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Hafsa Burt

Maintaining equilibrium is the key to success and healthy life. Keeping up with personal, professional, and social lives may seem like an impossible task yet, it is handled smoothly by Hafsa Burt. She is one personality who has smartly balanced all phases of her life and continues to do so.

Hafsa Burt is an American architect and an active environmentalist. Being a modern-age professional, she is deeply concerned about climate change and is taking effective measures to lessen its effect by all means. Burt is the owner of hb+a Architects and Box Factory, both of her ventures focus on sustainability. She is known in the industry for her experimental architecture and design that focuses on indoor air quality. She is determined to use environmentally regenerative techniques and seeks ecological balance; and is also a proponent of drawdown climate strategies.

Maintaining the Perfect Balance

Having a satisfactory and distinguished personal and professional life may seem like a dream, but this graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design does it extremely well. Determined from the start, Hafsa had set her goals from a young age. She jumped into her professional life as soon as she finished college.

Having a satisfactory and distinguished personal and professional life may seem like a dream, but this graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design does it extremely well.

For starters, Hafsa, just like others, did internships and worked in renowned companies. For someone with clarity for their future, working at these organizations added to her experience. After gaining expertise to handle a business on her own, she made a bold decision to start her own venture in 2006. Hafsa laid the foundation for hb+a Architects with a commitment to the practice of architecture as a collaborative and innovative enterprise. Dedicating more than two decades of her work-life to the field of architecture, Hafsa Burt has successfully managed to rank her company in the leading list of the industry.

While doing so, Burt did not neglect her personal life. Simultaneously, she became the mother of two beautiful children and fulfilled her responsibilities as a good mother. Having a humble nature, she does not like to take credit for it but has surely aced her work-life balance. She says in an interview;

“It's a work in progress, right! Scheduling helps; being organized goes a long way. As a business owner and mom of two, I can tell you there's always overlap and, to be honest, a lot of juggling, lost sleep, and constant running at 150 miles per hour. We tend to set standards for ourselves to be perfect in every segment of our life, and that doesn't make it easy, and I myself am terribly guilty of that.”

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In addition to balancing professional and personal life, Hafsa has turned out to be quite an environmentalist. She says,

“It is important to have an awareness of our role in the bigger picture. Everything we do, how we do it, and its connection to the planet and its people. If the result is positive, stay on track; if the result is self-centered with no deep awareness, it is time to re-evaluate."

Not only does she believe in sustainability, but she also possesses the power to transform her ideas into reality. Along with her expert team of architects, she has come up with an innovative yet modern approach to tackle the increasing sustainability issues. She has founded a development arm for hb+a Architects, called Box Lab. This platform focuses on active research and development in product, space design and zero carbon buildings.

Burt is also an advocate of eliminating toxins with improved indoor air quality. She actively speaks on the topic of indoor air quality as it relates to the practice of architecture and is an industry expert on “Healthy Building Practices.” She emphasizes the use of biophilic designs, open spaces, a constant supply of fresh air, and specifying toxin-free materials.

Getting Up-Close and Personal

Hafsa Burt comes from a family of intellects as her father was a conservationist. Becoming an architect and having a bright mind that has aced everything in life is clearly in her genes. She has been working in the industry for 22 years and has done projects at the San Francisco Airport. Other work includes institutional buildings, multifamily buildings, hospitality, retail, medical office buildings, and custom single-family homes.

Ms. Burt has won ENR 20 under 40, the American Institute of Architects’ Young Architects’ Award, and the Fast Company Innovation by Design award for her achievements and positive attitude towards work. She was also privileged to work in a long collaborative association with Gerson/Overstreet Architects on public projects such as West Oakland Youth Center before Harry Overstreet, NOMA’s passing. In addition, Hafsa has worked with entities like Lincoln Properties and Stonebrae.

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She is also actively involved with the American Institute of Architects and is a member of the AIA California Council’s Committee on the Environment that looks at legislative decisions as they relate to the built environment.

Tiqua Jackson