Part 1 student Fussilat Ibrahim joined us for a 5 week Summer placement as part of our Future Talent Programme. Having graduated with a BA (Hons) in Interior Architecture & Design from the University of Hertfordshire, she is currently topping up her degree to an RIBA Part 1 qualification by pursuing a BA (Hons) Architecture from London Metropolitan University.
Here Fussilat reflects on her time with us, her thoughts on the future and her inspirations for getting into architecture.
What inspired you initially to get into Architecture?
Initially I wanted to be a vet when growing up, but when I started at college I realised I didn’t like biology. It was whilst I was there that I made a 3D puzzle poster, the creative nature of this I found really interesting and I thought if I wasn’t going to do medicine what could I do. Luckily there were a lot of people in our class that wanted to do architecture so there was a lot of provisions in place to support this. Also I didn’t like the way my house looked, it was too small and I’d always thought about redesigning it, my interest really stemmed from that.
Over time I worked for Housing Associations and also did various projects for Black Females in Architecture (BFA) so that grew my interest in ‘architecture for people’. When I first started Uni I wanted to design Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster style buildings but over time I decided that there was more to architecture. Whilst at the Housing Associations I saw the issues that people faced in maintaining buildings once the architect has been and gone – and I felt I wanted to help address that from the architectural design concept phase.
How have you enjoyed your time with us and what have you been working on?
I’ve really enjoyed my experience here. I’ve been working within the Education team and initially was involved in a competition for a higher education project, preparing concept drawings and visualisations. This has been really interesting and insightful.
What have you learned?
As well as immersing myself in the sector, I also had the opportunity to learn REVIT which I didn’t know before. I’ve found this really useful and it will be really beneficial in my future roles. You often don’t get the opportunity to learn such things on placements.
I’ve also had the opportunity to learn the Affinity suite of products, which has been great. I prefer their interface and definitely plan to use this in the future.
How have you found the social aspects?
I’ve really enjoyed the chance encounters with other employees whilst making coffee and having lunch – these have been really great. I also knew Elizabeth Akamo, a level 7 Architectural Apprentice here, from Black Females in Architecture (BFA). I contacted her in advance of starting and she offered me some great tips and advice.
What will I take away from this experience?
The deadline for the competition really helped reinforce the collaborative nature of architecture, something Scott Brownrigg are particularly good at. Everyone chipped in to get the competition submitted, there was a real sense of camaraderie and team involvement. This is really important at the beginning of your career as you really don’t want to feel like you are on your own.
What is your advice for others wanting to do placements?
I’d say “go for it”. It’s really important to sort your portfolio and get experience and a placement as soon possible within architecture. There are a lot of things you learn at University that you don’t really understand until you actually put them into practice in a live studio, so the sooner the better.
Summer placements are really useful – I wish I’d realised this a few years ago, knowing what I know now.
Has working for us changed your perception of the practice in any way?
I knew Scott Brownrigg did loads of projects, but seeing the regularly updates on the Intranet and the huge scale and variety of their schemes was an eye opening and has been really insightful. I like how Scott Brownrigg work in many different sectors and offer lots of interrelated services – that’s been really interesting to see. Also working here has really made me realise that getting a project built isn’t down to just one or two companies, it’s a real collaboration with other practices, contractors, consultants and suppliers.
What are your plans and aspirations for the future?
Looking to the future I’d like to immerse myself in as many areas as possible so that I can pinpoint where my passion lies and narrow this down to a specific sector or sectors. I think a medium to large practice will enable me to do this as it’ll give me the opportunity to try new things and it’ll give me more variety.
We’d like to thanks Fussilat for agreeing to take part in this interview, thank her for her contributions over the last month and wish her all the best for the future.