Students in Architecture Q&A: Hannah Wilson
What do students look for when approaching their Part 2 practice placement?
TODD Architects are celebrating our vital student team members, asking them about their experiences, team-work suggestions and what they essentially look for in a practice.
Our third Q&A is with Part 2 Architectural Assistant Hannah Wilson. This is Hannah’s second time working at TODD Architects having worked here as a Part 1. She shares her thoughts, experiences and any noticeable changes! She also imparts some wise advice and words of encouragement to students who might be considering the profession.
What initially inspired you to study architecture?
I grew up in a family of builders, so I always had an interest in how things were made and what they were made of. I also really enjoyed art at school and thought architecture was the perfect combination of a career that was both creative and academic.
What projects are you currently working on and with which team?
I am currently working alongside Director Andrew Murray on a number of different Healthcare projects, all of which are at a very early stage (so I’m not sure how much I can give away) but I can say, there are a few exciting projects on the horizon!
Where do you look for your design inspiration?
I am very interested in the vernacular and materiality of buildings. I find inspiration around me, all the time in unexpected places. I also have a real interest in furniture design and really enjoy understanding function at this scale, understanding how joints, hardware and mechanisms have been deployed by the designer.
What are the biggest challenges and the most rewarding elements of your work to date?
I have very little experience communicating with clients, which is such a massive part of our job – so I am finding it very rewarding to gain insight into this part of our career and learn from the team around me. In some ways this is also the biggest challenge as I try to develop more confidence in this role.
Are there any specific architects that you would like to point out whose work has inspired you or your work?
My student work reflects my interest in surface, mass and form. Key architects that I often reference are; Alvaro Siza, Josep Llinas and Flores & Prats.
Apart from project work and client and colleague relationships, its important to have a supportive practice team culture and this can sway graduates and students to work for certain practices. Hannah, you have worked at TODD Architects previously, would this be your experience, would you agree with this?
I would absolutely agree, and have been fortunate enough to work with a very supportive team here at TODD Architects. The work culture here provides an environment which is challenging, forward-thinking and rewarding.
Did your previous placement at TODD Architects fulfill your ambitions for the role and was it what you expected? Have there been any noticeable developments?
The role I experienced during my first placement was above what I expected initially, I was pleasantly surprised with the level of responsibility I was entrusted with from an early stage. Having come back to TODD Architects, I see the practice has continued to evolve and have had continued success, winning competitions and commissions which are of a real interest to me.
Are there any further areas you would like to gain further experience in?
During my time here I hope to gain experience on site and feed my interest in how things are built. I hope to develop a real understanding of construction, materials and our role as an architect in how to successfully co-ordinate a job on site.
In terms of team activities, workshop and events, do you have any suggestions going forward?
Maybe we should avail of Belfast’s latest attraction the ‘Wee Toast Tours’ (a party BYO group cycle tour) with the directors leading the way!
Or a weekly lunch time yoga class- which might be better for our livers!
What words of advice would you offer anyone studying architecture today?
I would encourage any student of architecture to be authentic and find their own path. Don’t worry about ‘placing’ yourself in an existing practice or trying to mimic other architects work. Also, share your work in the studio – talk to other students, help each other along the way.
What’s next for you, what are your future plans?
RIBA Part 3 is looming..