Studying Architecture – my Favourite Projects so far

Is this just a way to shamelessly promote my work? Maybe. But if you’re thinking of studying architecture, or if you’ve already started studying it, this could give you a clue as to what might be to come.

Year 1 – Shelter

Space, Form and Structure

For this project, we had to design a shelter to go on the dry docks in Dundee. This was our first introduction to a lot of the principles of construction, and the relationship between space, form and structure.

The first part of the project was quite experimental; we had to build a model to suspend an apple 42cm above and 42cm beyond where the base of the model was sitting. Although by the end of the week my design didn’t actually work (and I had to rebuild it for submission), I had learnt a lot about constructing a cantilever, which we would be doing in the next stage of the project.

We then had to create an actual shelter that people could use that was cantilevered over the dock. For our submission, we had to make a detailed model, which taught me a lot about primary and secondary structures. Although it wasn’t technically the best model ever, it’s still the favourite one I’ve ever made.

Year 2 – The Secret Garden

A Space of Appearance

This project aimed to create a very public space in the Golden Lane Estate in London, by drawing on the knowledge gained from the theories presented by Hannah Arendt in her book – ‘The Human Condition’, as well as visiting public spaces on the South Bank and the Barbican Centre in London.

From analysing these theatres, I decided that my design should have four key elements: the studios, the foyer spaces, the bridge, and the auditorium. As the public travel through these spaces they are taken on a kind of journey that plays on the themes of openness and privacy, of transparency and secrecy.

I enjoyed this project a lot because it was a chance to experiment with different materials, and to create more than just one type of space. We also got the chance to travel to London, which is somewhere I’d never been before.

Year 3 – The Help of a Good Book

Conceiving and Constructing Architecture

For this project, the brief was to design a functional and interesting public building in Edinburgh. The site was located on the east side of the city, in the Canongate area, with access from the Royal Mile through an alleyway. Some challenges of the site were the different levels and an existing building that would have to be removed.

The overall concept of my design was to create a library for fiction books in the heart of the city, with a focus on wellbeing and mental health (which if you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll be able to see how important it is to me). There would be quiet, private rooms for counselling, which could also be used for classes or small book clubs, with advance booking available. At the rear of the site, there will be a garden, to allow people to sit, read and relax outside.

There were a lot of things to think about for the design, in terms of safety and comfort for the people who visit, as well as the technological elements and sustainability of the building itself. This was challenging, but it taught me a lot of valuable things. I hoped that this building could help improve people’s mental health, by giving access to somewhere to escape from the real world with the help of a good book.

Written by:

Hello, I'm Eleanor, and I'm a 3rd-year Architecture student. Although this keeps me very busy, in my spare time I like dancing and watching TV. I'll be sharing my experiences of university so far, so that you don't have to make the same mistakes I do!

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