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Part 1: RIBA London and Central St Martins student mentoring scheme

The first 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.

Over the next three days we will hear from both students and their mentors on what the scheme involved for them.

The first student, Anne Bellamy was mentored by Henley Halebrown Rorrison Architects. Here, she recalls her experience:

In our first meeting my mentor Sabine explained her current project - a refurbishment in Siberia. This has really inspired me to push my career interests to working in interior architecture. Seeing how much work goes into the detailing and creation of an architectural space into something liveable has re-ignited what I found interesting about architecture in the first place. It took a long time, and we looked over many things that I would never have given a thought to in my college projects. And although it could have been boring to some learning about sanitary and door schedules, it was intriguing to figure out that communication and liaising with clients and manufacturers is just as big, if not a larger, part of the job as design. Something that is not necessarily “taught” at university, but something I am definitely going to try and improve on.

The other highlight I have taken from this scheme is the meeting with the lighting designer that I sat in on. They discussed technical constraints and environmental restrictions but somehow still managed to maintain the discussion of the atmosphere of the rooms. Whilst before I had the impression of a professional architect’s day as being quite dry, Sabine and the staff at HHbR have shown me that there is so much more to the day to day life than technical drawings, but a side that focuses so greatly on the attention to the tiniest detail, and bringing a space to life.

The architect’s view

Sabine Hogenhout, architect, Henley Halebrown Rorrison

At HHbR we welcomed the students and highlighted how we work in the office, both on a design and an administrative level, to give them an insight into our daily work.

Showing the office structure and explaining everyday project work to fresh eyes reveals that what might seem normal, logical and sometimes even slightly boring contains plenty of interest for others.

The students found out that practice is very different from their college work and that realising a design is a long process with struggles that often don’t involve actual design work. I hope their time in our office also showed them the possibilities within the profession and the challenges that make every day different and offer opportunities for everybody to manifest their ambitions

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