It is said that plunging into the deep end is the fastest way to learn how to swim. The same goes for working in industry. Transitioning from the fantastical world of university studio projects to the real world of industry is a big leap into the unknown. University provides you with the basic tools and knowledge needed but the only true way you can learn the skills and regulations of the trade is through real life practical application.
From castles to townhouses to masterplans, my experience as a Part 1 Architectural Assistant working with the architects and building surveyors at GLM has provided me with abundant opportunities to develop skills and knowledge in many aspects of the built environment.
My development at GLM has been aided by the trust the team puts in me to carry out tasks of responsibility. Ultimately this has increased my confidence and understanding as a junior professional. Every Part 1’s experience is unique, and even though it’s just one snippet into the profession, this year provides an insight towards what type of architect you see yourself becoming, or not. My experience at GLM has consolidated that working with existing buildings is, even though often harder and more expensive, rewarding; and a path that I will most definitely continue down. I believe that everyone should work with the existing built environment at some point, as for us (the profession) to design and build sustainably, we need to expand our knowledge of what already works and how we can take this framework and develop it further.
As GLM is a multidisciplinary practice I have been immersed in working alongside our building surveyors, which has given me a greater appreciation of the need for long-term thinking when designing. Maintenance and longevity of a building are critical to keep in mind when designing. I hope from seeing the work our surveyors in the office carry out and understanding some of the key problems that are repeatedly discovered within existing buildings will give me a pedestal to inform my future designs.
Starting off my career in a practice working with existing buildings has, for me, been the perfect way to begin my career. The way forward is taking what those before us have provided and using this to our advantage alongside the knowledge that we have gained since these techniques were first applied. Learning the foundations of our existing buildings has started to equip me with the necessary tools to add to, restore and extend our built environment whilst adopting newer methods and techniques to extend their lifespan. My hope is that the knowledge I have gained from working at GLM will round me into becoming a greater and more considerate architect.
The small, close-knit team we have at GLM has greatly enhanced my experience as a Part 1. As I previously alluded to, the practice has allowed me to work on a range of projects, covering different stages of the design process, from initial option appraisals to Building Warrant to work starting on site. As my time as a Part 1 comes to an end, I will be returning to the Glasgow School of Art to begin my fourth year of studies, but I will also remain at GLM on a part time basis. This means I will continue to work on live projects and supplement my studies with practical application, which will allow me to maintain my development in the profession as well as working towards becoming a fully qualified architect.