Blog #11: The Interview

After comparing my skills and how I could transfer them into the discipline of Architecture I thought it would be fitting to choose an architect to interview for this blog. So I spoke to an architect technician at the firm Kirkham Middleton Architects.

Kirkham Middleton Architects is a firm based in Leicester who specialises in both domestic and commercial architectural work. Their work ethic and commitment to all projects they undertake is to ensure client satisfaction, from design, to build, to completion. Their team includes RIBA chartered architects as well as up and coming architects-in-training. They bring a strong mixture of design experience, practical knowledge and forward thinking to your project whether domestic or commercial. They also won an award in 2014 for the recognition of their work and craftsmanship.

Company Logo

Liam, who was the architect I interviewed, graduated from De Montfort university with a degree in architecture and began working at Kirkham Middleton Architects in 2015. I asked him what it was like being an architect and he jokingly replied “Architects have to go through loads of hoops basically” so I asked Liam what it is exactly he does as an architect, he told me to have a look at some RIBA plans of works as this will give me an idea of how an architect does a project.

RIBA Plan

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 organises the process of briefing, designing, constructing, maintaining, operating and using building projects into a number of key stages. It details the tasks and outputs required at each stage, which may vary or overlap to suit specific project requirements. What I like about the RIBA plan is it tells you every step an architect has to take when doing a project and I also like the simplicity of its layout making it very clear to understand.

I asked Liam if there was anything else he wanted to add to that and he replied with “Each stage has to conform to specific rules and regulations set by either local authorities, when doing a planning application, or building regulations when designing and constructing”. What this tells me is that its not all about just designing the building itself but taking in the area that you have to work with and all of the legal work that is required.

Now that I have a better understanding of what an architect does and what regulations they have to follow I then moved on to asking Liam about how he deals with customers, as customers at the end of the day are who pay for projects to be taken place and without customers buildings wouldn’t be designed. Liam told me that its really basic when it comes to dealing with customers so all he had to say was, “We meet with the customers and ask them what they want. After we have listened to them we advise them what is best for them”, I believe the hardest part about dealing with the customers in this discipline, same as many other design based disciples, is that you have to take in what the customer wants as that it what they are paying for but, sometimes what they want to have done could not be fully achieved down to the space they have to work with.

Skills was the final topic of my interview which led to me asking Liam what skills do you need to get into architecture, he listed off a handful of key skills to have, these were “design and drawing skills, maths, IT, communication, analytical and to have a logical approach”. By looking at these skills you can see that there are a few similarities between them and graphic design skills.

Digital and Hand rendered designs from Kirkham Middleton Architects
Housing done by Kirkham Middleton Architects

Taking a brief look at some of their housing work, my personal opinion is that I really like how they have made these houses very modern and how well the structure of them is. From how they look it really gives an impression that the company puts great time and detail into their projects. After this interview and review of Kirkham Middleton Architects I still believe that I could transfer the skills I have gained from studying graphic design into the discipline of architecture, however there are still some skills that I would need to develop.

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