Architecture Personal Statement
Architecture fascinates me. With a desire to explore how science and technology can be used to improve the performance of buildings both socially and environmentally, architecture has brought out the dichotomy of my personality, allowing me to engage both creatively and scientifically with the aesthetic and functional aspects of design.
Reading books, journals, articles and blogs has provoked me to question how architects can rise to meet the demands of an ever developing planet. Work on zero energy developments has showed how technology and innovation can lead to successful, environmentally sustainable living. Yet further reading into the subject has caused me to question whether people are doing enough to integrate some of the solutions that have been pioneered. I feel that architects should take full advantage of the latest that science can offer, whilst advocating their own advances.
Visiting Richard Rogers’ exhibition at the Royal Academy gave me an insight into his practice’s strong ethos and allowed me to engage in Rogers’ thoughts on a range of subjects. I found his latest designs for low cost housing particularly exciting. They represent a refreshing solution for large scale social housing projects and his drive to use a minimal amount of materials is apparent in their design. It is the work of architects such as Rogers, who strive for progress, which I aspire to.
I have experienced architecture and art from diverse cultures through travel, emphasizing the endless creative and technological possibilities found in art, architecture and design. While walking through favelas in Rio de Janeiro and the backstreets of Hanoi, I noticed the mixture of residential, retail and public spaces within a short distance of each other. Despite difficulties that these areas face, the fusion of occupants and spaces create vibrant districts, encouraging social interaction and trade between people.
This diversity is something that I feel is important in order to help communities engage and develop; as is visible in successful neighbourhoods throughout the world. Visiting a number of Niemeyer’s structures in Brazil on the other hand demonstrated the visual and sculptural qualities of his architecture that has influenced the works of Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and countless others. Both Hadid and Gehry have taken Niemeyer’s use of curves and developed their own ways of working, using new materials to advance the work of their predecessors. In turn I would love to leave my own mark on the continually evolving world of architecture.
Art and extra-curricular life drawing classes have helped me grow as an artist and designer, encouraging me to explore and develop ideas through experimentation, whereas physics and maths have helped to engage my scientific mind. Economics meanwhile has pushed me to develop reasoned verbal and written arguments and then engage in independent study to synthesise classroom learning with unfolding world events.
Since year 10 I have spent a number of weeks working in an architect’s office. Working with both clients and contractors has allowed me to improve my understanding of the processes and challenges involved with architectural projects. The importance of dialogue between clients and architects was visible throughout and it was interesting to see how a conversation could spawn changes in the design. This highlighted to me that an effective design is a progression of ideas and knowledge, bringing to mind Rogers’ use of democratic processes when designing buildings.
I have always enjoyed a challenge and, like sport, architecture is a lifelong challenge that requires years of dedication. Playing multiple sports to a good club level and volunteering to organise and run sports events has demonstrated my leadership, organisation and commitment. This is why I am ideally suited to this discipline. Architecture is not a subject to dip in and out of; I’m in it for the long run.