Growing up and experiencing a range of cultures in Russia, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, Alina El Tamimi found her passion for architecture. Overcoming challenges and proving her determined nature, she pursued her education and passion for design despite the barriers that existed. Read on to learn more about Alina’s unique background and what brought her to ISG!
I was researching local firms when I graduated and noticed that ISG had the same name as the high school I went to in Saudi Arabia, which seemed like an incredible coincidence. After researching more, I was impressed by ISG’s portfolio of work and values of ingenuity, sustainability, hard work, and an empathetic approach. I wanted to meet the people and talk more about the opportunities ISG provides. While attending the NDSU career fair, I met Whitney Behny and was even more impressed with the work ISG does, and what an important role sustainability plays in many ISG projects. Meeting Amanda Prosser and a few other ISGers was also impactful, as I was incredibly impressed by the culture and investment in mentorship. Amanda’s description of the firm and her passion left a lasting impression on me, and I could not be more grateful to be here now!
The Landscape Architecture Department Chair at NDSU, Matthew Kirkwood. I’ve wanted to become an architect since I was 12 years old. Everything about it was so fascinating and inviting to me. The idea of giving back and influencing people and culture in such a way was even more intriguing to me. However, I had never heard of landscape architecture before he introduced me to it. Understanding the incredible work that landscape architects do, and all the possibilities and cultural significance of the profession immediately swayed me to want to pursue landscape architecture. It’s strange because when I think about all the possibilities I had and all the choices I have made, I never would have guessed that a decision like choosing what university and country to study in at the age of 18, would change my career path by simply being exposed to a profession I immediately found immense passion for.
I love seeing the physical significance landscape architecture makes on the built environment. I love working on details that influence a site. I find that detailed work, like plantings, furnishings, and paving are the things that often bring a site to life. I also love seeing the final project, even if I played a small part in it. It’s truly a rewarding experience.
Community engagement is another service I truly enjoy and want to gain more experience in providing. Everyone always has a vision for what a space might be, and I love hearing the perspectives of the community, and determining how the passionate ideas could be incorporated into the design. It’s extremely important to learn from and see new perspectives from people of different communities, cultures, and abilities.
The most surprising thing people learn about landscape architecture, when I’m asked about it, is that we in fact do not mow lawns.
I love to read, spend time exploring architecture, travel with my friends and family, photography, and cooking. A few friends and I have been meeting up every weekend and cooking foods that we grew up eating. It’s hard when you don’t really have access to your cultural food and are so often missing home. Cooking for each other while sharing each other’s cultures has become an incredible practice in my life.
Moscow, Russia. It’s my favorite city to explore. The art, architecture, and landscape architecture are incredible. When I go somewhere, my favorite thing to do is explore every piece of that place. I love to look at its history through the lens of architecture and nature, and Moscow is one that has left an everlasting impression on me. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to go into architecture from such a young age.
My dream vacation would be to my familial hometown of Al-Khalil, Palestine, where I have never been before due to the Palestinian exodus of 1967 that my family was subjected to. My father hasn’t been back to his hometown since then, and Al-Khalil has always been our dream destination.
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