Interview with an Architect

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012|Advice, Interviews|by Sam Watson

Today’s post is an interview with Lawrence an aspiring Architect conducted by Elexu Intern Elliot Moore. They talk industry, inspiration and tips. 

Questions 1: Tell us a bit about yourself, what made you decide to pursue the area of Architecture?

Well, I’m Lawrence. I’m 22 and have recently graduated from Bournemouth University. For me, drawing has always been a great passion. For as long as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed drawing anything and everything that comes into my imagination.

When thinking about a career path I felt I could apply this interest with drawing to architecture. Funnily enough I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted be an actual architect, but the more and more I studied it I began to fall in love with it.

I learned fairly early on that it’s a subject that encompasses a wide variety of creative areas such as illustration, art, sculpture, typography graphic design etc. All these things really appeal to me.  But more importantly, I realised how significant it is. Through good architecture you can essentially improve the way people live their lives, so from a social level it’s quite interesting.

Questions 2: Are their any artists in particular that you admire? And what is it about their work that you like?

There is no set artist in particular but generally speaking, I like Brutalism as a form of architecture which was inspired by Le Corbusier. I’ll try not to get too technical here but it is basically a style that shares similarities with modernism but embraces the use of raw materials.

A lot of people see Brutalism as overbearing and oppressive with quite a negative reputation. For example, they’d see the buildings as just dirty concrete towers. But I totally disagree.

When you see ancient stone buildings like temples etc., they look really old and worn, but they still retain this really amazing aesthetic to them. A really powerful image. The weathering makes it seem like an ancient relic from another era of time, almost a monument to humanity. Now that is pretty cool if you ask me.

Questions 3: What exciting projects have you had the opportunity to work on? 

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to work on a strictly architectural project as of yet, I have been lucky enough to work as an assistant in the art department at Shepperton Studios. This was working on the new Fast and Furious film, which is coming out in 2013. Here, they basically take the script and produce the required visual elements for the film. This can be anything from open worlds, to environments, to buildings etc.

Although this job was not specifically architectural, it definitely put what I’d learned at university into practice and was an experience I really enjoyed.

Question 4: As you ultimately want to move into the field of Architecture. What do you have to do to get into that industry? Is it difficult?

Well the title of Architect is actually protected by Law. I mean, you cant have someone designing buildings who aren’t qualified enough They could produce a construction that is unsafe, potentially endangering lives. Because of this, there is a pretty strict system in place that you have to follow:

-        Firstly, a BA in Architecture for three years

-        Followed by a “Part 1” work placement (6-months or more)

-        Then a Masters degree in Architecture

-        Followed by a “Part 2’ work placement (1 year)

-        Then lastly, a series of final examinations (including a case study, written exam, oral exam and CV evaluation)

…Then you’re an Architect. So in answer to your question, yes its quite difficult haha.

 Question 5: What advice would you give to individuals interested in getting into the world or Architecture?

Well, as you can tell from my last answer, the subject is notoriously hard. Very work intensive, so you have to be passionate about it. I guess it always helps to think about what particular styles interest you the most, and then go research it on a personal level. Also, if there’s a famous building you like, get up and go and see it. Seeing it on paper is one thing but it’s the human experience, which is what architects also think about. Think about how you feel when you first see it and first walk inside. It can be quite inspiring.

 Thanks for your time Lawrence. Good luck with your future work