06-02-2024
Employee story

Meet Nina, Airport Architect at NACO

Nina, a TU Delft Architecture graduate, was orientating what workplace would fit her the best. Through LinkedIn, she was approached by NACO, part of Royal HaskoningDHV. Despite having no aviation background, she got a chance to start here. More than seven years later, she is still very happy and skilled in her position as an Airport Architect. Read her story!
nina kuipers

A great part of working at NACO is working together with a variety of different teams, each with their own specialism, such as baggage handling and special airport systems.

Nina KuipersAirport Architect at NACO

Starting at NACO without a solid aviation background

“In my graduation project, I had dived into care housing and topics as wellbeing and user experience. This means I studied how to make a building suitable for specific users and how to make a user feel at ease and happy within their surroundings. During my studies this was not specifically related to aviation, but it did have a good potential to apply this in the world of aviation too, where passenger experience is one of the main topics of a design.”

“My first day started with examining the whole plan of Schiphol, figuring out what an airport is all about. I needed to get familiar with the airport-specific knowledge. With the help of colleagues, and by working on projects, I extended my knowledge as an architect in the aviation domain soon. A great part of working at NACO is working together with a variety of different teams, each with their own specialism, such as baggage handling and special airport systems. But in the field of aviation there are also a lot of stakeholders and developers that are part of a project. The political part of the work, the search for functional but also flexible and sustainable solutions taking a large number of users into account, is what excites me most.”

A welcoming atmosphere with personal opportunities

“What really made me feel right at home were the people. We have a very welcoming team and we work together closely. The trust in me is also high, I get opportunities to grow within my role, and can always reach out to other colleagues to exchange thoughts when I feel the need to. Even though we have a great atmosphere at the office, it is also important to keep monitoring how everybody is doing. Together with my colleague Taco we organise informal one on one talks with other colleagues to get a grip on what is happening of the cultural side of the work to get a better grip on this. Our goal is to maintain what is good, but also to pinpoint things that could be better and to put an action on that.”

Both smaller and bigger projects

“Over the years, I have worked on both smaller and bigger projects. There is room to pick what aligns best with your ambitions and priorities at the time. Even though we always work on airports, there is a lot of variety between the different projects. The bigger projects help to have an overview of all disciplines that come along and that you need to take into account and justify. Smaller projects could be about a new function or a change within an existing airport. These ,most of the time, give you the opportunity to go more into detail of a specific topic (lounges, retail, security filters, passport control). In some projects we design, in others we help the client reviewing and making decisions.”

“It is a lively atmosphere with new aircrafts and new regulations arising over time. Internally, we keep each other on our toes, always learning and sharing knowledge.”

Sustainability at its core

“Our vision is very advanced when it comes to sustainability. With every step, we really want to make things more sustainable. Any positive change on this domain is a step forward – but we do keep each other sharp, greenwashing is not something we want to do. For me as an architect specifically, this is a lot about materialisation, optimising processes, and questioning whether we really need something, and if so, how to make this as flexible and robust at the same time lowering the footprint of a project where possible.”

“We believe that travelling will not cease to exist. But how we coordinate this, is developing in a smarter and more efficient way. The client is also reaching out for us to help them getting a grip on the task of making aviation more sustainable. We do feel the urge and put a lot of energy in it to do the best we can to get there rather sooner than later.”

Do you also want to flourish in a diverse team?

Then our aviation team is the place to be.

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