Career view: Alia Beyg, AQUA Architecture

Alia Beyg

We speak to Alia Beyg, design director, MD and founder of AQUA Architecture, and London Region RIBA Council member, about her successful career path.

When did you first become interested in architecture, and how did that influence you?

I think it is fair to say I have always been passionate about art and design. From a very early age I was constantly drawing, pretty much on anything I could find, and whilst at school I would try and implement creativity into everything I did, what started as designing class posters then transgressed into creating graphic novels, and even into designing clothes.

When I grew a little older, I decided to try and obtain some work experience in architecture, I felt I needed to see and do everything, and architecture for me, was a way to do this. Initially I found it near impossible to get work, it was during the recession and despite my best efforts, nobody seemed to be able to help. Eventually, things started to pick up and as time went on it became easier to run, and even lead on projects.

The next step in my career was chartership and after qualifying in both the UK and later in the Middle East, securing work placements was no longer an issue and the projects continued to grow and develop leading me to where I am today.

What work history has brought you to your current job?

I had clear expectations when setting up my company of what I wanted. Having worked on a variety of large-scale international projects alongside high-quality specialists that always provided the highest standard of work, I knew that providing the highest standards was imperative to meet and by extension, exceed client expectations with efficient execution and strategy.

Is there something about working on residential sector projects that is particularly challenging and rewarding?

My aspiration is to always create the best and most exciting experience for the end users, and residential design means you are creating the spaces that people live in, improving their quality of life, and quality of lifestyle. This is usually a combination of out of the box, unique thinking and innovative design ideas.

Do you have a typical day or week, and what sort of duties does your job entail?

One of my favourite aspects of what I do is the fact that everyday is different. This of course creates a never-ending juggling act between delivering exciting projects with my team, design team and coordination meetings, in addition to meeting old, new, and potential clients. However, this is what I love about it, working in an evolving environment allows me to be on the top of my game and makes doing the mundane admin work that little bit less boring.

How is the team at AQUA made up?

I think the key ingredients for a good team are creativity and inspiration. At AQUA, the team is made up of a group of architects, and assistant architects, who have design and visualization knowledge in addition to technical architects with intricate building technical knowledge. In our team we also have several technical review teams and architectural students – all of which are trained to follow the AQUA system.

Diversity and gender equality are big topics in construction right now – are they an issue in architecture?

For AQUA this has never and will never be an issue; the AQUA team has always been diverse – bringing unique ideas, input and talents to perfectly blend into the AQUA design structure.

What’s your favourite residential project to date?

Currently our main project is the most inspiring and exciting one yet. It is a high-quality residential building in Woking, with a focus on green biodiversity design. We can’t say too much but it’s in initial planning phases and aims to be a green environmental, sustainable residential and commercial development; designed with roof gardens and balconies for around 250 units.

And what about a dream project?

The concept of a dream project varies through a huge spectrum but one that immediately comes to mind is a parametric digital museum designed in an extravagant location, or a social community eco village project. I would also love to be involved in a project that provides homes for the homeless in Africa or Asia.