mobile navigation

Alumni Profiles

Haq Khandwalla

Haq Khandwalla

Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Year of Graduation: 2011
Program: Architectural Technician - Technology

Attracting the Best and Brightest

A highly accomplished architect in his native Kenya, Abdulhaq (Haq) Khandwalla has brought a wealth of experience to a variety of projects both through his role at Sheridan and his consulting practice. As a Technical Support Specialist, Haq is involved in designing and refurbishing interior spaces at the college. He also teaches at the Davis Campus.

Why did you come to Canada?

The main reasons for leaving Kenya were to escape a life of insecurity, harassment and constant fear of being attacked due to the highly unstable political landscape. I came to Canada with my family in 2005, returning to Kenya due to commitments and ongoing projects, but moved here permanently in 2009.

What were the highlights of your work in Kenya?

My most challenging and rewarding project was the refurbishment of a rural school in Kenya. In a state of utter dilapidation, the school was on the south coast of Mombasa, my birth town.

The work, which was done for a British Charitable Organization, attracted the attention of the Union of International Architect’s (UIA). In 2005 I presented an overview of the project to the UIA forum in Istanbul.

As a District Secretary for Rotary International (humanitarian service organization) I completed numerous architectural projects for schools and rural medical clinics in Kenya. Upgrading housing, schools and providing better sanitation for the less fortunate has been a memorable and satisfying experience indeed.

This work was but one aspect of my 25-plus year career in Kenya during which I carried out over 1000 projects, including work on residential and commercial buildings, as well as public facilities such as mosques, churches, schools and hospitals.

Why did you pursue a career in architecture?

During my high school days way back in 1967 I read a book on Frank Lloyd Wright. Inspired by his work, I choose architecture as my profession, much against my father’s wishes who wanted me to become a dentist. My love for architecture grew as time flew by and today I have no regrets about my career path.

I received my university architectural training in Pakistan (stood first in my class for three consecutive years and was honoured with a merit scholarship and a Gold Medal). In 1984 I earned a Masters degree at the University of York (UK) on scholarship. Five years later, I obtained a Doctor of Science Degree from the U.S.-based International University Foundation.

What led you to Sheridan?

I needed Canadian experience and qualifications to succeed in my field. I had heard a lot about Sheridan through my friends and was really impressed when I browsed their website. Ken Snell (former Program Coordinator) was extremely helpful, guiding me through the system. My first Instructor was Dave Wackerlin, whose style kept me attentive and engaged. But gratitude goes out to all my instructors. Their patience, professionalism and outstanding knowledge have been instrumental in further widening my horizons in the architecture field.

What advice would you give a Sheridan student or new graduate?

Love your profession. Follow it, dream it, love it, dedicate yourself to it and be honest with it. You won’t go wrong. Think green, live green and build green!