July 15, 2021

Primaverarch Speaks with Nebia Zeroual on Reaching People Through Architecture

Primaverarch has published a new Q+A feature with our Nebia Zeroual who speaks on her career, recent project work and the importance of reaching people through architecture.

Nebia is a full-time project designer working out of our New York City office with focus in the higher education market. During her time with CannonDesign, she’s worked on dynamic projects for Boston College, Suffolk University, Tufts University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and more, while also assisting on a Brigham and Women’s Health Care Center medical office building.

As an organization and online blog committed to stimulating positive change for the recognition of women in the architectural profession, Primaverarch regularly publishes Q+A features with women from all different corners of the design world. Nebia’s full piece is online and below are brief excerpts:

What inspired you to pursue a career in architecture?

I have always been drawn to aesthetics. Walking into a space and being drawn to it is has always been one of my favorite experiences, and, little by little, I realized it wasn’t only about how appealing a space was, but also about, how it helped people within it in their daily lives, and how it creates an environment conducive to wellbeing.

In this way, I realized architects affect people’s lives directly, and I found that to be incredibly appealing when thinking about what I wanted to be doing with my life. In many ways, I thought I wanted to be an engineer, but designing spaces to create tangible well-being for people was just so much more fulfilling for me personally.

What is your favorite project, so far, that you’ve participated in at CannonDesign? Why?

My favorite project to work on to date is the Boston College Margot Connell Recreation Center. It was one of the largest projects I’ve ever helped shape and its development proved fascinating on so many levels. I joined the project during construction, so I wasn’t really part of the design team, but I learned so much by visiting the site each week and watching how the building came together. It was incredible to see how true to the client the building came to be, and that was just the cherry on top of an incredible process.

What advice do you have for the future generations of aspiring architects?

I think being an architect is super easy to romanticize. But the reality is, you’re going to have days in your career when you spend hours just making sure a bathroom will work and meets code. I’m sure this isn’t something those going into architecture want to do…but it’s an important part of the job. I encourage aspiring architects to fall in love with those moments just as much as the big design ideas and complex buildings.

No matter how mundane a specific task may be, never lose sight of the fact that our job — and how well we do it — shapes people’s lives. If that bathroom isn’t up to code, no one will be able to use it. A child might have an accident, a mother might have to take the child home rather than stay for the appointment. This is an extreme example, but it shows that every detail can and does matter on a human level. Don’t forget that.