International Women’s Day is a day to reflect, embrace and celebrate women around the world. As part of International Women’s Day, we would like to celebrate and showcase some of the women in our office and their creative talents. This week we caught up with Charlotte Hall, a very talented Architectural Assistant who is currently on her university placement with us. Charlotte has gone from strength-to-strength since starting her BArch (Hons) Architecture at Loughborough University. She specialises in the art of CGIs and 3D rendering and recently received the Year 2 Best 3D Visualisation Award.
What made you choose Urban Edge as the company you would like to go on placement with?
“I was interested in Urban Edge as they work on a variety of projects in a variety of sectors so I would and have been able to gain a broad spectrum of knowledge. This has enabled me to distinguish what areas I enjoy the most and where I need further skill development to achieve my professional goals.”
What are your day-to-day responsibilities within Urban Edge?
“I typically work on modelling existing buildings in SketchUp based off 2D CAD plans, designing public spaces and rendering proposed design options in Enscape to submit to the client for review. I am also involved in feasibility studies where I have been able to explore my creative ideas at a professional level by producing a multitude of different design options for projects. I get the chance to work with the whole team every day simply by being involved in so many projects simultaneously! This has enabled me to gain a broad spectrum of knowledge by learning from each of my colleagues.”
What have you learnt so far whilst being with Urban Edge?
“I have learnt new software, the process of work and how to communicate ideas to clients effectively and clearly through observing meetings. I have also gained an understanding of how to communicate a concept via sketches, renders, drawings, and presentations by having an involvement in a variety of projects in different sectors and being able to see how this differs from sector to sector.”
What has been your favourite project to work on and why?
“I recently worked on a project to design a public square which I found really enjoyable because I love creating spaces where communities can come together and enhance neighbourhood relationships through design.”
How has working on live projects improved your practice and knowledge within the industry?
“Working on live projects has allowed me to be exposed to multiple stages of work and begin to understand the role of the Architect vs the contractor and others involved, as well as how they collaborate together.”
Has this placement given you opportunities to meet your learning goals?
“Definitely! I have been exposed to new software that I have had to pick up quickly which will be beneficial when I return for my final year at university as I will be able to utilise a greater range of techniques to communicate my designs. I have also been exposed to client meetings which has enabled me to observe first-hand the level of professionalism that the Architect must achieve when conversing with clients.”
Has this placement helped you to decide if this is the type of work that you wish to pursue?
“Yes, architecture in practice is a lot different to architecture at university so being exposed to live projects has helped me to understand the reality of being an Architect. It has solidified my career path as I now know how much I enjoy working with others in a practice to achieve and exceed the client’s vision.”
What specific knowledge have you learnt or enhanced during this placement?
“I have been able to gain an insight of what is required for each of the RIBA stages of work, helping me understand what is required within an Architect’s role. I have been mostly working in Stages 1-3 so I have an in-depth understanding of what is required within the concept, feasibility and planning stages by being involved in concept design but also the submission of planning applications. I have had the opportunity to be involved in client meetings where I have been able to observe how to communicate an idea clearly to a client which will be a very useful skill to take back to university.”
What practical skills have you applied or further developed during this placement?
“I have been able to develop my 3D rendering skills by using Enscape to produce realistic and well-composed images. I really enjoy utilising this skill as it showcases the full potential of the design to the client and I have found it very rewarding training others in this software, helping them progress with their own professional development whilst moving forward with my own.”
Are there any Architects that have inspired you?
“Daniel Libeskind has inspired me through his ability to celebrate both tradition and innovation particularly in his design for the Royal Ontario Museum which uses the juxtaposition of the old and the new to enhance each other’s features, creating a luminous beacon of tourism.”
What has been your favourite memory so far at Urban Edge?
“The Christmas party is my favourite memory so far as playing Taskmaster was a great team building exercise and it was very enjoyable seeing a different side to everyone, getting to know them outside of the office.”
Is there any advice you would give to future students on placement?
“Throw yourself into the work and get involved in office discussions to make the most out of your experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and approach work colleagues for advice, they all want to help you and are there for your support.”