Yeshi, owner and architect of IDYA Designs, shares the joys of her work and social impact she wants create as an architect.
For the past month, Women LEAD has been raising money to redesign our office. The new space, which more than doubles the current space we have, was designed by Yeshi Shrestha, owner and architect of IDYA Designs. We recently caught up with Yeshi and asked her about her work.
What inspired you to become an architect?
Growing up, the idea about space and design was really interesting to me, so one of my cousins suggested I study engineering. I researched the subject and in Nepal people often get confused between architecture and engineering. After my research, I saw that there is huge potential for development [in design] and I want to bring change in my country by using designs and architecture.
What do you think about the status of women and girls in Nepal today?
We live in a patriarchal society [in Nepal] but I am fortunate enough that people in my life have supported the decisions that I have made and I can challenge the norms and taboos of this society. On the brighter side, I also see improvements for women in Nepal. Women are fighting now; they have more knowledge about their rights and how to tackle them. The best part is men are equally supporting women and helping them to rise and that is great.
What has been one of the most rewarding experiences that you have had in your career?
There are so many, so it’s really hard to pick one. If I had to say one thing, it would be that when I deal with my clients, I make sure to know them first. For example, I knew a family who lived in a really poor environment. The design I created for them helped them to have a better life, and knowing that my work has given someone a better outcome—when my clients are satisfied—is a reward in itself and it’s so empowering that all I have to do give my best.
Who has helped you get to where you are today in your career?
If I had to pick one person it would be my mentor. I have learnt a lot from him and I have worked with him in few projects. He was always guiding me and helping me, and what he used to say is that “if I teach you and you teach someone else, then that is best way to repay me.”
What has been one of the best projects that you’ve had a chance to work on? Why?
I worked on a boutique project where I worked on each and every detail. I gave this project my all and it brought out the best in me. Another project that was great to work on was the Women LEAD office design. The empowerment that Women LEAD has given me is unbeatable. This project is in its initial stage right now, but I’m excited to see it completed.
Why did you want to work with Women LEAD? What excites you about our work?
I wish I had had an opportunity like [Women LEAD] growing up because I struggled being outspoken. I personally told my cousins to join Women LEAD because it is so great. When I first visited the office and learned about what Women LEAD does, helping young girls, I felt that a team like Women LEAD deserves a much better space where more girls can be trained and become leaders. So I am doing my best to help.
What is your favorite new feature of the Women LEAD design?
My favorite place [in the new design] is the courtyard. I always love the connection between nature and your working place. In the Women LEAD office, there are many great spaces but somehow they were not connected. Now we are going to have skylight, creepers and make it more bright and lovely.
What architectural changes would you like to see in Nepal after ten years?
I would like to see more green technology in very affordable rate, because now the trend is whatever looks good, green and is of quality everything is very expensive and comes with huge price tag and I want to break that. Amazing things don’t always need to be expensive. We can find solution here. We have so many resources here in our country when I started off in architecture I had in mind to imitate more but then I realized you should take your heritage as the idea and never forget about where you belong to. When you will create something amazing from yourself then it inspires others so yes I would like to see more green and people bringing out best from themselves in architectural sector.
What advice would you like to give to young, aspiring women architects?
You have every power to do what your heart wants and tackle every obstacle. Never let your society or anyone bring you down. Once you follow what your heart wants, money will follow you. Follow what you’re passionate about, what you do, and believe in yourself, whatever you do give your best into it.