Shona Sivamohan

  • 2018
  • Architecture and Landscape Architecture
  • Architecture - MArch

Shona Sivamohan, Architecture - MArch: Designing a transient city for the displaced people of Havana

Since she was a child, architecture has been in Shona Sivamohan’s life. She has raised important political questions regarding Trump, Castro and the city of Havana through her architecture work. Shona has been working as a group with Emma Bennett and Emma Henderson on their final year project.


As a group, we have been working on conceptual architectural interventions in the city of Havana, which have been continuously developing to form the basis of our thesis. From our fieldwork in Havana, we translated our initial responses and findings into an architectural device – a tool which presented us with an imaginative landscape to work with. Despite the conceptual process behind it, it still responds to the economic, social and political context of the city. We are currently working into this landscape, designing a transient city for the displaced people of Havana as their city is being restored.

We have always coordinated the work to suit our individual strengths, whether it’s model-making or producing drawings. Although we are three individuals with unique architectural interests and styles, our work is tightly interwoven. We are constantly influencing one another and have each contributed thematic and programmatic ideas to the overarching group thesis.

Our studio unit leaders, Adrian Hawker and Victoria Bernie, are excellent tutors and I am glad to be part of their unit. Their conceptual and speculative approach to architecture has led us to develop a rich, in-depth architectural thesis which has been both enjoyable and fulfilling. They are also understanding tutors who care about each individual student’s wellbeing, and have definitely put me at ease through difficult times.

A proposal for a new urban landscape in the bay in Havana
A proposal for a new urban landscape in the bay in Havana


My interest in architecture sparked when I was eleven, when my parents began renovating and selling houses for investment. I enjoyed the meetings with the architects and listening to the design proposals. By fifteen I was sure I wanted to study architecture.

I grew up in Malaysia and completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Nottingham in 2015. Although I really enjoyed my time in Nottingham, I was eager for change. Edinburgh as a city had always intrigued me and as an architecture student, it was important for me to take the opportunity to explore and engage in a different city and environment. ESALA (Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture) also has a great reputation and I was keen to further my studies in a creative context offered by Edinburgh College of Art. Here I have the chance to explore new techniques in a range of workshops and facilities.  

I am very fortunate to have been working with Emma Henderson and Emma Bennett for the past two years. I believe we have a great working dynamic where we able to share the workload and support each other. Even during stressful times, it has been reassuring that we can always rely on one another for advice and some words of encouragement.

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