and 3D tools, and I excel in producing high-quality visuals, presentations, and publications. Passionate about diversity, sustainability, and social impact, I aim to create designs that enhance the quality of life for users and communities in balance with nature and our environment. 

Launching the initiation of my architectural design career and aiming to enrich my expertise, broaden my horizons in the field, and extend my professional network, I actively pursued international exchange opportunities. The EYE Program appeared as the ideal platform for a customized and mentor-guided exchange in the realm of architecture. Throughout the program, I am excited about exploring the diverse landscape of education, academia, innovation, and sustainability in the United States, especially in New York, gaining insights, and forging connections in these dynamic fields.

Who is my host? Parsa Khalili, an architect and educator, served as the host entrepreneur and my mentor in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program. Co-founder of Karpf Khalili Architects, Parsa has a rich background, including experiences with renowned architectural firms such as Richard Meier & Partners, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Eisenman Architects, and Coop Himmelb(l)au. He established Wazeone, an experimental studio for developing architectural ideas, and has held teaching positions at prestigious institutions like Princeton School of Architecture and Yale School of Architecture. 

Parsa Khalili is a licensed architect in New York, recognized for his contributions to the field and awarded prestigious fellowships and grants. With a commitment to purposeful architecture, Karpf Khalili Architects streamlines the design process while addressing contemporary issues like density, sustainability, and public space.  

This exchange under the EYE Global program not only facilitated a skill exchange but also contributed to the broader goal of supporting and empowering young professionals in the architectural and design domain. 

The program started with a first Kick-Off intro meeting led by both partners at Karpf Khalili Architects, familiarizing myself with office methodologies, safety measures, and responsibilities while also updating my pitch deck presentation and business plan. Collaborating closely with the host entrepreneur, we formulated a strategic plan for engaging potential partners in the NY architecture and design scene, emphasizing collaboration with academic institutions. Research activities included exploring the utilization of AI tools in the creative industries. I actively participated in architectural and design projects, navigating legal obligations and attending client meetings alongside the host entrepreneur. Visits to local universities like Pratt, Cooper Union, and MIT, as well as participation in final project reviews at UPENN, expanded my academic and professional network. The host entrepreneur provided valuable feedback on the progress of the digital platform business plan, contributing to ongoing refinements. A trip to Los Angeles allowed visits to local architecture universities such as UCLA and SciArch, enhancing exposure to diverse perspectives. The exchange concluded with discussions between the host entrepreneur and me, exploring the feasibility of adapting to prolonged adjustments in business regulations and market dynamics. This forward-looking analysis aimed to identify potential opportunities and challenges for long-term adaptation, contributing to a comprehensive progress report for the EYE Global program. 

The EYE Global exchange program has proven to be a highly enriching experience providing not only a unique architectural perspective. Actively participating in critiquing student projects and discussing business strategies deepened my understanding of both architecture and entrepreneurship. This program has been invaluable, offering a comprehensive view of architectural practice and business dynamics. This exchange explores education, academia, innovation, and sustainability in the US, aligning with our commitment to purposeful architecture and design. 

Throughout my EYE Global exchange program, I've immersed myself in the architectural design industry of New York, gaining insights into both entrepreneurship and the intricate details of architectural practice. Direct interactions and observations at my host entrepreneur's firm broadened my entrepreneurial perspective and sharpened my attention to architectural details. Engaging with prestigious universities like UPENN, MIT, Pratt, UCLA, and SciArch expanded my academic knowledge and overall learning and networking experience. Actively participating in critiquing student projects and discussing business strategies deepened my understanding of architecture and entrepreneurship, its transitions of practice and academia. This program has been invaluable, providing a comprehensive view of architectural practice, business dynamics, and exploration of education, academia, innovation, and sustainability in the US.

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