Selfie of Eneida Lila.
One of Eneida Lila's favorite things to do is traveling and discovering new places. Here she is shown traveling in Bavaria.
give us a little background about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in Albania, a small country in South-Eastern Europe. When I decided to get into Architecture School, Italy seemed to be a reasonable choice to learn the fundamentals of the profession, a country tremendously rich with history and culture. After finishing my Bachelor in Milan, I felt I was ready to move on and experience a new place and a new way of dealing with architecture, and my choice fell into Munich, which is a top ranking Technical University in Europe.
why did you join Solar Decathlon?
A: In my experience at TUM, I have always been trying to collect practical experience that would provide balance to my training from a predominantly theoretical Italian university. Therefore, the projects I chose were to be related to something that could have a direct impact on the city. My interests orbited around sustainable urbanism and environmental friendly technological innovations. When the Solar Decathlon project was first presented to me a year ago, it created an instant excitement. I had to take part in it! It was and is an extraordinary opportunity to think and work at 360˚ on a real-life project, which aims for a better future use of our natural resources.
what is your role in the UT-TUM team?
A: I started to work on the project two semesters ago. The first studio offered at TUM was organized as a competition inside the competition. Students were divided in small teams that competed with each other to develop a winning design concept for the Solar Decathlon, and my team’s design was one of the three final chosen design proposals. From then on, I decided to continue getting involved in it until the end. A second studio was created, where Austin students also took part. This time all the focus was on a unique house, which combined the best aspects of the chosen proposals. I became the leader of the Envelope team, which worked on the house structure and external façade design. Apart from that, I have also been involved in the communications team on the Munich side.
what have you enjoyed most about your experience so far?
A: I can’t decide on just one thing I’ve enjoyed most. In general this is a thrilling experience. It has the potential to drive people from a mood of highest excitement, as well as to stressful situations related to different ways of seeing architecture or different characters amongst the members.
What has been very exciting and also difficult, is that we are a very big team, since we represent two important universities. This has given me the opportunity to learn a lot through different point of views that students from across the continents have expressed, and to also get to know a lot of amazing people with whom I found to share this common interest for sustainability.
what are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
A: I can’t wait to see our house built and touch with hands what we have so far been touching with our imagination. It will be a fulfilling sensation, after all the effort that the team has put into it. It will also be interesting to see people’s reaction to it during the competition days.
what do you think the impacts of Solar Decathlon (or hope) are on the industry/architecture/the general public?
A: Solar Decathlon has the power to bring into people’s attention the issues that the environment is experiencing today. Everybody should be able to see that there are ways out there to resolve some of the major problems of urbanism and architecture that will benefit our present and our future. It has a power to make the industry more sensible in focusing more on innovative sustainable technologies, while instructing and preparing the housing market to accept and prefer these technologies.
how do you like living in Austin?
A: Though my stay in Austin is not so long in time, it has immediately given me a feeling of easy insertion to the lifestyle and easy adherence to the people. It is a mixed cultural city where anybody is free to find their way in.
where do you see yourself in five years?
A: After the Solar Decathlon, I will go back to Munich to finish my Master Degree. Consecutively I am keen on increasing my experiences abroad. I want to gather as much knowledge possible by practicing the profession of architecture in different countries.
where do you want to visit most?
A: One day I would like to do El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route that ends with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, at Galicia. It is described as a lifetime experience.