Miriam’s introduction to Solar Decathlon is similar to many of our TUM students. Here, she’ll tell you about her experience as a college exchange student and how Solar Decathlon has impacted her experience in Munich.
Miriam, give us a little background about yourself.
A: Hi! My name is Miriam, and I come from Italy. Also my parents are originally from Italy. I have a younger brother and an older sister. I live in a little town surrounded by fields and nature in the northern part of Italy, named Casatenovo, not far from the city of Milan.
I live with my family but I spend most of the time in Milan for my study. Milan is where my university, Politecnico di Milano Bovisa, is located. I’m a commuter, so everyday I travel from home to my university, which takes an hour by train. It’s an effort but I prefer the quietness of my place compared to the chaos of the city. I study “Science of Architecture”. Two years ago I had my first chance to study abroad as an exchange student thanks to the Erasmus project. I set TU Munich as my first preference. That’s the first reason why I’m here telling about myself! The second one is that, as I started my second semester at TUM, I was struck by the proposal to take part in the Solar Decathlon competition.
Why did you join Solar Decathlon?
A: I joined the Texas|Germany Team because I was fascinated by the opportunity to design something which could be realized, following the development of the project in every detail, and solving a concrete problem to realization. Most of the time it means to give up some solution for budget problems. This was a new chance for me in my university course of study. Another interesting point was the subject of the competition—the solar energy. I think it’s important to drive architecture towards some innovative subject such as sustainability, which is the keyword of contemporary and future design. I wanted to learn more about it and improve my knowledge of innovative technological systems and sustainable design.
What is your role in the UT-TUM team?
A: I worked first in a group of three students. One of those was Eneida Lila, who continued to collaborate with me later. The organization of the design lab was structured in different groups, each one with a different design concept trial. At the end of that semester our design was chosen for further development. In the successive phase I continued working—first specializing on the envelope design and facade construction and later on the exterior part as the group’s leader.
What have you enjoyed most about your experience so far?
A: I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of working with different people from several countries. The collaboration was quite difficult because we were several students, which means many different mindsets. Most of the time it was a cause of discussion but also a chance to learn the hard beauty of collaboration.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
A: I hope to complete my studies as soon as possible and in the best way. After, it would be great to have a working experience abroad.
What do you think (or hope) the impacts of Solar Decathlon are on the industry/architecture/the general public?
A: A better consideration about the advantage of using solar energy for our needs and of the simple prefabricated assembling system. This kind a competition can be a way to sensitize people—industries as well as students—towards investing in a new sustainable design and life form (way of living). It leads to preserving nature. As future architects we are the first who have to push the architecture and the industries in this direction. That’s the reason why I find it important that this competition involves students.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: I don’t have big expectation for my future as I live day by day. The only certainty is the present.
I hope to learn and keep as much as possible from every experience that is given to me. Every occasion is an opportunity to improve my knowledge in architecture as much as me as an individual. Now I’m working hard for gaining experience. There’s no future without a present.
I live in a country (Italy) scared by financial and political crisis. Currently it’s really hard for young people to visualize a future working position but I continue trusting in the present as well as in the future. It’s a challenge that entails self-denial, but it can bring also the best of us. I wouldn’t deny an opportunity for a temporary international practice.
Are you a cat or dog person?
A: I’m a cat person
What’s your favorite color?
Who is your favorite architect?
What is your favorite city that you have been to (thus far)?
A: Hard…I love every city that I’ve visited…there’s no one that I like most. Excluding my country, Italy (where every main city is wonderful), I think Paris and Lisboa.
Where do you want to visit most?
A: North America
Anything else we should know?
A: I love cooking and travelling!