Interview with an architect


We spoke to Chris Jaume, 25, who is currently completing his Part 2 Architectural Assistant placement as part of his journey to becoming a fully-qualified architect in the UK.

Chris, originally from southeast England, studied his Part 1 at Newcastle University and then went on to complete a year of professional practice. He has recently finished his two years of Part 2 study and is now in a final year of practice, after which he will take the Part 3 exam in order to register as a qualified architect with ARB (Architects Registration Board) and to become a member of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).

We asked him about his study and career so far...


Why did you choose to study architecture?Originally I chose it because it’s a very creative profession, plus the fact that you could have something that you've designed realised in real life. As time progressed, I began to be intrigued by how buildings could affect the way we live, our mood and behaviour. We spend most of our lives in buildings - through architecture you can influence the way people live their lives for the better.

Also, the building industry has the ability to influence 47% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions, so you have the opportunity to reduce negative impacts upon the environment through design.

Why did you choose the particular universities you went to?Both of them were in the top ten in the country for architecture, so that was the key thing. No matter how good the city was, I wouldn't have gone there if the university had a poor course reputation. I chose Newcastle because it was somewhere completely new to me - it threw me out of my comfort zone. It was very far from home; you couldn’t just nip home on the weekend - so it forced you to throw yourself into university life. It was a chance to experience a contrast in people and lifestyle. Also, I’d heard so many people say brilliant things about Newcastle and what a great city it was before I went there.

Manchester, again, was one of the best in the country [for architecture], and was located close to Leeds, where my girlfriend was studying for her PhD. The course structure also appealed, with the studio units taught in a very different way to Newcastle. Choosing to study in Manchester was yet another opportunity to explore a great new city and way of life.

What skills did you learn during your study?During my undergraduate degree, I learnt a huge range of skills, from technical drawing and construction skills - you need to know how things go together on site - through to conceptual and creative skills. We were set various buildings to design, each with a loose brief, and had to present our ideas as they progressed to the rest of the year – verbal and graphic presentation skills were key!