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Champion for Sustainability: Pooja Kashyap

Published July 10, 2020

“Sustainability” may sound like a vague buzzword. But in the new Concourse E extension, this value comes to life in very real ways. That’s thanks in large part to the advocacy of Pooja Kashyap, an architect at Hennebery Eddy. Over the past few years, she’s championed healthy, sustainable design solutions at PDX. Here’s what she has to say about her experience working on the project. 

Pooja wants you to feel relaxed the next time you fly. “I get really excited to work on spaces that will be used by lots of people and touch lots of lives. Airports, in particular, can be really stressful environments for passengers and so I was really excited about the ability for sustainable design features like daylight, views and natural materials to help make people feel more comfortable.”

Good design takes collaboration. And it’s not always easy. “One hard part about this job: When you’re working on a project of this scale, there are a lot of opinions. They come from all sides — from the client, contractors, consultants and designers. And they’re all valid perspectives. The hardest part is finding a design solution that addresses everyone’s concerns. In the end, it creates a better project, much better than if just one person was designing in a bubble.” 

She’s helping PDX go for gold. “What makes me proud to be on this project is that it’s on track to meet LEED Gold, which is not an easy achievement for an airport. I’m proud of myself for successfully championing sustainability on this project. And I’m proud of the whole team for working together to design something that’s environmentally responsible, resilient and comfortable.” 

Pacific Northwest vibes fill the new concourse. “The parts of Concourse E that I’m most excited for the public to see are the huge windows and the column-free spaces. It is going to be unlike any other gate that you’ve ever waited for a plane in. Because of its high ceilings and the lack of columns, there are amazing views of the Columbia River, of Mt. Hood. It’s such an open, inviting space to be in.”

Working through the pandemic has her refocusing on what matters. “Overall, I’m just encouraged by everyone’s spirit to keep moving forward and keep looking to the future — using this time to spend with your family and assess what’s really important to you. I’m so inspired by the demonstrations all over the world fighting for social justice. As someone who has been fighting against climate change for so long, seeing people working to create real, systemic change shows what we can accomplish when we come together.”