Saira Akhtar


Saira combines her cross-disciplinary background with a passion for narrative and concept-driven design to create compelling architectural environments. She is currently a part of the team working on revitalizing the Narxoz University Campus in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Before joining HMA2, she worked at Davis Brody Bond on the design of a large new academic complex for New York University, focusing principally on the design of two experimental theatres for Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to that, she was engaged in designing high-end residential towers in New York City, Boston and Virginia at FXCollaborative. She has also worked on a range of typologies at Perkins Eastman including retail, senior living, and healthcare. 


Saira received a global education: living in the U.A.E, Pakistan and the U.K, connecting with people from culturally diverse backgrounds in differentiated milieus. She received her Master in Architecture degree from Cornell University, where she worked on various projects that have been exhibited at the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam, the Bibliowicz Gallery in Ithaca, and Battery Park in New York City, in recent years. Her design explorations first began during her undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge where she studied English while pursuing a special interest in literature and visual culture. Subsequently, she worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and later, as an editor of anthologies of design and visual culture at Oxford University Press. Her passion for telling the stories of designers to wider audiences led her to direct a series of documentaries on contemporary art and architecture. This experience significantly broadened her communication skills in effectively unpacking nuanced issues and telling the stories of stakeholders to audiences that are unfamiliar with their aspirations.

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