Architecture Personal Statement
Submitted by Bethany
The opportunity to leave a lasting impact is a privilege, and architects are gifted with this in every building they design. This is why I want to study architecture: you have the ability to change the course of someone’s life, purely with what you envisage. An article by Michael Bond discussed this. ‘The hidden ways that architecture affects how you feel’, describes how the design, space and presentation of a building can all have great effects on a persons mood and thoughts, looking at the Pruitt-Igoe apartment blocks as an example. Their demise was blamed on the architecture: the modernist, high rise, blank concrete blocks discouraged a sense of community and the large communal spaces quickly turned into the centre for gang crime. I was intrigued; I found it extraordinary the impact a person’s setting can have on their neurology, as often the architecture of our local environment is overlooked and taken for granted in every day life.
A visit to Barcelona when I was younger leading me to discover Gaudi's work is probably what first inspired me to study architecture: the contrast between the order and rigour that can be seen from a birds-eye view compared to the intense detail that can be seen up close. I am interested in the designing of the Sagrada Familia and how you can see the different time periods and design influences as you walk around the cathedral. Structures like this can be so iconic and meaningful and can stick in the mind of anyone for a lifetime. Art AS level taught me to look at structure and form, specifically in the statues of Matisse, where I found similarities in my sculptural style of life drawing and his ‘Back Series’. It also really helped me to develop my own style meaning I explored lots of different avenues within the media I used and found I really enjoyed the sculptural side, creating many clay pieces as part of my project.
Architecture is about solving problems: whether they be design, space, community or cultural, which is why I feel physics and maths have definitely helped prepare me for studying architecture as they are both centred around problem-solving. The move from GCSE to A-level has definitely been demanding for me but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenge these subjects have posed. For my A2 project in Product Design, I am focusing on inclusive design and I am hoping that my final product will be a coping mechanism to help children with learning disabilities cope with stressful situations. To do this, I am working with my sixth form’s SEN department and I have had to do a lot of research into inclusive design involving working with and interviewing people from charities that support learning disabilities. I am a form prefect for a Year 11 form for whom I mentor and provide peer support to. From this, I have gained great listening and intuitive skills as well as managing a position of responsibility and bridging the link between student and teacher.
I have completed work experience with three different companies. The placements were really provocative as they gave me three almost contrasting environments to work in with completely different types of people. I worked on Sketch-Up to complete a brief on a personal design project, giving me a good grounding in the software. I had to create a 3D plan of the Birmingham office for one of the company’s future use, using a mixture of both CAD and Sketch-Up. I also had an opportunity to practise my sketching and technical drawing and find out about the historical design and architecture of the areas I was working in. I worked with the third company most recently and I thought my time here was very constructive, as I was involved in meetings with structural engineers who were working with the company as well as giving my opinions on some of the projects the company was bidding for. I found all the placements insightful and beneficial, and they definitely improved my understanding and technical ability when it came to sketching and designing.