The journey to becoming an architect started a long time ago. As a child I was always interested in other peoples’ homes and would disappear to have a good nose around, much to my parents’ embarrassment.
My father is an architect and we would have regular trips to London to experience culture and architecture and it was when I was choosing my options that he stated that ‘although he wouldn’t necessarily recommend it’ he thought that I would enjoy Architecture as a course and had the right attributes to become an architect.
So it all began in September 1990 when I was dropped in Portsmouth and took my first steps into Further Education at Portsmouth Polytechnic. We were a small group of budding architects, probably no more than 35 in number, which differs considerably to the numbers that are coming through the School of Architecture.
The course, although long, was broken up into two halves; the degree of 3 years, and the Diploma of 2 years, separated by a practical year out.
The first few years went quickly and I found myself with a degree in Architecture, facing finding employment for practical experience and not sure whether being an architect was really what I wanted to be or indeed whether I was cut out for it.
It was the practical year out that made me realise how much I wanted that end goal. I was lucky enough to get a voluntary position at Rushmoor Borough Council in their Architects Group and was able to experience all the elements of being an architect, from sketch proposals, detail drawings through to running my own job on site, the Council disabled WC!
After 14 months of experience and another two years in Portsmouth I struggled to find work initially as the economic climate was not buoyant. I began work in a small practice in Havant and enjoyed being part of a private company with 2 partners who very much enjoyed working together.
After some varied experience in different fields of architecture, and with different practices, I was able to complete my Practical Training sheets and prepare for the Part III examination.
The experience, support from work colleagues, friends and family enabled me to pass my finals in January 1999.
Since that time I have been working in Local Government and private practice and been fortunate to have been a co-director in a local architectural practice. Every day is different, no two projects are the same and no two problems are ever alike, that’s what makes the job a vocation.
I am still proud of my achievements, the time and dedication put into my studies and even after 15 years of being qualified I still feel that buzz of achieving my professional qualifications when I introduce myself to new people and I am able to say ‘ I’m an architect’.