We spoke to Charlotte, one of our Architectural Designers, to find out more about her and why she decided to study architecture.
Why did you choose to study architecture? It seems cliche however I have been interested in design since I was a young age – always on the hunt for my next build (I spent a lot of time in the garage with my Dad’s tool box). As I grew older this innate design translated into a fascination of the interaction of people and architecture – and how the building facilitates the person. I wanted to study architecture to learn about how we can design for people, creating an awareness of physical experience either emotionally or physically through aspects such as materiality, lighting and spatial journey.
What piece of knowledge would you give to students of architecture? Perseverance. There were a lot of times that I didn’t think architecture was for me – design is a frustrating process and with that comes a lot of self-doubt. However, the biggest piece of advice I would give is don’t let architecture consume your 24 hours a day – in the studio environment it’s very easy to do this and everyone was guilty of it! Having a hobby outside of the studio freshens up your mind and most often allows you to think clearer when you come back. For me that was running or the gym, even just 30 minutes away from design makes a huge difference.
What is your favourite building? It’s hard to narrow this down to just one! My earliest memory of architecture and a building I have visited numerous times is Alnwick Gardens Treehouse by Napper Architects. It reminds me of my childhood running over the suspended rope bridges and brings a sense of nostalgia each time I visit. The trees are unconstrained by the structure and continue to grow, the actual structure which is made from engineered timber blends into the setting perfectly. My favourite thing about it is that each season completely changes the visit as the landscape changes, the tones of the Autumn compliment the natural wooden structure and highlights the shingle detailing. The main feature is the restaurant which is a must visit and features a log fire and hand carved wooden furnishing – a true celebration of the timber materiality.
What books do you have on your bedside table? As much as I love architecture – when it comes to books my topic of choice is normally sport, my latest read being North by Scott Jurek – an ultra runner embarking on the 2189 mile Appalachian Trail and attempting to set a speed record. Even if you’re a non-runner it’s such an inspirational read that narrates a mental and physical adventure that displays pure perseverance and determination. Another book I highly recommend, which is a bit closer to home, is The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd. She narrates a beautiful story about walking in the Caingorm mountains in Scotland, which aims to invigorate and embody the readers senses as if actually on the walk yourself.
What have you seen on recent travels that inspired you? I recently visited Kielder Forest Park and was fascinated by their unique collection of visual Art and Architecture which are nestled among the natural landscape. Each piece is completely different and challenges your perception. My favourite was James Turrell’s sculpture ‘Kielder Skyspace’ which is designed to manipulate our normal perceptions of light and space which is really something that inspired me. The architecture itself is very simple – a neutrally coloured circular room with benches running around the perimeter – however the main feature is the large opening towards the sky. In the day the room is naturally lit, dependent on the weather it completely changes the atmosphere in the room. At night LED lighting is used to completely transform the space and as Kielder is a Dark Skies area on a clear night it is truly special.
To find out more about Charlotte, take a look at her CV here.
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