Autumn is in full swing and that means many students around the country have returned to their desks at architecture school. For the majority, this time is a mixture of excitement and enthusiasm, but for others, it’s a mixture of anxiety and sleepless nights. Studying architecture is not an easy option, that’s for sure. Having said that, pursuing an architectural education, can be fulfilling, character building, and can set you on a path to a rewarding career.
Here are tips to help you succeed and excel in your architecture studies:
1. Time management
By starting to organise the life according to a specific system, it is possible to achieve a whole new level of productivity.
You may use time-saving apps, like IFTTT and Pocket if you have to handle too many tasks in a single day. Plan your assignment carefully by breaking it down on small sections in order to reach the end goal. To keep track of all daily tasks and set priorities, you may use a simple app like Clear . Do not put things off and start working on your assignments as soon as possible.
Get some sleep! Continuous lack of sleep is a serious cause of stress that may even lead to mental health issues later in life as per this RIBA article .It should all be about a healthy work balance.
In some situations, you’ll need to say ‘no’ when you have tight deadline for an assignment. It is about learning what is important to you in order to get through your studies and do well.
2. Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself is paramount to the success of your studies. Eat healthy food, Exercise regularly, Get enough sleep and Rest.
Taking care of all aspects of you will increase the likelihood that you achieve more. Being and feeling healthy will improve self-esteem and keep you confident. Your positive attitude will spread throughout your assignments and presentations demonstrating your enthusiasm for the subject.
3. Get some work experience
Internships, work experiences, work shadowing or anything that will help you to prepare for work and develop general business awareness. Start thinking ahead.
Try working at architectural practice, on construction site, engineering office and other places related to architecture or construction. It’s all useful, and should all go on your CV .
4. Learn to draw
Take your time to do lots of practice. It is a very useful skill and brainstorming tool that can help you develop ideas individually or as part of a team. Sketching helps you show a concept to a team or client, come up with potential solutions quickly, and help better understand a project yourself.
5. Learn how to speak well in public
With thorough preparation and practice, you can overcome your nervousness and preform exceptionally well. Being a good public speaker can enhance your reputation, boost your self-confidence, and open up countless opportunities.
To become a better speaker, use the following strategies – Plan appropriately, Practice, Engage with your audience, Pay attention to body language, Think positively, Cope with your nerves and Watch recordings of your speeches.
During your studies you will have a good opportunity to practice the presentation of your work to people. So, start planning your communication appropriately. Use tools like Rhetorical Triangle and The 7 Cs of Communication .
Networking is an essential part of advancing your career. You need to connect with others – whether by becoming member of an association or getting involved with local architectural events. It’s more likely you get help with some work experience or new job through who you know and at the same time meeting the array of new interesting people for you to learn from.
7. Embrace criticism
From time to time you may deal with your work being criticised. Try not to take it personally and not to overreact. Learn how to respond to your critics .
Learn from what people are saying and move on. Constructive criticism will allow you to improve and become a better architect.
8. Don’t give up
You knew it would not be easy. So, keep on going and do your best. You will eventually reach your goal.
‘Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about’. – Sir Winston Churchill
Following the last post in our ‘Design in winter / build in summer’ campaign, we’re back with the second instalment. Showcasing one of our favourite residential extensions from the past year as a case study, we talk you through our three stages of work with step by step images from the initial design stage right through to completion.
THE BRIEF: To create a new single story extension to the rear of the existing property for family room / kitchen space.
Stage one – Planning & Designing
Our client wanted to create an airy and light cooking/ entertaining space that would maximise their views over the surrounding countryside. Following collaborative design meetings, we came up with a scheme that encompassed a large kitchen extension. We allowed room for an island to act as a casual seating area and to provide further food preparation space – with a more formal dining area to the side. Opposite, we proposed a large orangery with an oversized roof light over a bright, relaxed, open plan entertaining area.
Stage Two – Detailed Design and Tender
Whilst Stage one is all about feasibility, planning and design – where we work with our client to produce a number of design options for their project and supporting them through any planning applications, stage 2 is where we apply our detailed understanding of construction and regulations to the drawings, to provide a comprehensive package for builders to work from that meets all the requirements set out in building regulations.
For this project we administered a tender package to several building contractors to get the best price and quality for the build works. In this instance our client chose to work with Tim and his team at TLC Building Services.
Stage Three – Contract and Project Overseeing
With TLC Building services now on board, we administered a contract between them and our client. This contract was based on our detailed drawings, our understanding of construction laws and contract negotiation. We oversaw all the building works onsite to ensure the work was delivered in line with our drawings, regulations and was the standard allowed for in the original tender.
Progression of work…
The building contractors began to dig the foundations for the new extension to which the drainage, pipework and any other services needed to be laid. All work required signing off from a buildings control inspector, following which the concrete footing needed to be poured into place and again approved by building control.
Next, the builders turned their attention to damp-proofing. This can be achieved in several ways, such as through a damp-proof course, damp-proof membranes or integral damp proofing. Following this step is an exciting stage where we see the framework of the new build coming to life. Below we can see the creation of the block and brickwork, with wall ties fixing the walls together. The contractor was busy making sure that the cavity walls were insulated and that the lintels for doors and window spaces were fitted correctly. Following which the builder began to assemble the internal walls and lay a floor screed.
At this point the contractor constructed the roof structure and completed the rafters which were fitted with membrane and covered with our client's choice of material – roofing tiles. The contractor also started work on fascia’s, guttering, drainpipes and soffits.
The next step was to add the doors and windows into the framework, complete the internal plumbing and electrics. It was at this stage where stud walls were erected and internal insulation fitted before plastering. Following this stage, the new kitchen and flooring was also completed. Our client chose to render the exterior of the property to match beautifully with the original part of the house.
With building work completed our clients received a final certificate of approval from the building control officer. After which all that was left to do was relax and enjoy their new space!
What our client thought about the process;
‘I found RA Architects through a Google search and took a chance as the business was pretty new. I was immediatel
y impressed by Richard's profession alism and his ideas. He listened to how we wanted to use our extension and came back with a number of options to talk through.
Once we had agreed a design and a cost Richard and Lewis took away all the pain – they drew up the planning application produced the tender documents and sourced a number of contractors for us to meet and submit a tender. It was reassuring to know that the people tendering were approved by Richard and had all the necessary insurances and track record in place. We decided upon TLC Building Services in Cardiff and we couldn’t have been happier. Tim and his team were the perfect fit for us and we would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone. They worked tirelessly to build an extension we love and did so in good humor- they were a joy to have around. Richard and Lewis visited at regular intervals to inspect the project, again taking away any stress.
Throughout the process RA Architects exceeded our expectations and I will use them again for any future projects I undertake.’
We genuinely love this type of work as to make someone’s quality of life better, truly is the passion behind our practice. If you have a similar scheme in mind please do not hesitate to contact us on 01633 744144 to book a free 1 hour consultation.
You're embarking on a new project and are about to meet your architect to discuss your ideas. But before you do, we advise taking time before your initial meeting to gather your thoughts about the project and help set a clear brief from which your architect can work.
"The ultimate success of your project depends on the quality of your brief, your ability to clearly describe for your architect the requirements and functions of your building, and proposed methods of operation and management." RIBA, (Royal Institute of British Architects)
There are a few questions listed below which you may wish to think about. The answers should be able to help form a good starting point for your architect to design from.
What do you wish to achieve with your project?
Are you looking for a commercial new build or an extension to an existing home, maybe you are embarking on a leisure or educational scheme? Whatever the project it is useful to sum up simply what it is you are setting out to do.
(If applicable) Think about your current building.
Take a moment to list what works, what you like about it and similarly what doesn’t work and what you wish to change.
Who will be using the building and why?
For a residential home you will need to take into consideration the residents (plus any pets). For a public building it is useful to have a think about who would be visiting the space and why. For example, a library may be used by both staff working at the building and different members of the general public for study or community activities.
How will the rooms in the buildings be used?
Keeping with the library as an example, we may find the building may require staff rooms, community areas, spaces for children to learn and play, plus study areas in both individual and communal settings. A home environment may have different needs, would your family prefer open plan living? Think about your storage needs, what will you need to store in each space?
What do you need to prioritise?
For example will your property need to be wheelchair friendly? Do you work from home and need a quiet space to concentrate? Communicate to your architect what your property must have. It is also helpful to note anything that your property needs to fit, for example, if you wish for your super king bed to sit comfortably in your newly built bedroom, you need to let your architect know at the start. Likewise if you are passionate about creating an ultra-sustainable build, now is the time to discuss ways to achieve it.
Do you have a timescale in which to complete the work?
Your architect can discuss this with your contractor when your project goes to tender.
What is your budget?
It’s always best to be transparent about how much you wish to spend, so that your architect can maximise the design accordingly.
TOP TIP – Get registered on Pinterest! Share and gather images with your architect to help refine your design style and easily communicate likes and dislikes!
We offer a free one hour consultation where we meet with you at your property to discuss your ideas. Now that we are heading into winter it is the perfect time to start designing and planning. Just think, by spring next year your build will be under way and by summer the end result could be better than you could have ever imagined!
Fancy a career in architecture? Our fun infographic explains what it takes to become licensed with the Architects Registration Board, ARB.
For those of you who may have already started on their journey in architecture, we currently have an architectural assistant vacancy. Contact the office on 01633 744144 or email email@example.com for more information!
When it comes to a building project, we all want to make our budget stretch as far as possible. If you’ve already got a builder in mind to complete the work, it may seem tempting to skip the step of hiring an architect completely. But we’re going to explain why using an architect will actually save you money.
A good Architect (and we do recommend using a RIBA Chartered Practice) will start by working with you to fine tune your ideas. Up to date with building regulations and practices they will quickly be able to let you know if your proposal is feasible and will put you in the best position in regards to submitting planning applications.
The architect will manage the design and build process for you, which includes liaising with building regulation officers and the planning department. Taking control in this way not only ensures the build runs as smooth as possible but also helps to avoid costly (and timely) disputes.
An architect will also assist in the selection of a contractor. Making sure they are adequately insured and competent. Your architect will convey your vision to the building team and will make thorough checks that all work is safe and adheres to both building regulations and your original plans.
Architects also abide by a statutory plan of works and will also be insured themselves which goes further to minimise risk for your build.
And finally, with a vast knowledge of construction, an architect will take in to consideration building materials and the design brief itself in order for you to maximise your budget and help avoid expensive mistakes, thus generating lower running costs of the overall project.
If you’d like to find out more about our process and how we work as a practice we have a quick and easy to watch video explaining all our stages of work and if you'd like to speak to a member of our team, call the office on 01633 744144.
Antonella is one of our architectural assistants. Hailing from Rome, Italy where Antonella completed her studies in 2015 she now calls Wales home.
Hi Antonella, so what are you currently working on?
Hello, I am busy with a mix of projects, the main bulk being residential which is great as I’m really passionate about these type of home improvements but I am also involved in the exciting development of Barry Community, Water and Activity Centre which has been incredible to work on.
What’s been your favourite project with the company so far?
I have a soft spot for a lovely residential house in Welsh St Donats as it is my first solo project and the build itself has been quite challenging structurally, which is always a nice reason to exercise the mind and think outside the box! The development (which will be a 2 storey extension through converting an existing garage) is due to begin the build stage shortly and I’m really excited to see it all finished. Hopefully we can share the progress of it soon!
What is your favourite type of project?
As a keen cyclist I love being outdoors and am influenced by nature, so naturally I really enjoy projects which involve eco-buildings.
What project throughout history do you wished you’d worked on?
I’m a big admirer of the late (and great) architect Zaha Hadid who designed the Maxxi Museum in Rome, which is a museum for modern and contemporary art. I remember going to the opening of the building in my second year of university and being awestruck by how fluid the inside rooms were designed, each space meandered perfectly into the next! I’d highly recommend others to visit when next in the country.
Tell us one fun fact about you?
I’m an ace in the kitchen and love to whip up my favourite pasta dishes from home.
Thanks Antonella! We hope you enjoyed getting to know our team, we’ll be featuring more mini interviews throughout the year so follow us to keep updated for the next one!
As you may have seen on social media, we were recently visited by Rob of Glazing Vision who gave a great seminar on how to ‘Unlock Light, Air and Space’ through roof lights. We were left really inspired by the talk and thought we’d pass on our top three reasons why we encourage the use of roof lights in our projects too!
REASON 1: THE DAYLIGHT FACTOR
It’s well documented that being exposed to natural light has big benefits for our wellbeing. Not only has it been proven to boost morale, it also lowers fatigue and reduces eye strain and headaches! This is great news for the workplace especially as it means absenteeism is lowered whilst productivity is higher. There have even been studies that demonstrate how shoppers will stay longer in malls and that patients may even recover quicker in hospital!
REASON 2: YOU’LL FEEL MORE CONNECTED TO THE OUTDOORS
Did you know that roof lights let in two times the amount of daylight versus vertical glazing! The transmission of more natural light into your room also means less electrical lights are switched on thus contributing to lower running costs for your building.
REASON 3: YOU CAN GET A BETTER NIGHT SLEEP
A properly installed roof light can enhance your thermal comfort meaning a better night sleep – something everyone needs! Roof lights (by removing heat and other pollutants) can improve your air quality and provide natural ventilation. All big pluses in our book!
We hope you enjoyed this article, if you’d like further inspiration to spark your project our pinterest board is bursting with cool ideas!
We're also offering a free 1 hour local consultation to discuss your project, call the office on 01633 744144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book!