Nadeem Mahran earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Alexandria University, Egypt, in 2017, a Master of Architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL, in 2019, and professional certification from Salesforce in 2021. He is recognized by,

AIA Pennsylvania Emerging Professionals Committee (EPiC);

    • For winning the 2022-2023 AIA PA Regional Associate Director (RAD) board elections.
    • For receiving the 2021 AIA PA Paula Maynes Architect Registration Examination (ARE) grant for his professional leadership, contribution, and dedication to architecture.

AIAS Chicago; For liaising with international students on the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) path to architectural licensure and tripling local chapter’s growth.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago; For obtaining three-time merit & academic scholarship recipient status in consecutive annual reviews.

DesignMorphine; For winning the Best User Experience Portfolio (UX) full-tuition award, selected among 40+ candidates.

Business development and design thinking are my true passions. Rendering ideas is my calling. Empowering teams and clients to optimize their projects provides me with enormous gratification.

I am an emerging architect, a Salesforce certified professional, and a philanthropist. I advocate multifaceted approaches to sustainable design and inclusive civic systems. As a trained design thinker, I learned to surround myself with proactive leaders with transferable skills who inspire me to learn and give back constantly. As a result, I am honored to be an active member of the American Institute of Architects, the Salesforce ecosystem, the Talent Stacker community, and the non-profit space.

I am bilingual, binational, with diverse experiences; I hold common social backgrounds between the East and the West and continue acquiring credentials to equip myself with the knowledge to address present societal issues and facilitate design conversations across borders.

I help non-profits and architects identify their narratives, market their campaigns, and develop business operations. As a social advocate, I emphasize civil research and client relationship management to optimize design methodologies for inspiring joy and uplifting lives. I aspire to extend my duality of expertise to aid architects and stakeholders in streamlining their back-end business processes.

Having lived amid the Great Recession and graduated from university during the Covid-19 economy, I witnessed ‘standard’ career paths run the risk of obsolescence, while ‘alternative’ ones prove more relevant socially and economically; I learned that the economy rolls up the fiscal hierarchy and hardly trickles down. Namely, innovation drives success, whereas tried-and-true practices often flirt with stagnation.

Design’s true nature is disruption. In this time of calamity, mainly vocal, committed, and enthusiastic professionals possessing heightened inquiry skills and communication capacities are the ones to lead this disruption for the chance to a better reality. In my nine years of practice to date, I recognized a growing disconnect between intricate designs developed by architects and their antiquated tools of managing and concluding projects.

Inevitably, responsive, diligent professionals with adaptable approaches will effect change in how the profession has operated for decades; those who remain agile will continue to prosper and broaden the significance of the architect within ever-changing environments and technologies.

The future is always an investment. The key is acknowledging this character as the future of our profession, where all jobs will benefit from a trained designer’s thinking like that of the late Paula Maynes, AIA, whose legacy of mentorship and creativity has left an indelible impact on the architecture community.

Q & A 

What sparked your interest in becoming an architect? As an architect, I can be both a generalist and a specialist; thus, I will neither be lost in mere theories nor constrained by practical issues. Therefore, I can apply professional and academic knowledge in tandem. This outlook piqued my interest in architecture, to acquire diverse skills while building professional expertise.

How has your experience training to be an architect in the office/field (AXP experience) served you in your volunteer and community service? I got to expand on the analytical skills that I acquired during my architectural education and target a niche in public-facing designs and solutions for investors and stakeholders.

Why is it important for emerging professionals to get involved in their communities and give back? People skills are inseparable from what clients look for in an architect. Getting involved with local communities at an early career stage provides young professionals exponential insight and practical value.

How did you get involved in the AIA and how has your involvement enhanced your professional development? Peter Exley, FAIA, and Hennie Reynders, Ph.D., my past teachers, and lifetime mentors, taught me plenty about professional representation and storytelling. I was first involved with the AIA community as the AIAS international students’ liaison at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As a result, I got to boost my leadership and innovative skills.

How do you balance volunteer, professional, and personal time? I set a strict but manageable schedule. I look at what I can bring to the table to analyze and identify transferrable skills. That way, my entire experience is wholesome and enjoyable.

Why is licensure important to you? Licensure is a critical differentiator in our profession. It augments professionals’ expertise with honor and recognition and equips design thinkers with the privilege of building a better world.

What type of advice would you offer to young professionals or even younger people considering going into architecture as a field of study/career pursuit? From my experience, there are two routes students can choose from when considering architecture or transitioning from academia to practice. The first is setting a clear goal of acquiring licensure and building the technical skills required to navigate to such a sizable goal. The second is to develop theoretical knowledge and teaching aptitude as there is great potential in architectural academia.

What would you say to those young professionals in the architecture field that are on the fence about joining AIAS or AIA? As a trained design thinker, I learned to surround myself with proactive experts with transferable skills who inspire me to learn and give back constantly. As a result, I became equipped with invaluable skills and profound insight into original initiatives by liaising with AIA and AIAS leaders.

How have you found value in membership? The virtual HSW courses played an integral role in Continuing Education during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What architecture blog, website, or source of inspiration do you regularly follow? Matt Risinger’s risingerbuild.com, Eric Reinholdt’s thirtybyforty.com, and entrearchitect.com

What is the one building that you just had to see for yourself or would one day like to see in person? Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

In your “spare time” do you pursue any interesting hobbies or extracurricular pursuits? I play basketball to raise funds and awareness for philanthropic issues in my spare time. I also volunteer as a Salesforce consultant for nonprofits that need to establish technological solutions to their existing business processes and requirements.

What role has mentorship played in your professional development so far? Throughout my graduate studies and beyond, I learned to stay socially proactive and treat my career as a business that needs to remain relevant and agile.

Any advice for those looking to get the most out of their mentorship opportunities? Be open about your goals with your mentors. They were young emerging professionals at some point and would love nothing more than to share their experiences and advice when asked the right questions.