She still has no clue how they managed to make it happen, but Iris’s parents (a biologist and a pharmacist) successfully steered her into architecture. As a girl she liked drawing and dreamt of becoming a fashion designer. As she was also good at maths, architecture seemed an ideal combination of art and science.

‘I left Albania and went to university in Milan. There I realized I had never met or spoken to an architect in my life. I had no idea about the profession itself, about the complexity of architectural design, how it involves not only science but also culture, politics and social matters. And such hard struggles, too; so much of the architect’s work becomes invisible, and undervalued. What I loved about it was that it is mainly a rational endeavour. It’s beautiful to find solutions.’

Her master’s thesis, partly inspired by the experience of lockdown during the covid epidemic, proposed a residential tower consisting of small apartments with mobile walls. The residents can modify the size and layout of the spaces through their phones. It was specifically designed to fit the younger urban generation.

At ZJA she is taking her time to find out what kind of architect she wants to be. Her aim is to become an all-round architect, exploring parametric 3D modelling tools and graphics to enhance the storytelling qualities of architectural design.

‘I’m still young and finding my way. I can learn so much here and I think I also have lots to offer.’

She loves living in Amsterdam, because it is a compact and vibrant city with an international feel. In her spare time you can find her in the gym or in the city’s many parks and museums.