Yashpriya Gupta’s graduation

Yashpriya Gupta, our Architectural Assistant pursued a MSc in Conservation of Historic Buildings from the University of Bath and graduated in September 2020. However, due to the COVID situation, the graduation ceremony got delayed by two years and was finally held on 16th July 2022. Yashpriya says it was a delight to graduate at a building that she studied in, during her Masters: The Bath Abbey.

“On this day, it felt like the entire city was celebrating with the graduates, some cafes were offering free drinks to celebrate our achievements. Wherever I went, people stopped to congratulate me and talk about what I studied at the Uni. I went around the city with my friends from Bath and the ones who accompanied me from Ipswich, to take pictures in my graduation gown and enlighten my friends about the history of the city I love. The day ended with me buying a lot of university goodies to cherish, enjoying my favourite Indian food, and listening to Michael Bublé’s concert from a distance.

“However, I very much wish my parents could have been there to celebrate my graduation with me that day; they couldn’t attend the event because of the delay in receiving their visas.”

Having done her Bachelor of Architecture from India, the course showed Yashpriya the two contrasting aspects of Conservation or perhaps the difference in Policy structure/approach to preserving the essential history in the two countries. It was also the motivating factor for her dissertation on Guidelines and policies for the unprotected heritage in the historic context of India: A case study on facades and facadism.

She studied with people coming from different walks of life with a keen interest in historic buildings. Some were architects, surveyors, civil engineers, historians, etc., all working together to help each other understand the modules they specialise in.

Michael Forsyth, the course Director started the course at the University decades ago and is the author of books such as Bath: Pevsner City Guide, Understanding Historic Building Conservation, Interior Finishes and Fittings for Historic Building Conservation, etc. Yashpriya’s group was the last one to study from him before his early retirement. He designed the course such that students learn from the working professionals in the field and get a chance to be out on site and gain some hands-on experience. Michael understood the challenges that people coming from diverse backgrounds might face and provided support and guidance where required.

Yashpriya said, “The city of Bath itself has so much to teach. I still cannot forget that our first lecture was on the streets of Bath, understanding how the city developed to be the Georgian city that we know today, a cultural UNESCO heritage site. That was the day when I fell in love with Bath and received the tag of a tour guide to my friends for the following times to come.

“The one-year of master’s program has been an interesting learning experience. I learned about Passivhaus designing from my professors, undertook the course, and received the certification. It was a new concept for me and not widely practiced in India. I was later invited to pursue an internship at Passivhaus Institute in Germany. However, I wished to work in mainstream Conservation and perhaps incorporate the Passive House concepts into the existing built (EnerPHit). I was fortunate enough to work later as an Intern for the Culture sector of UNESCO and as an Architectural Assistant at Nicholas Jacob Architects.

“I believe that I have a zeal to learn and the support that I receive from Nicholas Jacob Architects has been the guiding light for me in working in the UK. I cannot thank the Partners enough for providing me with the opportunity to work in a holistic environment and grow under their guidance; especially Hugh who mentored me. Also, the office managers and the team to help me adjust in the new city.”

In the previous one and a half years of working at NJA, Yashpriya has worked on 12-13 Heritage Impact Assessments, the first one being No.1, Cornhill, Ipswich, converted into a restaurant The Botanist and Drumbeg, No.4 Constitution Hill being the most recent one. Yashpriya loved the research aspect and uncovering the layers of history and we at NJA try to conserve and enhance it by proposing a logical design in keeping with the ICOMOS Conservation principles.

“I look forward to bringing my learning into practice while working at the firm and receive my Conservation Architect accreditations soon. Also, exploring different facets of conservation and growing with the practice.”