While many of us dream of vacationing in the Caribbean and other island escapes, designing an island presents an entirely different prospect — one that was recently attempted by two recent architecture alumni. Over the past summer, Behruz Hairullaev ’16 and Brandon Muir ’17 entered an island design competition with the objective of imagining and creating a functional island with a unique look. Ideas such as “Paradisaical,” “Utopian,” “Dystopian” and “Heterotopian” were encouraged.
According to Hairullaev, the challenge was creating a concept that was “not mundane and could stand the test of time.” That concept came in the form of Hoverscrapers with an initial launch above the city of Tokyo.
“Our concept was taking the problems we face today and potentially in the future and fixing them with works of architecture and design,” he explained. “The problem we tackled was ‘overpopulation.’” Ideas such as “Quantum Levitation,” “Meissner Effect” and liquid nitrogen were all incorporated into the design.
Hairullaev graduated in December 2016 (a semester early) and walked with the rest of his fellow classmates in May. Immediately after graduation, he was offered a full-time position as a junior architect/designer for Kimmerle Group (AIA NJ Best Architecture Firm of the Year 2016), where he had interned two years prior. When he was a student, he commuted every day from Rockaway, N.J.
“The commuter life allowed me to work at architecture firms and attend school,” Hairullaev recalled. “I have made lifelong friends, memories and great connections as a student at NJIT.”
Hairullaev, who counts Tadao Ando, Peter Zumthor, Bjarke Ingles and Toyo Ito among the architects who inspired him as a student and now as a designer, said that his best moments at NJIT were enjoyed while studying abroad in Italy with the Summer Architecture Program.
“This school changed the way of my thinking, hence changed the man I am today,” he said. “I had not expected the evolution of myself as a freshman.”
“My NJIT B.Arch degree, very much so, helped me in my path to becoming a designer,” Hairullaev continued. “I would not be and could not do what I am doing today without the knowledge that I obtained from NJIT.”
For Muir, who graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Architecture, the architecture program at NJIT gave him both the technical knowledge and design inspiration to work with and develop his clients’ visions and intentions for their brands. He has been employed for the past three and a half years as a project manager at ASA Retail Studio in Madison, N.J., where he primarily works with retail clients in establishing their store designs and visions, then developing prototypical layouts nationally in order to grow their brand identities. The company has recently gained recognition for some of their flagship stores like Lou & Grey Flatiron and Ann Taylor Fulton Street.
“While at NJIT, I learned that design carries a smaller experiential quality which I readily use in my designs,” Muir recalled. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at NJIT. There I developed friendships and a professionalism mindset I will never lose.”