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Part 3: RIBA London and Central St Martins student mentoring scheme

The final of three blogs from students on RIBA London’s mentoring scheme

RIBA London introduced a mentoring scheme in partnership with Central St Martins back in November 2012. The scheme sees Central St Martins students in the final year of their part one matched up in pairs with architect mentors, offering an insight into practice life.

In the last of our blogs, Xenia Pohl, mentored by Woods Bagot, recalls her experience:

I was excited when I heard that Central Saint Martins were to be part of a pilot mentoring scheme with RIBA London. Being in the final year and now only a few months away from graduation, I am consolidating my experience of the past years of study.

I was matched to Woods Bagot, a global architecture and consulting studio. The London based office is the only branch of the company located in Europe and therefore responsible for a variety of projects in different European countries. During my visits I was introduced to several projects, some of them already built and some of them still under construction. I got the chance to visit the showroom of Embassy Gardens in London where I had the opportunity to experience the thoughtfully designed interior spaces of the various apartment types. I found it very interesting to learn about the wide range of projects that the company takes care of – seeing different spatial settings that highlight individual design approaches.

The mentoring scheme provided a valuable insight into the everyday work environment of an architect, giving us as students the opportunity to certify ideas we might have for our future careers. I appreciated being able to experience London, not only from the perspective of a student, but also from the perspective of an architect who is impacting on the cityscape. 

The architect’s view

Sophie McCarthy, associate at Woods Bagot

As a practice we are currently working on a number of residential projects which are all at different stages in the design and construction process. This enabled us to get our mentees involved in design meetings, discussions about the detailed design and the documents required for issue. We also arranged a visit to one of our marketing suites – Embassy Gardens, London – so that they could relate the discussions and drawings to a finished product.

We tried to use our meetings with the students to not only cover all stages of the project but provide an introduction to office life. This scheme was a great opportunity to meet the profession’s future architects, answer their questions and hopefully give them a taster of what life in a practice is really like. 

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