There is more to architecture than just buildings, says the department of public works’ (DPW) only female chief architect in the Amathole region, Preeya Singh.
“In my view, it is an art that works hand in hand with science to design places where people can live, eat, work and play.”
Singh joined the department in 2007 and took up her current post in 2009.
Singh is the youngest of three daughters and says her upbringing largely contributed to her choosing the field of architecture.
“My late parents raised us to fend for ourselves and taught us not to compete with anyone, as each one of us has our own destinies and will contribute to this world in our special way.
“My mom also said if you are waiting for someone to recognise the value you bring, you may well be waiting forever,” Singh said.
“No one will appreciate your contributions until you appreciate them yourself.”
She added that one has to work hard for recognition and to be counted.
Singh said at an early age, she displayed interest in art and technical drawing and was one of the first two female students in the history of her school to enroll in technical drawing as an examination subject in 1984.
“Even at that stage, I never considered myself equal to the male students, but just simply regarded everyone as being the same because I saw no distinction then,” she said.
Singh regards herself as being very fortunate to work for working with a team of respectable and professional men.
“I was accepted from day one and must highlight that we work extremely well, even under some very demanding conditions.”
She encouraged all young and aspiring females to work towards becoming a person of value and integrity.
“Young people should practice to speak with confidence. “If your communication style seems a bit weak, practice being assertive, but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude or hostile.
“Simply drop the apologies and qualifiers when you speak and others will see you as more authoritative and confident. Know what you are saying and say it with strength,” Singh said.
She outlined how over the past few years she had assisted with mentorship programmes and combined efforts that helped candidates to register as professionals. obtain professional registration status.
“I am currently mentoring three other candidates, two of whom which will write the PPE [Professional Practice Examination] in October 2019,” Singh said.
“Women across all spheres face similar challenges and I encourage people not to deal with work-related conflict personally but instead find common ground and deal with matters professionally.
“As in any field, there are challenges so instead of engaging in conflict, rather avoid it.
“I constantly practice how to communicate by acknowledging the conflict and asking ‘So how do we move past this?’”
Asked about the requirements needed for architects to be recognised as registered professionals, Singh said explained that in terms of the Professional Practice Examination (PPE policy, the following requirements must be met:
“A candidate can only apply to write the PPE if they have completed the full period of required recognised practical experience and this implies that the candidate must adhere to a range of conditions before they will be allowed to write.
“For persons registered as candidate architects, the candidates must have been registered for a minimum of two years,” she said.
“In addition, the candidates must have submitted the required number of monthly training records (MTRs) for the period stated above and then the period of internship shall commence on the date of registration, confirmed to the candidate in the letter confirming their Sacap [SA Council for the Architectural Profession] registration number.”