In the past few months four new team members have joined us, who are at various stages of their journey to becoming qualified architects. We are proud of our ability to train young architects and get them through their qualification as quickly as possible. We are able to do this as a result of a number of factors, not least, because our size allows us to provide the right kind of broad experience.
As young architects just starting out, it probably feels impossible to have an impact given that there is so much to learn. But the working environment is a two-way-street and we will be encouraging them to influence what we do and how we do it. If you want to make the world a better place, right now is the time to start and not in a few years when you've got the badge. Based on their individual interests, here are a few clues as to how Liam, Jennifer, Chloe and David could be influential:
Having grown up with a family self-build project involving the renovation of a 17th century cottage, I developed a keen interest in construction and a sympathy for buildings of heritage. I am passionate about creating positive relationships between the new and the old, enriching the history of a building with new uses that are carefully incorporated.
I have a particular fondness for ageing agricultural buildings that are often left to simply deteriorate; the stone to crumble, the brickwork to spall and the weather-boarding to fall to the ground. But in their dramatic open-plan simplicity and purity of form there is great potential for transformation into modern, elegant contemporary spaces. I would love to be involved in rescuing more of these structures; in preserving their history whilst giving them a greater purpose, without which they would begin to fade away…
For me, drawing is the most successful way to explore and understand the world around us, and its value is increasingly overlooked in today’s digital reality.
There are two main types of drawing I make; reflective and expressive. The first is analytical and forces me to see things I wouldn’t normally notice. It can be surprising how many important details our minds are able to mask over until we choose to focus. But drawing also makes us question what it is we’re drawing. Why is it that way? How could it be improved? Reflective drawing is my way of understanding physical things and how they can generate ideas.
Expressive drawing is about visual thinking and turning ideas into something real. It’s about turning questions into solutions. My biggest inspiration for this is Salvador Dali. His work demonstrates how drawing is a visual language capable of communicating dreams and ideas. Sketching in this way forces me to think about what I’m doing, to make decisions and problem solve. It also helps me communicate my thoughts and make sense of my own reality.
I have always been passionate about designing architecture that serves the people. I am particularly interested in temporary or “Pop Up” architecture and the way in which low-cost, community-led solutions can bring positivity to run-down areas. In serving the ever-changing needs of the people, there are always opportunities for architects and designers to test sites with more innovative and daring designs.
Within the last decade, groups of up-and-coming architects, designers and artists, have collaborated with communities to create a more holistic type of temporary architecture. Their designs show us how we might live more harmoniously together. Making a positive contribution to neglected or segregated places is something that is very appealing to me.
Because of changing populations, unstable markets, and the fear of committing financially, there are plenty of vacant and abandoned spaces available in the urban environment. The cost of building a temporary structure on these sites is often relatively low, in comparison to the land within prime locations, which makes it possible for these young practices to carry out their Pop Up ventures. Although Pop Up structures quickly appear and disappear, they are designed to invest and embed themselves within a community, by opening up possibilities and exploring the social and cultural potential of the area.
The first task we were set at Architecture school was to go out and sketch some nearby buildings in order to help us overcome our natural inhibitions. It turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience but I remember that many people commented on how lucky I was to be able to draw. To me it was just making marks on paper, something that everyone can do. Surely?
I was reminded of this when reading Gordon MacKenzie’s book “Orbiting the Giant Hairball” where he asks a class of first grade kids if they were artists and everyone enthusiastically agree. But when he asks the same question of sixth graders only one or two reluctantly admit to being an artist.
Like MacKenzie I believe that everyone has an innate ability to create, whether that is through drawing, singing, dancing, or even baking and that, for some reason, over time we lose confidence in our creative ability. I am incredibly lucky to have a job where creativity is fundamental, and I am keen to help others to rediscover their creative talents too.