Oliver Smith, former Ludlow College student now working at RRA Architects, delivered a talk about his path from Ludlow to being an architect and all about what it all involves. He additionally gave the students a practical design task giving them an insight into a real-life architectural brief.
“I was born in Ludlow and went to Ludlow CE School where I did ok with my GCSEs, from there I went on to study A Levels at Ludlow College. In my first year I studied Photography, Design Technology, Physics and Maths; I didn’t do my best in the first year as I really struggled but thanks to Colin, my photography teacher, I felt more inspired to go on and do well in my second year. Moving into my second year I decided to drop Physics and Design Technology and pick up Graphic Design, which suited me more than the other two courses.
I then went on to study a four-year joint course in Architecture and Planning at the University of the West of England. When I started the course there were 145 students on it, when I left there were 37; you definitely had to be willing to put in the time and effort to get good results out of it, only then would it be rewarding. Going to university was Part One of my journey to becoming an architect, there are also two other stages; the second being at least a year’s work experience and then you can go back to university to complete a postgraduate degree and then the final step is to complete the final exam after another year’s work experience.
When I first left university I found there weren’t many practises around Ludlow so I initially worked for the council and put the planning part of my degree into action. I then came across a job at RRA Architects and am now an associate based in the Hereford office. I have recently begun my Part Two at Oxford Brookes University, where I am studying for my Master’s Degree in Architecture. A current project of ours is to create The Dunkerton’s Cider Scheme working with Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of fashion brand Superdry, which is in it’s first phase of a very exciting development.”