A project manager and associate principal with more than 16 years of experience overseeing complex projects in Singapore, Hong Kong and along the East Coast, Maryam Katouzian is known for the collaboration and cohesion she instills on her project teams. When she’s not busy managing projects for University of Virginia and Princeton University, Maryam can be found travelling the world for Formula One trips or out on weekends exploring the Virginia and Maryland countryside. We caught up with Maryam about her early draw into architecture and Robert Downey Jr.
When did you realize you wanted to work in architecture / interior design? My grandfather and cousin were both architects, so I was exposed to the profession early. I grew up in the house that my grandfather had designed and built. Hanging out with my cousin while he was in architecture school further heightened my interest. He taught me to draw and infected me with the bug.
More specifically, what drew you into healthcare architecture? I totally fell into it. My experience primarily focused on science and research projects until I was staffed at my last firm on a proton therapy center in Hong Kong. As I got to know the client, I connected with its mission to build a comprehensive cancer center and bring proton therapy to Hong Kong. I’ve continued to focus on healthcare ever since!
How does living in Washington, DC inspire you? As a recent Boston transplant, I’m still getting acclimated to DC. Although my heart will always be in Boston, I love how international and diverse DC is. We have an incredible culture within our office. The passion and creativity of my colleagues inspires me daily.
If you could design for a fictional character, who would it be? Iron Man. Specifically, as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.
Favorite tool of the trade? Bulleted emails. Any paragraph longer than five lines, I stop reading.
Favorite movie? My Cousin Vinny.
Do you have any hobbies outside of the office? I used to make fun of my husband, Tony, because he was a huge Formula One fan. I never got the appeal of watching cars race around a circuit. I finally went to my first race with him in Montreal. I loved it so much that now I’m probably a bigger fan than he is! We love traveling for races and recently took a last-minute weekend trip for a race in Baku, Azerbaijan.
How do you define a successful project? A successful project can be measured by the cohesion we achieve within our internal team and between the client, design, and construction teams throughout the process. Of course, how successful the final building is in fulfilling its mission is key, but how we get there as a team is just as important.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Architecture is a very small community, never burn bridges.