January 2017, January Review

The end of January marks my two and a half months at Design Engine. I would like to reflect on and evaluate what I have learned through my experience so far before the February short course in Cardiff. I would also like to briefly reflect on how I have developed in a professional environment.

Since working at Design Engine I have developed an array of new technology based skills including Vectorworks, 3D printing and have started working on Apple based operating systems. These skills have given me a new depth in my approach to design and gives me more options and flexibility in ways I can represent a scheme. Developing technology skills is a continuous aim in order to keep up with a constantly developing technology fueled profession.

I’ve started becoming more aware about the business nature of the profession, especially when this has been combined with University work. I have become more compelled to focus on conversations to do with finance and procurement of projects in practice. With many recently post part 3 architects and a few still studying for this stage of their career in the practice, this has been an easy topic to bring up in conversation. I am still new to the practice but I hope that this can help prepare me for more responsibility and involvement in later work stages further down the line.

My first involvement in January was an initial meeting with a client, with one of Design Engines directors. The client happens to also be a member of the board of governors for the Winchester University scheme we put into planning in December. I’ve started to see patterns, through such meetings and discussions, in how a new job in practice can be procured through large networks between architects and clients. Prior design success with a client can lead to larger, more prestigious work, therefore good client relationships can be extremely important to sustain a practice workflow.

I’ve learned that success in specific sectors can land a practice on a design framework which aims to provide specific work for proven architects. At my last practice, as we were a young business, less project experience was likely a major issue in preventing us from being on such a framework which made trying to procure larger schemes in certain sectors difficult.

When I was applying for positions, I wanted a job close to where I grew up. This was to be able to compare my views on places I know well with an architectural mind as opposed to without. Being involved in projects in towns I grew up near, Winchester and Salisbury, has been very eye opening and has helped show me my development in the way I think. For example, for a master planning project in Salisbury I’m currently working on, I’m now recognizing the existing context of the area in terms of it’s typologies and how contentious areas are for new planning proposals. Before I wouldn’t have been immediately able to recognize these aspects of design. These now second nature abilities are showing in my design approaches and creating logically neater schemes. Similarly, I am hoping that when I start more site work I will be able to start immediately recognizing the nature of good and bad detailing.


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