Degree(s) Earned
M.U.D. '22

Current Employer: SWA Group

Hometown/Country: Mumbai, India

Current City/Country: Laguna Beach, CA, United States

/ Alumni / Master of Urban Design,

Tejas Saiyya

Urban and Landscape Designer

“The Taubman community is diverse, inclusive, and the right scale that promotes a sense of belonging and allows you to grow with it while always being warm, welcoming, and supportive.”

Describe the work that you do.

I work at SWA’s Laguna Beach studio focused on landscape-based approaches to design and planning. I work as a designer to facilitate the ideation and translation of design in the public realm.

What are some of the projects that you have worked on recently?

Currently, I am working on medium to large-scale landscape urbanism projects in the Middle East and some master planning and design projects in the U.S.

Why did you choose Taubman College as the right program for you?

I was keen on joining a research-based program that informed all of its findings towards making design innovations. The Master of Urban Design at Taubman has a school of thought situated in the school of architecture and urban planning, which informs the necessary macro to micro-decisions to create holistic frameworks or solutions. Another key reason for me is the people contributing to it. The mix of faculty with diverse backgrounds and experiences is the right mix to understand, expand, and further myself in the urban realm.

What is special about the Taubman community?

As an international student, it is difficult for one to find their place while adapting to new conditions. The Taubman community is diverse, inclusive, and the right scale that promotes a sense of belonging and allows you to grow with it while always being warm, welcoming, and supportive.

Describe your experience with faculty and professional staff during your time at Taubman?

The faculty at Taubman was instrumental to my growth in my discipline. Their experience and knowledge repository are driving forces at Taubman. I experienced their support, guidance, and readiness to further my interests, allowing me to negotiate boundaries seeking equitable results. Regardless of their tight schedules, they always accommodated my requests to guide and share.

How has Taubman’s career and professional development support prepared you for a successful career in your chosen field?

The team works strategically to curate reviews, interviews, and workshops, that are in tandem with the semester and requirements of students at every step through the program. Through their engagement and knowledge, they helped expand my breadth of professional expertise required to communicate and connect with various individuals making impacts in practice.

What benefits have you experienced being part of the University of Michigan?

Michigan has multiple nuanced pedagogies that it advances. What strikes me the most is that it allows you to be ‘you.’ I could mold my specific interest, allowing it to flow into different disciplines, amalgamating it to create a beautiful output that reflects the unique possibilities of viewing multifaceted scenarios.

What advice would you give prospective students as they consider Taubman College?

There is no single answer to scenarios we face today; the solution, just like its problems, needs to be multifold. To create and implement these multifaceted frameworks, it is necessary to take advantage of the different disciplines offered at the University of Michigan.

One does not necessarily need to come with things figured out. Taubman, with its rigor, will allow you to experience numerous different tangents that will help you shape your trajectory, creating your unique voice.

Additional advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective students?

Often look around, connect, converse, and share with your peers; What you observe, absorb, and disseminate leading to discourse with your peers is critical to your growth and, eventually, your perception and contribution to our community.

You are an equitable stakeholder in this community. Therefore, it is on you to decide what your contributing gestures will be, as they will set precedents for the future.