• Dorota Gocal Shares Her Experience as a Figurehead in the Architecture Industry

    The airport design and planning process is critical in determining a passenger’s total experience with their flights, from navigating through terminal buildings to locating runways. Dorota Gocal, a seasoned architect who continually prioritizes easiness for consumers with her designs, gives insight into architecture and her role in empowering women in the craft.

    Welcome aboard, Dorota. How do you make every passenger’s experience the most convenient when constructing an airport?

    I am fascinated with airport architecture, especially terminals, so I envision myself in passengers’ shoes to embrace their boarding experience. I understand the necessity of boarding the right terminal at the proper time, and the design of an airport is a crucial factor in that. As an immigrant from Europe, I have walked through many infrastructures and been confused, which is not ideal for anyone.

    Airports with a LEED certification must undergo sustainable design practices, meaning that the resulting edifice should be efficient regarding passenger satisfaction and environmental impact. The process consists of creating unique designs, reviewing those designs, determining the materials I have, and making executive decisions.

    How do you view yourself as a leader in the women’s architect community?

    I am currently working towards my PMP certification to propel my career as an architect with hopes of starting an MBA soon. I feel that I help advance the cause of women in architecture, invoking diversity. I admire Zaha Hadid as an example of a prominent female architect who led innovative projects during her career. She has influenced me, an immigrant from Europe, to represent the female population and support young women who desire to be architects.

    As a woman in architecture and a dignified member of Women in Architecture, I am committed to cultivating a more supportive and impartial environment for other women, as our gender is underrepresented in the industry. I aspire to advocate for women’s rights and opportunities in the workforce, making their voices heard and embracing inclusivity to leave a positive impact on the world.

    I have managed multinational and multicultural teams in a professional setting, stimulating effective communication while traversing differing time zones and cultural differences. I have personally mentored and tutored junior staff, equipping them with the knowledge to build comprehensive Revit models and manage them through the construction phase to demonstrate good leadership by example.

    One of my key accomplishments was my role as a senior design architect on the Noida International Airport project. I interacted with government agencies, consultants, and the internal design team to meet all regulations and international airport design standards. I coordinated multidisciplinary teams and was an active patron in engineering exercises that focused on optimizing design efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

    What are some strategies for managing multinational, multicultural teams?

    I am a “half-nomad,” having studied as an exchange student in Germany and the USA and worked in physical and remote positions in the USA, India, and Australia. The ability to communicate across global time zones is imperative to a project’s success, alongside building relationships with each team member, which is where cultural intelligence helps remediate ethnic hurdles. Empathy must be present so each member can feel understood and acknowledged.

    Adaptability and frequent communication are critical facets that come alongside being an architect while working remotely. I performed remote work from Poland while producing innovative designs for StudioHaus, a design studio that prioritizes aesthetically pleasing functional spaces. In this global interface management scenario, design thinking goes hand-in-hand with intercultural competence.

    About the Author

    Jean Ortiz is a professional architectural technician and visionary in the academic industry. She uses software like AutoCAD to scheme infrastructure projects and then aligns a construction crew with her blueprints, ensuring projects adhere to client requirements.

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