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Gensler Voices: Shirin Masoudi on Her Design Inspiration

This Q&A is part of a series of interviews with Gensler architects, designers, and others in the firm about their career journey, and the impact that design and architecture can have on our communities and the human experience. Here, we sit down with Shirin Masoudi, a designer in our Seattle office:

How can architecture and design make space that’s inclusive for everyone?

We can create inclusive spaces by prioritizing the understanding of diverse users’ experiences. By actively engaging with different communities and listening to their needs, we can create spaces that accommodate different abilities, cultures, and identities. Ultimately, inclusivity in design requires empathy, collaboration, and a commitment to creating environments where everyone not only feels comfortable and valued, but also deeply embraced and cherished.

How were you first introduced to architecture and design?

It traces back to my childhood in Esfahan, Iran, a city brimming with enchanting historical charm. Growing up surrounded by its breathtaking architecture, I was captivated by masterpieces that seemed to hold stories of the past while remaining timeless. These spaces weren’t merely buildings; they were vibrant reflections of culture, nature, and the heartbeat of the community. Each bridge, garden, bazaar, and palace was a warm embrace, weaving together the threads of history and humanity in a way that felt deeply personal and inviting. They were more than just structures; they were living connections to the soul of the city and its people.

What unique perspective and experience do you bring to Gensler?

Bringing a human-centered and sustainable approach to design, along with my multicultural background and dedication to community engagement, I bring a distinctive perspective to Gensler. Through my involvement in community impact and community engagement projects over the past six years, I’ve learned the value of giving back and fostering inclusivity in design. I believe that true inclusivity can only be achieved when there is diversity and inclusion in leadership, and I am committed to advocating for these principles within Gensler’s framework.

Where do you get your design inspiration from?

My design inspiration flows from actively engaging with diverse communities. Whether it’s going on walking tours with airport employees while working on SFO, speaking on a panel for BIPOC students interested in design, or brainstorming with a non-profit client, I’m constantly immersed in experiences that enrich my understanding of people’s needs and desires in their day-to-day lives. It’s the stories and perspectives of individuals that ignite my passion to design spaces that resonate with all.

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