Kent School of Architecture Alumni

Kent School of Architecture Alumni


I was quite intrigued by how young the
school was at that point, but the high regard it had in the industry. It was recommended to me by an architect who I did work experience for. I mean, this year is its tenth anniversary and it’s considered one of the top architecture schools in the country now. The support staff here are really fantastic
so it was somewhere that I wanted to go and study, because it not only fitted my life
but I knew it was going to be a good course. The degree actually is split up into various
parts. You’ve got Part 1 where you’re learning how to draw, and you’re learning the language of architecture. This is how you build, this is how you
do detailed drawings, this is how you use computer software. We had a variety of design modules, history modules within our first year. We
learnt about engineering in construction. We have a FARO site scanner which is for scanning site and point cloud information and we have a Breukmann object scanner for little objects to get them in mesh forms. It’s all giving you the different skills
to explain your schemes to different kinds of people. Between the Bachelor’s and the MArch you have to go and work for a year in industry. It’s essentially meant to allow you to grow up or test your skills. I was lucky enough to go and work in New Zealand for a year in a practice out there, before coming back and completing the MArch, the Stage 2 part of the architecture degree. The Master’s is a lot different from the undergraduate three year course. It’s run across two years and the course is now made up of four units. The Master’s course, as well, gives you a lot more freedom than the undergraduate course. So the design side of things, which is what dominates the course, is a lot more independently run by yourself. When you finish you normally go into another year of practice before starting your
final qualification, which is your Part 3. So you’re better equipped for the workplace
but still not quite fully ready to be an architect. The shelter project is a great way for
breaking the ice with students. They’re meant to develop a structure over the first few
weeks with the intent of spending a night sleeping in it. It’s a real make or break
situation. If it rains and you haven’t worked out the problems, then you’re going to get
wet. And if it’s windy and you haven’t closed all the gaps then you’re going to get cold.
So it’s a sort of baptism of fire into architecture. Each year you have the chance to go on
a trip abroad. First year Barcelona, second year Paris,
third year Berlin. Fourth year was my year out. We had a trip to Vienna in the second year. That was incredible. When I came back from my MA I went to San Francisco and I just came back from a Venice trip. Even when I’m working here I’m still travelling. It’s always fascinating to see how different countries do things, you know, every different
place has its own vernacular and its own style and its own building materials. You can’t learn architecture purely off a book. You can read it and you can understand
it but it’s all about how you experience it. It’s like how when you sketch something, you don’t sketch what you see but you sketch what you experience of the building. We had some large architects come and visit and give us talks, and also some new and upcoming practices, so that was really inspirational. Immediately, the students are being introduced in quite a formal/informal way to potential employers. Two people from Farrells came to our end of year show, our final crit actually, and they were on my panel so they critiqued me. And I got in contact with one of them afterwards
and I got asked to come in for an interview. The first years interact with the fifth
years and PhD students and there’s not necessarily, although we have our own spaces, there’s a blurring of boundaries that allows all of the school to interact. I’m here one day a week working with a particular year group and helping them with a particular project brief that they’re set. Helping them develop those schemes, ideas, their concept models, and how to best illustrate those or represent those ideas. It was just a really beautiful place to study and I think within that and the Kent School of Architecture being really up-and-coming, it was just the perfect choice for me. I think primarily the first thing was it was a campus university and that really appealed to me. You know, the library is two minutes’ walk, the shop’s two minutes’ walk and it’s
a self-contained area so it’s actually really a friendly and a comfortable place
to learn. That was one of the theories when designing the campus was to make it like Oxford and Cambridge and the college system, and, it just excited me actually to see that there was this new, young school that had the classic foundations.
It reassured me that I was going to be getting a good education and a modern education. We were told the phrase when we started on the course that we work hard but we play hard. I know that we’re nicknamed the course
that doesn’t sleep, as they all walk past our nice windows at two in the morning and see us all sitting over our drawing boards. When all of us are done, the whole school
will go out – and it is the whole school will go out – it’s not just your group of friends. I obviously want to qualify as an architect, eventually, and I would love to start my own practice one day. Doing architecture doesn’t just make you
employable in architecture but it makes you employable in several fields. You get to work out what kind of architect you want to be and that will then help you find out what practice you want to go and work in. Your skills can cross all sort of
boundaries I suppose but you’ve got to work out where you want to work and what architect you want to be.

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