Architecture Personal Statement
I vividly remember the moment when I knew I wanted to be an architect. I had been taken to Barcelona to see ‘the wavy buildings’, at the time I didn’t know anything about Gaudí or his work so I was relatively unenthusiastic. However, when I turned the corner onto the plaza where the Sagrada Familia is situated, I was instantly emerged in its grandeur. From then on I was hooked, I never knew such awe inspiring structures existed; the shape and colour of the stone looked like it had been dredged up from the earth, as if it had always been there. I knew then, I wanted to be a part of it.
I feel my choice of A-levels have geared me towards architecture. Although I chose predominantly sciences and mathematics, I knew I needed a balance so I chose English, partly because I enjoy it but moreover I knew it would help me broaden my communication skills. A fundamental part of architecture is communicating with engineers, technicians and of course colleagues; I also thought that it could help me articulate my annotations and concepts more effectively. However, at the end of Year 12, it came to my attention that despite my AS in English, I did not have a true art related subject behind me. I did not take art at GCSE and felt out of practice, so to remedy this I decided to take an AS in art in my spare time; not only to gain another qualification, but to nurture my creative side and develop my portfolio.
Living in Newcastle has given me a diverse architectural upbringing. I have tried to explore as much architecture as my means allow, even if it’s just following a cobbled street I have not yet been down or catching the train to a local cathedral city; such as Durham. Newcastle itself is brimming with a myriad of different architectural styles and eras; from the classically inspired nineteenth century riverfront area, to modular, brutalist scars on the city’s skyline. Traveling is a great interest of mine, visiting places which are considered ‘boring’ by some such as Prague, have been enthralling for me.
During the summer, I was privileged enough to go to Peru on a charity related expedition. It was a lot of hard work to raise the thirty-thousand pounds to go; but it was certainly worth it. Fundraising was often challenging; but one event stands out in my mind in particular. Within our school, myself and the others in my team organised a mass charity bicycle ride in which all pupils would take turns on a series of static bikes to try to pedal the distance to Peru. Calculating the distance the wheels moved was difficult, but I fashioned a device out of flexible card which would attach to the wheel. Knowing the card’s width, it would pass though a light gate which would measure its velocity. This paired with the circumference of the wheel and some technical know-how provided the distance. This may not relate directly to architecture; but I feel it shows my ability to use my knowledge and adapt it to quite an abstract situation. To put it in an architectural context, it shows I can think laterally and match a solution to a difficult scenario. However, There is an obvious mathematical element to architecture and I believe this demonstrates my aptitude in that area.
Our mission whist in Peru was to renovate a school building in a small mountain village. I saw how the building was being put together and was astounded at how simple the methods of construction were. Bottles filled with sticks and plastic bags helped make the foundations, but it was the resourcefulness of the exterior which was the most impressive. For bricks they would simply pack mud into wooden moulds and leave to dry in the sun, they called them ‘adobes’.
Architecture is as much an art form as it is a science and I believe I have the right mental balance of logic and a creative flare for design to be a successful architect. I want to recreate the feeling that was born inside of me when I first gazed up that day, in every design I produce.
I vowed I would never read this again after I sent it off (I still haven't), as I was concerned I would find a mistake or a syntactical error that I wouldn't be able to do anything about. I think this personal statement served me well. I feel it's a bit cliche in places, and if I had put more time into it I may have improved slightly - but the bottom line is it got me to the university I wanted to go to; and that's all that matters.