Q&A: Meet our newly-qualified architects
We are thrilled to welcome five newly-qualified Architects to our team based in Nottingham. Congratulations to Helen McGhee, James Morris, Matthew Palmer, Michael Photiou and Georgina Rathbone who have recently received their Master of Architecture degrees (M.Arch.).
We offer the chance for students to work as architectural assistants gaining practical experience throughout their studies. There is the potential for the best students be offered a job once they have passed their final exams.
As one of the most demanding professional qualifications to complete, we spoke to each of them about their journey to becoming fully-qualified architects.
What inspired you to get into architecture as a career choice?
Matthew: When I was younger, I was interested in learning more about how the elements of a building fit together and how to create the desired outcome, I think this is what really sparked my interest.
Michael: I was always intrigued by the notion of creating something that could benefit society, as well as the relationship between buildings and how they affect our daily lives.
Georgie: Unlike many of my colleagues, I didn’t always know that I wanted to be an architect. I loved art and maths at school and I wanted to find a career where I could combine the two; architecture seemed the most logical choice.
James: I have always been fascinated how architecture can influence people’s lives, experiences and memories.
What direction do you think you want to follow now you’re a qualified architect?
James: I have a key interest in design and would like to move towards more aesthetic focused projects which could utilise my strongest asset.
Matthew: I want to focus on educational, office, civic and ecclesial sectors whilst incorporating my specialist interests. I think I will always want to keep a wide breadth of project variety to keep things interesting.
Helen: I would like to expand more on residential, having only just started working in the residential team I’d like to be more involved in CPMG’s future residential projects.
Are you interested in any specific areas of architecture?
Georgie: I am really passionate about converting beautiful historic buildings into useful spaces suitable for modern needs. I love the juxtaposition of old and new.
Matthew: I am very keen on environmental sustainability and using a range of different materials on building structures. I enjoy working on projects where I can think about how we can lower the carbon costs, reduce energy demand, reuse, recycle and reduce material usage.
James: My passion is creating spaces which people can enjoy collaboratively, using natural materials to help create a sense of wellbeing, especially with the use of natural and tactile materials such as timber – something which CPMG already do a lot of in its designs.
Helen: I am particularly interested in offices and commercial headquarters, I thoroughly enjoyed working on a particular project at CPMG where I was solely responsible for several design elements within this sector.
Are there any projects you particularly enjoyed working on?
James: Market Rasen Leisure Centre, the planners had specific constraints for this site, making the design challenging and interesting. I have thoroughly enjoyed this process as it has enabled me to see the creation of a design which I believe to be practical yet aesthetically pleasing.
Georgie: There are a number of projects that I have enjoyed being involved in but the ones that stand out in my mind are Harris Academy and De Montfort Students’ Union.
Matthew: The one that stood out for me is 23 Goldsmith Street – a commercial building in Nottingham on behalf of Nottingham Trent University. I have seen it evolve with my own experience and learnt so much from this project.
What tips do you have for someone considering a career in architecture?
Helen: Be confident. There is a lot of responsibility to take on, but see it as an exciting opportunity. Find a company, like CPMG, which works across a range of project types, sizes, and sectors which provides the broad experience needed for your PEDR sheets and case studies which are required in all Part 3 courses.
Matthew: Keep up to date with new information and regulations, especially in areas that you may not directly be involved in or work on day-to-day. There is so much information to be aware of but CPMG has been helpful in teaching us how to take what we learnt in principle and being able to apply it to real world situations.
James: Take advantage of all learning opportunities. I acted as a job runner for Springwell Academy in Grantham which helped me to develop my skills and provide self-confidence in my work.
Michael: Part 3 was by no means an easy undertaking, aside from all the professional aspects I studied, it was during this year I learnt how to truly achieve and maintain a work life balance. Having to complete all our university work whilst still being subject to the demands of a full time job was undeniably challenging, yet it was ultimately an insightful learning experience.
To find out more about career opportunities at CPMG, please visit our careers page https://www.cpmg-architects.com/about/careers.