Natasya Jasmin: Blindfolded In Architecture (Part 2 Of 10)

Continuing from the Architecture or Archi-torture series, the next nine parts of the story will look at the different perspectives of the life of architecture students. The story will consist of reflections and thoughts from nine creative, passionate and unique individuals who went through the ups and downs of the so-called archi-torture life. And the person whose stories I would like to share with you is Natasya Jasmin. Natasya was the first person that I befriended at Taylor’s University and also a very close architecture studio mate of mine. Moreover, her story is extraordinary and eye-opening, she describes it as her blindfolded journey through architecture. With passion as her motivation, she set out to the harshness of the real world.

A photo of Natasya looking over her architectural works.
Natasya Jasmin in the architecture studio, proudly looking over her final end product for the first-semester project, after presenting to the lecturers for review.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

Natasya Jasmin, And Her World Of Passion And Inspirations

When we reach the end of secondary school, we begin a journey of putting one foot out into the real world and pursuing what we want to do in life. But the world is full of eyes that stare and judge, whilst we are blindfolded. We are unaware of what lies beyond. We are enthusiastic but naïve, innocent but ignorant of the real-life challenges ahead. So that is why we experience the good and the bad, and learn from them.

“Passion led us here.”

Ian scheneider, Photographer on usplash

From a young age, Natasya was intrigued by the aesthetic and pleasant views that architecture produces. But she didn’t really understand why she loves it until she dived into the world of architecture itself. One of the greatest sparks that pushed her to the world of architecture was computer and video games. She had a fondness for games that have breathtaking and cinematic visuals of architecture. One of the games that she played since young until now is The Sims, where you have the flexibility and freedom to build your own house and have a virtual family live in it. Other than the Sims, she also gets her inspirations from another game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, with breathtaking visuals of architectural ruins.

A screenshot of the Sims 4 games that she played since young, which inspired her passion.
A screenshot of the life simulation game, Sims 4, that Natasya played since young, which inspired her passion for architecture.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

Reflecting On Her Life As An Architecture Student After Graduating

It wasn’t a smooth sailing journey for Natasya on her architecture pursuit. She doesn’t like the idea of working 24/7 with deadlines. It is a rat race for the truly strong and determined. For Natasya however, no matter how much she dislikes the memories and the harshness of the experiences, she admits that it had taught her a lot about design. She graduated from Taylor’s University in 2020 and had never been more grateful for her lecturers’ cinematical approach, thinking and love for knowledge. Consequently, it spurred her to be where she is now.

A picture of Natasya smiling at the camera with apartment buildings at the back.
Natasya with her bright smile and wearing one of her favourite colours, yellow. She would travel to many places to gain exposure and knowledge on architecture.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

“I don’t regret it [architecture]. I like it really because it helps me to see value in every single thing I do in life. Everything must have a reason and purpose.”

Natasya jasmin, architectural graduate from taylor’s university

1. The Intensity Of Architecture Vs Natasya Jasmin

Architectural work is intense and keeps you preoccupied. One of the many jokes amongst architects is that they are too busy to date… isn’t that right, Natasya? I mean, this doesn’t apply to all, of course! Being busy 24/7 with work causes pain to one’s body that no one would like to endure. Natasya mentioned that if she was a robot, she would love the drill.

A photo of Natasya Jasmin lying on the floor on top of a blanket, getting ready to spend the night in the architecture studio.
Natasya getting comfortable for a sleepover at the architecture studio to finish up group work but ended up staying up the whole night to prepare for the next day’s presentation.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

“Everything must have a reason. Even that single line with different thickness must have a solid reason.”

natasya jasmin

Architecture relates a lot to justifications and reasonings. Because of that, the architecture course assesses you fully from your attendance, progress and final product. It all depends on how we manage to persuade our clients (lecturers) and audiences to give a nod or thumbs up to our design proposal. That is why architecture is a subjective course where there is no right or wrong answer, but instead, how can you justify your answer to be the right one.

2. Natasya’s Values For Interaction And Creating New Relationships

Natasya was always interested in going out and interact with people, places and things. For me, I had always known her as a social butterfly who always invited me to places. She loves going to the city for talks, art visits, movies or to meet friends. To begin with, she wasn’t socially active from young and had little exposure to the outside world. But as she set out on this architecture journey, she came across many people that inspired her little world. So it became one of her values to always find ways to improve her architecture knowledge and social skills by being out there. And one of the memorable ways for Natasya to achieve this goal was by participating in architectural competitions.

A photo of Natasya and her team members during one of the competitions she participated in.
One of the competitions Natasya was privileged to participate in with some enthusiastic architecture students, namely the University Technology Petronas‘ ” Design Your Own Student Hub Competition” in 2017. Starting from left, Lim Joe Onn, Christal Wong Ching Ling, Natasya Jasmin and Darshini Vig.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

3. Finding A Place To Breathe Outside The Studio

A photo of one of the sketching activity she attended with Kuala Lumpur Urban Sketchers.
One of the sketching outings that Natasya (navy blue headscarf) participated in with Kuala Lumpur Urban Sketchers, held at Suria KLCC. Surrounded by many different people with the aim to learn and interact through sketching.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

But being stuck inside a freezing and poorly ventilated studio 24/7, Natasya needed to find places where she can escape to and breathe. A place where she can meet and interact with people from different backgrounds to gain different insights. Architecture is always about the people, and when you understand the views from different people with different perspectives, you start to be more sensitive to your surroundings. Hence for architecture students, this allows them to naturally put more care into their design. So Natasya participated in a community group activity called Kuala Lumpur Urban Sketchers, where groups of sketch enthusiasts get together and visit a part of the city and sketch live on the spot. This experience was just one those that had helped boost her self-esteem and improved her social skills.

A photo of one of the sketches Natasya had drawn during her participation with KL Urban Sketchers.
One of the few sketches that Natasya had drawn during her sketching activity with Kuala Lumpur Urban Sketchers. It amazes me how a scene was re-created live on paper through the ink of a pen.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

“It’s not a rosy path, instead it’s a journey that pushes me to create.”

natasya jasmin

4. Natasya And Her Constant Hunt For Inspirations

Falling into depression is just one of the health impact that architecture students may experience. Natasya admitted that she fell into a rabbit hole filled with darkness and contemplations. One day, on her birthday to be exact, as she sat on the couch doubting herself, her parents gave her a slice of cake and wished her ‘Happy Birthday’ at the stroke of midnight. Feeling grateful for her parents’ continuous care and follow-ups, she realised she needed to be stricter with herself when it comes to her health and wellbeing.

“I’m choosing to focus on things that I can control.”

wetheurban, an online community on instagram filled with positive and motivational quotes
A photo of Natasya's studio space, surrounded by flowers to inspire her.
Even in the studio, Natasya would get creative by making her workspace a place where she is comfortable and allow her creativity to flow. She uses flowers as a means to make her space as warm as possible.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

She had always sought inspirations from positive people. Motivating herself from her past achievements gave her a boost of self-confidence that she can do it again. Natasya was that one friend who despite any setback would find ways to stay positive. Nevertheless, her sprouting passion enables her optimistic mind to grow as she tackles challenge after challenge. She has a habit of sharing positive quotes or optimistic self-help-quotes during her dark days or even during the dark days of others to avoid the negative cloud hovering over them.

“In this course, you really need to believe in yourself. Despite being young adult, we are all still kids within, not knowing what to do. Remove the weeds, and plant beneficial seeds.

natasya jasmin

5. Passion Can Blind You

You would always hear that architecture students have to be passionate. But what does it really mean? As a really close classmate and friend of Natasya, I can vouch that she is one passionate architecture student. You can see it in her work and her determination to get back up whenever she makes a mistake. However, having only passion is not enough in this course. Natasya felt like she was an obedient worker, mining for gold, in all the wrong places, blindfolded. On the other hand, her classmates would have night vision goggles to enable them to see in the dark. She had difficulties finding that light until one of her lecturers in her final semester, Ms Teh, helped loosened her blindfold and handed her the torchlight to see clearly.

A comic drawn by Natasya depicting her blindfolded journey through architecture.
A comic drawn by Natasya Jasmin that metaphorically showcased her journey through architecture blindfolded until the final year of her studies.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

“Let it be hard, because it built me.”

Natasya jasmin

Her Inspirations And Hope To Inspire Others

I have only known Natasya for five years and I have never been so proud of where she is now. She is curious and adventurous to the point that she will do whatever it takes to seek the answers. Because of her never-ending curiosity, she never stops growing. And I noticed that she had shown much growth by developing beautiful visual art pieces. Original art pieces that tell its own story relating to her inspirations, in hopes to see her own growth as an individual and inspire others.

Natasya Jasmin's art instagram page, with an artwork that tells the story of a view she saw in a dream.
One of my favourite art pieces by Natasya where she illustrated a view that she had in her dreams through textures, colour and space. There are so many more amazing art pieces that she had posted on her Instagram page, untalked.dreams. So go and check it out!
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

Natasya wanted to inspire others in a way that they will make a positive impact in their life, no matter what happens. She had a neighbour and friend named, Muhammad Ihsan Shah bin Shaharudin, whom she looked up to, and I remember her telling me stories of him during our university days. In her eyes, I could see the fascination and adoration that she had for him. It saddens me to hear that he had recently passed on, and that Natasya had lost a very dear friend. “May he rest in peace and May Allah (God) grant him a place in Heaven”. He made an impact on her life, and would always be remembered in her life journey, no matter where she goes. And now, she hopes that she can also do the same to others.

Loosening Up The Blindfold

The beautiful thing is to see that blindfold slowly loosening as one grows up. Natasya grew as she starts to see more of the world, and understand the reason why she is on this path. With the different exposures she got from her peers, lecturers, architectural experiences and non-architectural experience, her blindfold eventually slips off and she starts to see beyond just architecture.

Natasya's final semester project of a a Repurpose and Recycling Centre as well as a socio-cultural hub at Johor Bahru. The concept is "Bring River To Life".
Natasya’s final semester project which she had never been more proud of. She proposed a Repurpose and Recycling Centre as well as a socio-cultural hub at Johor Bahru with the concept of “Bring River To Life”. It shows her growth as an architecture student and her blindfold unfolding into seeing what is beyond aesthetic architecture.
Image credit to Natasya Jasmin

So ask yourself, as a lost kid, blindfolded by society of different opinions and views, what is your story? What is the reason you’re walking on this path? Whether it is a rosy path or a path full of challenges, why is it so important for you to fulfil?

“You are not alone, little one. Find your reason. Fight for your story. And adapt to it in any way you can.”

Natasya jasmin

Being a student doesn’t mean you have to coop yourself up inside your room or studio 24/7, studying and working. Go out and find a place where you can breathe and escape from the tension. If you are a city lover and a sketch enthusiast, check out Kuala Lumpur Urban Sketchers and KL Sketch Nation. They are a community group of people who travels to various parts of the city in Kuala Lumpur and sketch on the spot, such as from the windows of their homes, on the streets or inside the cafés.

Who’s Next?

Interested to read more stories about the life of archi-torture from architecture students? Then fret not, because the next part will also keep you on your toes. I will be featuring Salehah Seeni Pakkeer, a girl with a bright smile and contagious laughter that engulfed the freezing studio with warmth.

About Atiqah GHAZALI

Grew up overseas in a melting pot of global culture to expat parents, Atiqah is well read, and expresses herself best through writing, art and photography. Architect by qualification, but makes a living as an interior designer.

2 Replies to “Natasya Jasmin: Blindfolded In Architecture (Part 2 Of 10)”

  1. Love this Atiqah, keep it up. *eagerly waiting for sally piece 😘.* I have been silent reading for a while so I’m making myself known.

    Leen

    • Shazleen! Thank you so much for your support! You have no idea how happy your comment’s made me. Making me more motivated to write the next part;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*