During his trip to Kurdistan in 2002, Shwan Zuhdi was saddened to see the Kurdish people living in such extreme poverty within the region due to war, oppression, and turmoil... During his travels, he came to the realization that the built environments within this area was not healthy for the human mind or body. After the removal of Saddam Hussein, the Kurds in Iraq thrived under an economic growth and construction developments were happening at an exponential rate. Due to his cultural roots, Shwan was inspired to become an Architect, knowing that he can possibly improve and enhance these once devastated areas... He hopes with enough experience that he can one day contribute to these efforts in creating positive environments within Kurdistan.


Due to the program’s unique emphasis on climate mitigation strategies, Shwan decided to attend the University of Arizona during the Fall of 2011. In addition, he was very excited to learn thoughtful design approaches in response towards Site, Program, and Materiality, in order to enrich both the lives of people and the environment.

During his final years in Academia, Shwan would develop an awareness towards phenomenological experience within the built environment. He was fascinated how Architecture can be used as a "multi - sensory" experience, in order to enhance one’s understanding of place. In his final school year, Shwan decided to further explore this particular realm for his Thesis. During the investigative process, he was moved by influential figures such as Steven Holl, Peter Zumthor, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Charles Eames. After exploring their insights, he was able to synthesize and focus a position of how Liminality can be applied towards Transit Architecture, bracing efficiency with experiential...

Today, Shwan works at John Maniscalco Architecture, located in San Francisco, California. Due to the firm’s design ethos, he passionately works on site sensitive designs that pair boldness with minimalism. He believes that his involvement within the studio is a continuation of his education, and in the process further refines his craft. Most importantly, Shwan believes that his experience within John Maniscalco Architecture is preparing him to one day take on his future endeavors for a better Kurdistan.