HMFH is committed to sharing our expertise with the next generation of architects. For the next installment of our series highlighting the work they do with us in internships and co-op experiences, we’d like to introduce Soha Mohammed-Eltaher, a third-year architecture student at Northeastern University who joined us on co-op this year.
Soha joined us at the start of the year, giving her the unique experience of spending part of her co-op in the office and part working remotely from home. Prior to this transition, she rolled up her sleeves with the Chapman Middle School design team to model and test perforation patterns for metal sun shades that will achieve the ideal balance of natural light in the new classrooms. Soha built a physical model of the new front entrance, where perforation patterns are used to strengthen the school’s identity by depicting a portrait of its namesake: Maria Weston Chapman, a prominent anti-slavery activist from Weymouth. She’s continued to help project teams showcase design plans through digital 3D modeling, helping to create compelling graphics of the lightwells and classroom pods at the new Saugus Middle/High School.
We checked in with Soha to ask her a bit more about her experiences, background, and plans for the future.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised for 14 years in Houston, Texas. Then I moved overseas to Doha, Qatar to be closer to family in Egypt.
When did you know you wanted to be an architect?
Almost everyone on my father’s side were engineers and also great artists, and I had planned to be one of them. But then my generation branched off into the art of architecture and fell in love. All my cousins on that side were on the path to becoming architects, and I knew I wanted to follow. I love the ability to not only build something, but to also design it in a way to benefit the society around you. To me, architecture is about shelter, but also giving back to the community—and that is what I love about it.
What has been your favorite experience at HMFH?
Within my first couple of weeks, I attended a Chapman Middle School design review. It was great to see everyone from the firm—not just the project team—giving their input to improve the design with fresh eyes. It made me realize how much HMFH values collaboration and rigorous iterations of work to develop the project.
What is something you’ve learned about architecture here?
I have learned a lot already about the phases of a project and useful codes to remember, and I am continuing to learn. But I think in the bigger picture of things, I’ve learned that you are never alone in this process. Not only you as a person, but even the firm is not alone in figuring everything out. I never realized how much the consultants really contribute to the development of projects. They put in a lot of time to help us understand if something works or not and what the best strategies are.
What’s next for you?
I have to finish school now! I need to apply what I’ve learned here to my schoolwork, because I’m no longer just a student in theoretical classes. I plan to combine my studies and work experiences to grow into a successful architect. And later on, more experience will come that will allow me to learn more throughout my professional career as well.
Do you have any advice for fellow future-architects?
Education never ends. The best architects thrive on continuing education.
We thank Soha for her time and contributions this year and wish her the best on her path to becoming an architect.