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11th Oct 2019

Top Four Universities to Study Architecture in the UK

Top Four Universities to Study Architecture in the UK

It is always really difficult when deciding which university will provide the best education for you. I have found the top 4 universities in the UK for Architecture. This is according to the complete university guide’s Architecture League Table 2020.

 

1: Bath

The University of Bath has featured at the top of the Architecture UK university rankings a number of times. It is very competitive and certainly held in high regard. In a study to evaluate graduate destination and employers in 2017, leavers went on to secure roles with some of the notable firms such AHMM, Grimshaw and Purcell. Very impressive!

https://www.bath.ac.uk/departments/department-of-architecture-civil-engineering/

 

 

2: Cambridge

Their architecture department specializes in urban and contextual design, teaching, and sustainable building design research. It is no secret that The University of Cambridge is extremely well known and the conditions to securing a position are definitely no walk in the park. They are known to have some of the highest rates of employment across Architecture departments an impressive 98% of graduates securing employment/further study 6 months after graduating and even more impressive, a 85% of graduates going directly into employment.

https://www.arct.cam.ac.uk/

 

 

3: Sheffield

They provide undergraduate degrees in Architecture, and Architecture and Landscape. They also offer the chance to opt for the four-year MEng degree in Structural Engineering and Architecture. The University of Sheffield have excellent links with the architecture profession through their industry partnerships and their network of graduates. They often have guest lectures from Architects who lead some of the UK’s top practices. They also host a Summer Exhibition employer’s event; this allows final year students to meet architects who are actively looking to employ graduates.

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/architecture

 

 

4: UCL

It is no surprise that every year, the world-renowned Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London are listed as one of the top universities in the UK for Architecture. I mean, they are situated amongst some of England’s most well known structures. So it is safe to say, there will be no lack of inspiration! Earlier this year, they launched a new 5 years integrated masters degree and have started to accept application as of this month! This is an accelerated model, compressing the part 1 and 2 route, along with a final year on placement into a 5-year consecutive course.

 

There you have it! The top four universities rated for 2019, if you are looking to have a career within Architecture, you can certainly add these to your lists!

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/architecture/

By Sonet Mudiliya

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17th Jul 2019

Four must see unusual buildings in Europe!

Four must see unusual buildings in Europe!

by Sonet Mudiliyar

 

I have been doing some research into some of the most unusual buildings in Europe which are all stunning buildings and unique in their own right.

So if you find yourself booking a trip to Poland, Belguim, Czech Republic or Spain – here’s something for you to do!

 

Sopot, Poland

Krzywy Domek is a building in Sopot, Poland. It is 43,000 sq ft, built in 2004 and designed by Szotyńscy & Zaleski. This building that looks like something straight out of a fairy tale houses restaurants, shops, and a radio station. If you find yourself in Sopot – be sure to check out this warped building.

 

Brussels,Belguim 

Atomuim is a landmark building in Brussels, Belguim. It is stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (60 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected, so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It was designed by engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak. It contains a restaurant and also provides stunning panoramic views of Brussels. Be sure to check this landmark off your list when you visit!

 

Prague, Czech Republic 

The Dancing House is a nickname given to Nationale-Nederlanden building on the Rašín Embankment. The building was co designed by architect Vlado Milunić and architect Frank Gehry. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996.The building consists of nine floors of predominately offices, a hotel and a restaurant. This is definitely a must see in Brussels.

 

Bilbao, Spain

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is of course situated in Bilbao, Spain. The 350,000 sq ft building was designed by architect Frank Gehry. When the musuem opened to the public in 1997, it was immediately hailed as one of the world’s most spectacular buildings in the style of Deconstructivism. It is a combination of interconnecting shapes of stone, glass and titanium. It is completely eye catching and happens to be right next to the water. If you are planning a boat tour, be sure to swing by and check this beauty out!

There you have it, these are in my opinion are some of the most bizarre yet intriguing buildings I have seen. Whether you can appreciate all of their architectural complexities or just simply find them an eye soar – either way it will capture your attention!

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28th May 2019

Interviewing!

Interviewing!

It is completely natural to feel anxious or nervous ahead of a big interview. Fear gets the better of most of us from time to time. You’re sat in front of your new potential boss and might be scared to say the wrong thing. So I have prepared 3 tips to help you during interviews.

 

1. Research is key. You need to do your research, this is your chance to shine! Now when I say research, I don’t mean the type of research you would do for a school project, where you would hit up Wikipedia and regurgitate it word for word. No no – this won’t do. I mean going on to the companies website and writing down 5 facts.

For me I find the best 5 facts are company name, year founded, directors, locations/countries of offices and lastly any noticeable awards/achievements. Of course this can vary with the type of company and industry. Once you have the 5 facts, then just spend time memorising them and then try to use them in the conversation naturally. Also use the facts to ask questions, if asked why did you choose to apply? (common question). You could say; I thought it was really impressive when I saw that the company was only founded in 2015 but it’s now the leading company in the industry. I can also see you have just opened two offices, one in USA and other in Canada – whats next? Don’t ever think you can skip this step, even if you have had a lot of interview practice and you are a very confident person. I can guarantee 9 times out of 10 companies would appreciate the homework because it goes a long way!

 

2. Slow and steady wins the race! Now I am not sure if you are like me and speak at the speed of light but slowing down will help a lot. It will make you seem more relaxed, more confident and actually allow you to get your message understood. My 3 top tips for slowing down are simple;

a) Controlling your breathing. Taking deep breaths before the interview and during the interview, and when listening to the interviewer speak. This will calm you down and have you thinking clearly.

b) Pausing before you speak, will help if you normally start speaking as soon someone stops. This can be an issue as you might not have given yourself enough time to think about the best answer. You might find yourself waffling on and then half way through you have completely gone off on a tangent – you find yourself asking, Sorry what was the question again. It is easy to avoid this,

it just takes practice! I would say waiting 3 seconds would help. 1, 2, 3 – Answer!

c) Having a drink of water? Seems random but actually making sure you are hydrated and drinking water helps more than you would think. You will be doing a lot of talking and putting that voice box to work, best to have the water to sip in between questions. It also helps to pace yourself when answering questions, if you have been listening for a while and it is your time to speak, taking a sip will give you time to think of an answer sometimes!

 

3. Keeping it professional! I know all interviews are different and have completely different styles but I would not suggest going straight into the interview talking about the latest episode of Game of thrones or talking about what a heavy night it was last night at the pub. Most would think this is common sense but when you are nervous, you sometimes cannot control it. Most structures for interviews will ask talk about them and what they do, talk about you (work history), talk about the role, talk about you in the role, answer any questions and then lastly get to know you as a person (hobbies). As you can tell it is most likely right at the end and once they have a good idea of your professional history and ambitions. My advice would be to remember no matter how friendly the conversation at the end is, they are not your friends so bare that in mind and remember it is still an interview.

I hope the tips above are helpful in securing your dream job. I guarantee if you follow these tips and be yourself, you will feel calmer and present your self in the best, most professional way.

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29th Mar 2019

What is the best bus route to see some of London’s best sights?

What is the best bus route to see some of London’s best sights?

I was recently discussing this subject in the office and was roundly and (probably rightly) accused of being a massive geek for doing so. The thing is though; I love taking a bus through town, much more so than the underground.

Yes, the underground is quicker. I’ll give you that. However if you are like me and hate the crowds, the feeling of being fired through a tunnel in a sardine can and the infuriating people who walk through tube stations on their phone getting in your way – the bus is better.

And the king of all bus routes is the number 11, Fulham Town Hall to Bank.

Why?  To start in some of the wealthiest areas of the capital with their amazing townhouses and gardens and to finish in the financial capital of the world with it’s skyscrapers, grand old banks and trading houses is a great watch from the top deck, all for £1.20 as well.

Some of the journey’s key sights to look out for on the way are:

  • Parliament Square (for Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben)

  • Whitehall (for 10 Downing St & Horse Guards Parade & St James’s Park)

  • Trafalgar Square (for the National Gallery & National Portrait Gallery)

  • The Strand (for Covent Garden)

  • Fleet St (for Temple Church)

  • St Paul’s Churchyard (for St Paul’s Cathedral, the Museum of London, the Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern)

So the next time you find yourself at a lose end hop on a number 11 bus, get one of the best seats right at the front on the top deck, put that great new album you’ve just discovered in your ears and enjoy the greatest London bus route!

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22nd Mar 2019

Local restaurant review #4 Cecconis

Local restaurant review #4 Cecconis

We recently visited Cecconis Shoreditch for a team lunch after it opened a few months back; we have heard nothing but recommendations and good reviews so we decided to check it out for ourselves.

Cecconis is nestled in the bohemian enclave of Redchurch Street in Shoreditch and as we stepped off Redchurch Street Into the spacious foyer area enclosed by a stunning Art Deco bar, the interior is simple but elegant and takes you right to the heart of Northern Italy.

We were greeted by the charming Maitre’D who showed us to our table and talked us through the specials. Our waitress was friendly, engaging and helpful and took her time to talk us through menu. We started with a selection of entres to share: The zuchini fritti with lemon aioli were incredibly light and crispy, the waitress recommended the Truffle Arancini which was superb, and the burrata with cherry tomatoes and basil was as juicy as they come and was complimented by the spicy tomato king prawns.

For mains my friends chose the black truffle wood fired pizza, which was exquisite and was more than enough for one, and could easily be shared. My other friend had the Atlantic Cod with cannellini beans, nduja and mussells. the fish was a little dry but still very palatable and the mussels were cooked to perfection; light and full of texture. I plumped for the Seabass with confit tomato and basil “guazetto” The seabass was cooked in its juices and was moist and full of flavour, I would highly recommend the black truffle pizza or the seabass. We had a bottle of the Soave Classico which really complimented the sea bass particularly well

After the mains we were all so full we decided against a dessert but were immediately harangued by our colleagues as we arrived back to the office for not sampling the “luxurious” desserts, which by all accounts are “superb” aswell. Atleast we shall have something to look forward to next time….

Cecconis

58-60 Redchurch St, Shoreditch, London E2 7DP

Lunch for 4 people (including drinks and tips) £95

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15th Mar 2019

Interior design Instagram profiles for inspiration!

Interior design Instagram profiles for inspiration!

We all have those moments where we want a change. Change can come in many forms but the biggest change after health or career – would of course be your home.

If we look into why; in the average week (Monday to Sunday), we have a total of 168 hours. When we break this down (on average), we spend 50 hours working (including commuting), 25 hours socialising (including weekends), 5 hours working out and rest is spend at home. That’s around 88 hours spent in your home, of course this includes on average 49 hours we sleep but this is still a large amount of time.

So this got me thinking.. What type of changes would we want in the home? Well before we get to thinking about revamping, de-cluttering or getting our fengshui on, we all need a little bit of inspiration first to warm up the engine.

I have searched Instagram and want to share three of my favourite Interior Design pages to get your creative juices flowing.

 

1.

Name: @Jungalow

Followers: 1.1M followers

Theme: Indoor plants inspiration and decoration

Summary: If you have green fingers and love plants both inside and outside – this is gram for you. Their images will have you running to nearest Homebase or B&Q.

Fun fact plants are not only good for environment but some have added health benefits main one being the ability to reduce everyday stresses/strains. So next time you have a stressful day, curl up next to a lavender plant!

 

2.

Name: @Inspire_me_home_decor

Followers: 5.5M followers

Theme: High End Home Decor Inspiration

Details of Founder: The Founder is @Farahjmerhi

Summary: They feature dream living spaces tailored to everyone. Whether you looking for Contemporary, Modern or Shabby Chic – they have it all. If you just want inspiration for a visually/aesthetically appealing space for killer gram pictures or a beautiful family home – check them out.

 

3.

Name: @ettoresottsass

Followers: 110k

Theme: Home and Art Inspiration (Bold colours)

 Details of Founder: @Raquelcayre

Summary: If you’re love bright colours and not afraid to show it – this gram is for you. Their use of pop colours combinations will not only inspire you to create beautiful spaces but will also have your rooms looking revitalised and full of energy.

So thats it, they are of some of my favourite pages for inspiration. As you can tell, these are of course aimed all you do-it-yourselfers. Next time I will share my top 5 Interior Design companies in the UK that create home spaces for you. Keep your eyes pealed!

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12th Mar 2019

Marmite Architecture

Marmite Architecture

Love and hatred needn’t be confined to a black sticky paste, it can be applied to buildings.

Love them or hate them, here is my top 5 of the UK’s Marmite gems.

 

  • 20 Ambleside Avenue property

This one has to be top of my list, with many mixed reviews, this low energy family home based in a conservation area in South London looks like a mini factory to me, with the red bricks and solar panels on the top, I certainly could not see myself living there, but there are a lot of lovers of this building out there and it definitely stands out a building you wont forget it you ever pass it.

https://www.bdonline.co.uk/carbuncle-cup/carbuncle-cup-20-ambleside-avenue-london-by-pace-jefford-moore-architects-/5095009.article

 

  • Unite Stratford City

Having lived in Stratford city myself, the Unite student accommodation building was not a development that I was fond off to begin with but the more I looked at it, it really grew on me. What do you think?

http://www.bdp.com/en/projects/p-z/unite-stratford-one/

 

  • The Renaissance Hotel

This hotel in Deansgate Manchester, I must say leaves a very sour taste in my mouth, this to me looks like an old run down block of apartments that needs to be demolished and re started, but in saying that many Architects still love this building and say if it was cleaned up it could go back to its former glory.

Could you picture a getaway in this Manchester Hotel?

https://www.google.com/search?q=renaissance+hotel+manchester+deansgate&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjQ9Mi5pvDgAhUqShUIHSOsAd8Q_AUIDygC&biw=1440&bih=821#imgrc=Ray6RIUsHjBl9M:

 

  • Walkie Talkie building

This building certainly causes some controversy, with many people that love the building and others just think it’s outrageous. I personally think it’s very quirky and cool and creative, it looks to me like a bit like very large version of an actual walkie talkie.

https://www.google.com/search?q=walkie+talkie+building&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwir46SyqvDgAhWEr3EKHaiWAt4Q_AUIDigB&biw=1440&bih=821#imgrc=vUmoahgwPswy3M:

 

  • The Shard

Number 5 for me is The Shard building, also referred too as Shard of glass is the tallest building in United Kingdom and the tallest building in the European union. Having been to the restaurant (Aqua Shard) I must say I like the building, but this has caused some controversy with people saying its an imposing landmark. What are your thoughts?

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/jul/04/the-shard-skyline-landmark

 

So there you go, five monstrosities or 5 masterpieces, I make no apology for highlighting theses marmite structure’s as it is better to Architecture that is outstanding then buildings that are bland and safe.

What are your top 5 Marmite buildings?

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22nd Feb 2019

Concrete is cool – our favourites!

Concrete is cool – our favourites!

We recently posted a Guardian news article across our social media channels about “how concrete became the ultimate lifestyle concept.” It’s true – concrete has never
been cooler!

Therefore we have compiled a list of our favourite concrete builds.
The Barbican Estate, London – no list of concrete structures would be complete without the mammoth, brutalism beauty that is the Barbican Estate. Designed by
architecture firm Chamberlin, Powell and Bon the sprawling estate was built in an area that was devastated by WWII and is well worth it’s Grade II listed status.
https://thespaces.com/brutalist-beauty-the-barbican-estates-value-soars/

 

Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town – 100 years+ of concrete structures to choose from and this gem by Heatherwick Studio was only completed last year means it must be good to make our list. It is good. It’s incredible. A recent addition to Time Out’s top 50 experiences in the world as well as numerous architecture awards and accolades I
would go so far as saying it’s my favourite Heatherwick project to date.
http://www.heatherwick.com/project/zeitz-mocaa/

 

Boston City Hall, Boston – Opened in 1968 this brutalism gem has been heavily criticised over the years for it’s blunt and harsh exterior but I love it. Architects Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnell were tasked to produce a City Hall that imposed and impressed and it certainly does that.
https://www.architectmagazine.com/design/buildings/architects-look-forward-and-back-at-boston-city-hall-and-plaza_o

 

Falling Water, Pennsylvania – possibly the most famous concrete building ever and certainly one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most loved buildings this beautiful structure is
on most architecture geeks must see before you die lists. Exquisite. Did you know Wright is rumoured to have sketched the design for this property in just two hours?
Wow!
https://mymodernmet.com/frank-lloyd-wright-fallingwater-house/

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24th Jan 2019

TOP 10 BRITISH RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE PROJECTS OF 2018 

TOP 10 BRITISH RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE PROJECTS OF 2018 

As we welcome 2019, Architecture Consultant Hannah has been looking at some of the new and exciting projects coming up this year and also reflecting on her favourite British architecture residential projects of 2018. 

 

For those looking to transform their homes and in need of some inspiration take a look now at Hannah’s top 10 projects of 2018.

 

– Lochside House 

https://www.haysomwardmiller.co.uk/photos-8/lochside_house.html

 

15 Clerkenwell Close (Mixed-use office and residential)

http://groupwork.uk.com/#

 

Weybridge property

http://www.hobandesign.co.uk/projects/weybridge

 

Cannon place

https://minaleandmann.com/residential-portfolio/cannon-place/

 

Manhatten loft gardens Stratford city

https://www.som.com/projects/manhattan_loft_gardens

 

– 3 Bedroom property in East London

http://www.martanowicka.com/

 

Glass box

https://www.guarnieri.co.uk/#/projects/victorian-remix/

 

Queens Gate sky home

https://risedesignstudio.co.uk/projects/index.php/queens-gate-sky-home/

 

Beaulieu Keep

https://www.tatehindle.co.uk/projects/beaulieu/

 

Old Shed New house

http://www.tonkinliu.co.uk/project/old-shed-new-house

 

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4th Jan 2019

New year, fresh start?

New year, fresh start?

2019 is upon us! We’ve all had our fill of partying over the festive break and I don’t know about you but I don’t want to see another cheese board until at least March…

The new year brings fresh hopes and dreams for the next 12 months. Grand plans to maybe change your lifestyle, book that holiday adventure you’ve always wanted to go on or even move home. We can’t directly help you with any of that but what we can do is help to change your career, the foundation for which everything else can follow.

I’m often asked by family friends when is the best time to look for a new job. The answer to that is easy, whenever you’re truly ready to commit to making that move. A lot of people like to flirt with change but when it comes to the crunch it’s “just not the right time.”

January is as close to the perfect time as ever. Christmas and new year are out of the way, everyone is taking a break from spending, the kids are back at school and the bleakness of winter keeps us all indoors. So take full advantage of the crappiest month of the year and make that change.

I’ll give you a tip – I like to ask candidates I work with to write down a list of everything they want from a new role; responsibilities, commute distance, salary, benefits, hours, social scene, everything! Then rank those in order from most important to least important. Be completely honest, there really is no point in fooling yourself. When you have a list take it with you when you meet your recruitment consultant for the first time. They will love your organisation and efficiency. Trust me!

All of our consultants have been doing their job for a long time. They know their markets and they have great relationships with their clients. Want to chat through your list with us? Give us a call.

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2nd Jan 2019

Commonly asked questions and advice for candidates: Portfolios and presenting your work

Commonly asked questions and advice for candidates: Portfolios and presenting your work

What do clients look for in a portfolio?

 

Here at BlackSofa, we try to work on fewer jobs so that we can spend more time with our clients and candidates to provide them with a more personal and higher quality service. We pride ourselves on meeting ALL of our candidates on a personal level and take our time to look and talk through portfolios with candidates and spend as much time as it takes to understand you and your work, giving feedback and advice on what is a very personal subject, your portfolio (Your greatest hits album!)

 

We ask all candidates to present their portfolios to us, as:

  1. a) This gives us a much clearer understanding of your work and allows us to help you find suitable studios to match your requirements and passions
  2. b) Allows us to provide constructive feedback on your presentations and help improve presenting skills as most design interviews will involve presenting your portfolio. Presenting projects is also an important skill to have when presenting to clients or pitching for new business, and will become more prevalent as you rise through the ranks.

 

I specialise in landscape architecture, urban design and planning so my advice will be particularly aimed at those fields but the examples will be interchangeable and apply equally to other architecture and design specialisms.

 

What do you want to convey in your portfolio?

 

Designers are rightfully very proud and protective of their portfolios as it should encapsulate your career to date. A good portfolio should display as broad a range of experience, designs, sectors and software’s as possible, and should also demonstrate an evolution of your experience and career. I am often asked: “Should I include university work in my portfolio? And Should I include projects or graphics that were collaborative or outsourced?” The short answer to both questions is YES!

 

I still work with some leading directors in the industry who are still proud of projects they completed at university and include these in their portfolio today to show the evolution of their work. As with explaining any design process (which I will come to later) it is not about where you end up that clients want to see but how you got there, and showing the evolution of yourself through your work and projects is a useful way of explaining who you are through your experiences.

 

A portfolio should also mirror in some ways a development brochure/report i.e have a professional mixture of images, technical details, renders and text supporting and explaining your design process and concept, whilst simultaneously telling the story of the project. it should not be a selection of unrelated images! Though not all of the images or text on the page need to be your own.

 

Almost all professional projects are collaborative processes; this should not stop you including outsourced renders or other people’s contributions. Just be honest when explaining your contribution to the interviewer, for example: “ I was responsible for the conceptual design with directorial supervision, the renders were outsourced and I led on the design code while my colleague led on the technical detailing”

 

An easy way to give the reader or interviewer a brief overview of each project, is having a corner box or header laying out the client, sub consultants, location, project brief i.e Residential masterplan for 250 units in Sevenoaks, Kent for Barrett homes (fictional example of course!). This sounds obvious but will save you time explaining to your interviewers the basic overview of every project, giving you more time to explain your design process and responsibilities on the project. It also adds to the impression of clarity and a professional layout.

 

Who is your audience?

 

The key to any interview is understanding your audience i.e the studio and role you are interviewing for. I will always give you a detailed briefing on any studio prior to interview, and provide links to the studios projects, who you will be meeting, and what they will look for from you. However personal research is also important to get a better understanding of the studio for yourself and to evaluate: What skill sets/experience are they looking for from you? What are their specialities/key project areas? It is often a good idea to have a few projects that you can interchange into your portfolio to demonstrate various skill sets, sector experience, project stages worked on and software used.

 

Interviews and portfolios rely on the interviewers or readers perceptions, so if you do not demonstrate various skill sets, stages, sectors etc how is the interviewer meant to know you have that experience? So always try and demonstrate a broad selection but also tailor your samples to the specific client/role. For instance if the job spec is looking for a senior landscape architect to lead on technical detailing and you know the studio predominantly works on residential projects using Revit. If you have experience in these areas, it stands to reason that your chances of securing the role increase exponentially if you include and highlight projects that demonstrate these skill sets.

 

Some candidate’s work on very similar projects due to the nature of the studio they work for. However if this is the case, for example an urban designer who has predominantly worked on greenfield residential masterplans. It is beneficial to include as much diversity as possible to showcase the range of your abilities, whether this is displaying any other sector projects you have worked on at previous studios such as health, residential, mixed use etc, different RIBA stages worked on (clients like to see experience in as many RIBA stages as possible) so it is always good to highlight this when you are presenting in an interview.

 

Another question I get asked a lot is by candidates working on predominantly international projects is “How do I make my portfolio more attractive to studios working on primarily or solely UK projects?” The answer to this is to highlight the UK projects you have worked on in your portfolio and spend more time presenting these in an interview to demonstrate you understand the differences between working on International projects vs UK projects it is easy to get pigeon holed by employers as you could have an incredible portfolio of doing ground breaking projects that you would never get the scope to work on in the UK such as masterplanning a new city for 50,000 people in Africa or landscaping a Middle Eastern Princes palace. But the reality is that the scale, scope and differences in working on these projects have little relevance to most UK projects which are on a completely different scale.

 

If you are looking for a new role and it is likely you will be interviewing at maybe a few studios, it is worthwhile practicing presenting your portfolio. As with anything in life, the more times you do it, the better you become at it. Not everyone is naturally comfortable or confident standing up and presenting to strangers in an interview, this is only natural and can be easily improved! I say to all candidates who are interviewing, ask your partner or house mate if you can pour them a drink and sit them down for 20 minutes whilst you present your portfolio to them, the more you do it the more comfortable you become doing it and start to build up a flow, you will find the words will come more easily when under pressure in an interview.

 

You will probably not have time to present your entire portfolio in depth at an interview so it is best to pick out maybe 3-4 projects which are the most relevant to that specific client as explained above, and present those projects in a good level of detail. Luckily the vast majority of candidates I work with are incredibly passionate about what they do and this really shines through when they present. This is one of the most attractive qualities to display for a candidate. However sometimes with incredible passion (which is definitely a good thing) it can be easy to “waffle” in these situations and end up not getting your point across concisely, so try and approach every project with a structure. For example for each project break it down into 4 stages:

 

  1. Brief overview of the project: Listing Client, collaborations with other studios/sub consultants, project brief and objective.
  2. Responsibilities: Discus the stage or stages your studio and you personally worked on and what your personal responsibilities were in each stage, highlighting particular images/reports in the portfolio that you were responsible for
  3. Explain your design process: outlining parameters and breaking the process down; explaining site constraints, influencing factors such as client demands to increase profits, how did you go about solvingthese issues?
  4. Current project update: for example: I/we completed conceptual design, then passed it on to XYZ who developed our concept in this way, the project is now in phase 2 of construction, was there anything you learned or would have done differently? (You may have to look this up if you were involved in an earlier stage and the project is still on-going, but it is nice to finish the story in any presentation, and shows you took an interest and pride in the wider project, not just your bit)

 

What medium should I present my Portfolio on?

 

This is purely down to personal preference, and it essentially comes down to what you are most comfortable presenting. As long as you don’t walk in with some creased A4 pages hot off the office printer press you should be OK. But obviously the aim is to reflect professionalism, clarity and a high level of presentation. My personal preference is either:

 

  • A3 leather bound ring binder as it looks very smart (but remember to adjust printing for the middle section of double page spreads as they tend to get sucked into the bind and can be hard to see and can take time away from your presentation)
  • Presenting on an Ipad or projector as its easier to present without having to turn pages, so is easier to build up a flow presenting. Though please note if you want to present on a projector ask your recruiter to ensure they have that facility.

 

All the advice listed above is fairly obvious and is essentially just common sense, but I hope it may help in some small way.

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7th Dec 2018

AJ Awards

AJ Awards

What a great evening at the AJ Architecture awards

 

A lovely venue with amazing food and surrounded by talented architects. What more can you ask for a Tuesday evening?

 

This week BlackSofa had the honour of attending the AJ Architecture awards at the stunning Roundhouse in Camden. In only the second year of this event it was and will continue to be a great success.

 

The evening kicked off with welcome drinks on the terraces above the main seating area giving us a chance to mingle with architectures great and good. Shortly afterwards we were seated with our hosts – the AJ and treated to a beautiful 3 course meal of artichoke crème brulee tart, confit duck leg and then a deconstructed banoffee pie – yum!

 

The award ceremony started at 9:30 with Sally Phillips being the special host and she certainly stole the show for me, with her humour and witty architecture comments, she certainly had a the audience laughing!

 

A huge congratulations to all the practices who were nominated and those that won an award, there were some truly amazing work out there.

 

Here’s to another year of the AJ Architecture Awards – cheers!

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30th Nov 2018

Local Restaurant Review #3 Cornerstone

Local Restaurant Review #3 Cornerstone

Last week, one of our favourite candidates agreed to join one of our best clients. A really perfect match of ideas, vision and ambition that we were quietly confident of as soon as we got the brief! After hands were shaken and contracts were signed we all wanted to celebrate and as we are all big foodies we decided to head over to Hackney and visit Tom Brown’s new restaurant – Cornerstone.

 

We had all read so much hype about the place in the press that expectations were becoming unfairly high on Team Tom Brown. Fair play to them though they really did smash their set menu out of the park!

 

We started with Oysters that were in a delicious, fresh green sauce that looked odd but tasted wonderful. It may sound strange to mention the butter that came with the bread whilst we waited for starters but that butter was out of this world tasty. I’d go back for the bread and butter alone.

 

What I would also go back for time and time again is the cured bream dish and smokehouse salmon – both a great testement to technique and timing to the chefs. As a northerner who has a special love for crumpets I’d been looking forward to the Potted Shrimp Crumpet, our final starter. It was tasty but the shrimp sauce made the crumpet kind of soggy which was a shame.

 

Onto mains – again we were wowed. Grey Mullet with spiced aubergine puree, basil and ginger. Cider Braised Cuttlefish with lentil, apple and spring onion dressing. Line caught Cod with Hollandaise. What could be better than any of that from a fish restaurant? The desserts were lovely too, the highlight from the selection being the Cornish Mille Feuille.

 

The wine list was excellent as well as reasonable and our waitress (who was on her first day) was extremely helpful and knowledgeable which really contributed to first class experience. We left to have a few beers at the local breweries of Hackney Wick feeling that those high expectations were met and more.

 

Cornerstone

3 Prince Edward Road, E9 5LX

Lunch for 3 people (including wine and tip) £225

BlackSofa Rating – 5/5 Gherkins

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1st Nov 2018

A SIGN OF OUR SUCCESS

A SIGN OF OUR SUCCESS

We’re just one year old.

We’ve passed the crawling stage, passed the walking stage and are now up and running, and running fast.

Thanks to our clients, supporters and everybody else we’re now seen as a very serious Architectural Recruitment Agency.

We look forward to building great businesses together.

Thanks again.

Thomas Potter, MD

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21st Sep 2018

YOU’RE GREAT, YOU JUST DON’T KNOW IT

YOU’RE GREAT, YOU JUST DON’T KNOW IT

Your workmates love you, honest (even if they don’t show it)

You’re highly trained; in fact your training lasted longer than a doctors. 

You might be a small cog, but the big wheel wouldn’t go round without you. Just think though, what it would be like to be a whopping big cog in a smaller wheel.

This September there are more jobs on offer than ever before.

Are you sitting down, salaries are rising! Our profession is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

Yes, you are truly wonderful; if you don’t believe it contact BlackSofa and we’ll tell you to your face.

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19th Sep 2018

KERRY BROWN PRINCIPLE CONSULTANT BLACKSOFA

KERRY BROWN PRINCIPLE CONSULTANT BLACKSOFA

Kerry graduated in Real Estate Management (RICS) from Nottingham School of Architecture.
Finding himself in the turbulent world of the property crash of 2008 he took the brave decision to change careers into recruitment. Ten years later with extensive success and experience under his belt, he has joined BlackSofa as Principle Consultant to head up the Landscape and Urban team.
When not helping architectural and multi disciplinary practices find the best talent in the market he can usually be found out on the water, either surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding or sailing and when on dry land: rugby, cricket and renovating his old cottage fill up his spare time. His other out of office passion is walking his dog Scrumpy around and often in the lakes of Sevenoaks.
If you are an Urban Designer, Planner or Landscape Architect looking for a new role or some confidential career advice please get in touch. Kerry is the only specialist in this area of the market and is always happy to share his considerable experience and contacts to help talented candidates take the next step in their career.

0207 033 8821

07711 761 185

kbrown@blacksofalondon.com

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31st Jul 2018

Do you have the personality to become a great architect?

Do you have the personality to become a great architect?

Try this simple test to find out

Who would you wish to be mentored by:

  1. a) Richard Rogers
  2. b) Frank Gehry
  3. c) Eero Saarinen

 

If you don’t like a client they would: 

  1. a) Not suspect
  2. b) Half guess
  3. c) Know it

 

Do you willingly work evenings and weekends: 

  1. a) Yes
  2. b) Maybe
  3. c) **** NO!!

 

Can you draw a straight line without a ruler:

  1. a) Yes
  2. b) Sometimes
  3. c) No point to it

 

If you’re pricing a job would you:

  1. a) Cost everything including contingency
  2. b) Give a basic cost
  3. c) Give the lowest ex VAT cost to get the job

 

Being reactive to changing situations is:

  1. a) Easy
  2. b) Tricky
  3. c) Difficult

 

If it took 10 years to qualify rather than 7 would you:

  1. a) Still enthusiastically go ahead
  2. b) Have second thoughts
  3. c) Choose another career

 

How important are awards to you:

  1. a) Very
  2. b) Medium
  3. c) Not important

 

How far would you travel to see examples of fine architecture:

  1. a) As far as possible
  2. b) In the UK
  3. c) I’d view them online

 

When working to a tight deadline do you:

  1. a) Work smart and plan
  2. b) Work through the night
  3. c) Try and have deadline moved

 

What is your favourite building song:

  1. a) If I had a hammer
  2. b) If I were a carpenter
  3. c) We built this city

 

If you scored mostly ‘A’ Norman Foster watch out.

 

Mostly B – garage extensions and church halls are for you.

 

Mostly C – time to re-think that architecture career…

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1st May 2018

Local Restaurant Review – #2 Smoking Goat

Local Restaurant Review – #2 Smoking Goat

There was a lot of anticipation around this meal for both myself and the lovely Sarah who I dined with last week. We are both huge fans of the chef Ben Champan’s other restaurant in Soho, Kiln and were expecting great things from his latest venture.

I had recently helped Sarah find a fantastic new job at an architecture studio she had always wanted to work for so when she called wanting to celebrate the great news we only had one place in mind – Smoking Goat (what a name by the way?).

Unfortunately if you’re a veggie Smoking Goat is not the place for you. If you are a vegan you’d be totally fu**ed. There’s plenty of great veggie/vegan options in the area though (What the Pitta’s amazing vegan donner wrap immediately springs to mind) so don’t come here thinking they’ll be some choices – there isn’t. Champan is committed to UK sourced ingredients and what the Smoking Goat does really well is meat and fish. Sarah is a fully-fledged carnivore so we were ready!

We had hardly eaten that day so we ordered five dishes off the ‘Drinking Foods’ section of the menu and two large plates (I don’t like sharing mains). The Cured Monkfish was incredible as was the Northern Thai Beef Sausage and Cornish Octopus Skewers – we could eat those all day! The Chilli Fish Sauce Wings were a bit dry which was a shame but the Northern Duck Laab was insane and perfectly spiced so I shouldn’t really complain.

For a large plate Sarah had the D’tom Yam, Wild Mussels, Velvet and told me it was the best broth of flavoury goodness she had had for a long time (and she lives by all those great Thai/Vietmenese restaurants in Hoxton). I had the Barbecue Goat (I felt obliged to eat Goat at the Smoking Goat) and it was tasty and extremely succulent. A big shoulder of meat on a plate covered in spicy massaman rich sauce.

We were both full after our feast. Full and a bit pissed from the reasonably priced wine list so we didn’t get a dessert. We fist pumped and walked back to our respective offices with the promise to go back to the Smoking Goat another day and try everything else off the menu.

 

Smoking Goat
64 Shoreditch High Street

Lunch for 3 people (including wine and tip) £75

BlackSofa Rating – 4/5 Gherkins

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13th Mar 2018

The Interview

The Interview

Fenella Ryan, Studio Manager, HUT Architecture

 

Describe your studio in three words.

Modern

Multifaceted

Academic

 

What is your favourite studio project?

We usually have 1 or 2 architects per project so we can’t really have favouritism… It has to be democratic here. Maybe the actual HUT on a Roof project?

http://hutarchitecture.com/project/62

OR

The Pixel HUT project because it was something I was really involved in despite not being an architect

http://hutarchitecture.com/project/3640

 

If you could trade positions with anyone in the studio for a day who would it be and why?

Andy (Founder and Principle) probably! We all recently did a personality test here for fun and Andy and I were the only people in the studio who got diagnosed with a ‘Campaigner’ personality. So, I would like to switch with him for one day and hold the reigns of leading a company. Plus, I think it’s about time more women in architecture experience this and strive for the position.

 

What is your favourite London building?

The Barbican or the Brunswick Centre.

 

If you had to play one album in the office for a whole day on repeat what would it be?

Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

 

Who in your studio is best on the dance floor?

Me of course.

 

Why do you like working for HUT?

HUT is a team of multi-talented young professionals. Most people here have their own projects on the side, which enriches the practice and broadens our experience, skill-set and personality. HUT director Andy supports and boosts people here in every way possible. The most important part is that we are a democratic group, we all make decisions together whether it’s in our team meetings or design reviews, plus we have a lot of fun together!

 

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15th Jan 2018

Our Favourite Architecture Studio Websites!

Our Favourite Architecture Studio Websites!

Our Favourite Architecture Studio Websites!

We like our new website, we like it a lot. In a world where precision, design, attractive shapes and lines are so important it’s somewhat surprising that architecture studios do not put more effort into the design of their own websites. It’s the first thing any prospective client or future colleague is going to look at and everyone knows how important first impressions are. Here’s just a few of some of our favourite sites:

Hawkins/Brown

6a

John Pawson

David Miller Architects

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

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15th Jan 2018

Shoreditch Lunchin’

Shoreditch Lunchin’

Shoreditch Lunchin’

You’re in our endz for half an hour and you’re ravenous. You’ve got a tenner in your pocket and you’d like change out of it for a swift drink after work later. Where do you go? Here are three options to help guide you.

Brick Lane – home to many a curry house Brick Lane also has some great cheap eat spots like both its famous bagel shops; Biegel Bake and Biegel Shop where you can grab a salt beef and pickle bagel for £3.50!

Spitalfields Market – where many a successful London restaurant has started as a pop up. There’s so many options covering goat curries, bao buns, tacos, naan wraps, vegan burgers, pasta, greek wraps and if you’re just wanting something sweet there’s a whole shop dedicated to desserts.

Boxpark – smack bang next to Shoreditch High Street Station and with an impressive array of outlets this popular lunchtime destination for locals can cover all tastes and desires. We love Voodoo Rays, The Athenian, Falafelicious and What the Pitta!

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12th Jan 2018

The Bounds Green Obelisk Fountain

The Bounds Green Obelisk Fountain

The Bounds Green Obelisk Fountain

If you’ve ever wondered about the “obelisk” on the Bounds Green Road, its history and the story of the person it commemorates are all recounted by Harringay Online.

The Obelisk is actually a drinking fountain and was erected in 1879. It was originally situated in the middle of the road, but has since been moved over to a a patch of grass opposite the Nightingale Gardens. It commemorates Mrs Catherine Smithies of Earlham Grove, Wood Green and founder of the Band of Mercy Movement. And the Band of Mercy was a predecessor of the RSPCA.

So there you go, another day and you’ve learn’t something new. Next time you drive past the monument you can wow your friends with your amazing knowledge of Obelisks!

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12th Jan 2018

We Love A Bit of Lego

We Love A Bit of Lego

We Love A Bit of Lego

We love a bit of lego here at Black Sofa London. On my first day in the office I (Hannah Hansa) was welcomed with a fantastic box of Architecture Lego; it included many of the iconic landmarks from the heart of London, including Big Ben, London eye, Tower Bridge and St Pauls cathedral.

It did take me 3 days to complete, but in my defence I’ve been very busy finding people jobs!

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12th Jan 2018

A Day In The Life!

A Day In The Life!

A Day In The Life!

Whether you’re an architecture student starting out on the journey of your career or a seasoned practice owner we want to hear from you! We want to hear from anyone in the industry about his or her daily experiences in this fascinating world that we all work in.

If you could write a short piece from the moment you wake up to the time you hit the hay we would very much like to publish your story on our blog (we can post anonymously if required!).

This is not just limited to technical architecture people – we want to hear from receptionists, HR Managers, anyone at all!

info@blacksofalondon.com

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12th Jan 2018

Best Architecture Documentaries To Watch From Archdaily!

Best Architecture Documentaries To Watch From Archdaily!

Best Architecture Documentaries To Watch From Archdaily!

1. Building Africa: Architecture of a Continent

This BBC film, which originally aired in 2005, is a journey from the “eerily beautiful” mud buildings of Mali to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s experiment in Modernism in the State of Eritrea. Narrated by British architect David Adjaye, the film poetically untangles the cultural and imperial influences which have shaped African architecture over centuries of vernacular, colonial and post-independence architecture. From Rwanda to Ghana and South Africa, Building Africa has increasing relevance even over a decade since it was first shown.

 

2. The Human Scale / Andreas Dalsgaard

This film sets out to “question our assumptions about Modernity” by exploring what happens when architects, urbanists and designers put people into the center of their equations. The Danish architect Jan Gehl has systematically studied human behavior in cities for four decades. Using his methods, thoughts and conclusions as a starting point the film takes the viewer to Melbourne, Dhaka, New York, Chongqing and Christchurch – all of which are now being inspired by Gehl’s work and by the progressive developments in Copenhagen as a result of it.

 

3. Block by Block: The Men Who Built India’s Tallest Building

This is a short documentary film about the life of a unique team of Indian construction workers who are building the nation’s tallest building: the Palais Royale in Mumbai. It asks what happens to construction workers when they migrate from other parts of the country to the major metropoli. How are they housed? What are their living conditions? How do they work together as a team? According to Landmarc Films, “the objective is to make others realize the grave atrocities and unfair [and] inhumane treatment of the people who build our homes so humbly, providing them with a benchmark to follow.”

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12th Jan 2018

The UK’s Ugliest Building?

The UK’s Ugliest Building?

The UK’s Ugliest Building?

Building Design magazine’s Carbuncle Cup is the Razzie of the architecture Industry, highlighting the worst British architecture completed in the last 12 months. The 2017 prize went to PLP Architecture and their building Nova Victoria.

It’s design of the office section of the development, sits on Victoria Street, Bressenden Place, and Buckingham Palace Road. It is combined with residential buildings by the practice Benson & Forsyth, which escaped the dubious accolade. While the developer Land Securities described it as “distinct” and “architecturally daring”, according to Building Design, the judges labelled the building as “crass” and a “hideous mess”. What do you think?

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12th Jan 2018

Our Favourite Architecture & Design Instagram Accounts!

Our Favourite Architecture & Design Instagram Accounts!

Our Favourite Architecture & Design Instagram Accounts!

 

  1. Piercy & Co – instagram.com/piercyco/

One of ‘thee’ places to work right now, Piercy & Co are as cool as their Instagram! We like how they mix things up with shots of the staff, the office, models and professional snaps.

 

  1. The Spaces – instagram.com/thespacesmag/

They won’t follow us back so they must be seriously cool. They’re always up to something are the team behind the Spaces Magazine and always snapping the current hot topic in the world of architecture, design and art.

 

  1. Instrmnt – instagram.com/instrmntlimited/

The product design company based in Glasgow have taken the watch market by storm and now have more beautifully made products to show us soon. They’re always in once cool city to the next and take some slick snaps a long the way to show us all.

 

  1. Cereal – instagram.com/cerealmag/

Technically these guys are more of a travel IG and have sweet FA to do with architecture and design but they do take beautiful photos and they like nice things which we do too.

 

  1. BlackSofa – instagram.com/blacksofalondon/

We have the best architecture recruitment website this world has ever seen. Check it out and follow us if you haven’t already. ‘Nuff said.

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10th Jan 2018

Architecture INK!

Architecture INK!

Do you love a building so much that you would get it tattooed onto you? Do you have such a connection with a building that you’ve had it permanently inked onto your skin for all of time? If you have we would love to hear your story!!

Please send pictures and any words you’d like to write to us and we will publish your story on our blog – info@blacksofalondon.com

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10th Jan 2018

Our Favourite London Buildings

Our Favourite London Buildings

Our Favourite London Buildings

 

Thomas (Director) – St Paul’s Cathedral by Sir Christopher Wren.
“It’s a staggeringly beautiful building from every angle. Its best angle though is from Southbank walking over Millennium Bridge. I used to walk to work every morning that way and would smile every time I started off a long the bridge. I also love seeing St Paul’s in old photos and paintings when she was more dominant in the London skyline, before the giant skyscrapers we have today.

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9th Jan 2018

Time To Escape! #1 Barcelona

Time To Escape! #1 Barcelona

Weekend destinations for architecture lovers #1 Barcelona

While Barcelona is one of the best places to visit in Europe for nightlife, it also offers unbeatable architecture. As the birthplace of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona attracts flocks of travellers each year to embrace its stunning architecture. Be sure to book your tickets in advance to enjoy Sagrada Familia – as Barcelona’s architectural centerpiece; the unfinished Sagrada Familia was Gaudí’s interpretation of late Gothic architecture, Catalan Modernism, and Art Nouveau. Other treats in Barcelona include Park Güell and Casa Batlló.

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8th Jan 2018

Local Restaurant Review – #1 Lyle’s

Local Restaurant Review – #1 Lyle’s

To start our new restaurant review section of the blog we tootled off to the end of our road and into the tea building to meet our guests outside Lyle’s – a happy new candidate and client who themselves had only ever met during the interview process. The idea of the lunch was for us all to meet up a week before the candidate was due to start in her new role for everyone to get to know each other a bit better.

Aesthetically the restaurant is stunning. Simple, clean and stripped back. Their menu is similar and changeable every day I’m told. Nobody likes an over complicated menu and I for one never trust a menu that has too many options (how can you cook all those things 100% every time?). We had wonderful main courses of goose leg, seabass and speckled faced mutton which were all cooked perfectly with some suitable accompaniments.

I believe the chef’s at Lyle’s take dessert seriously as there were 5 options on the lunch menu and as much as I tried to persuade our guests that we should all try a different option alas we all ended up with Treacle Tart & Milk Ice Cream which was to be fair, wonderful.

The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful and seemed to know the menu which is always a good sign. I struggle to find anything wrong with our experience, maybe some mains were a tad too expensive but that’s really all I can (ever so slightly) fault. As an experience and exercise to calm our candidates nerves before her first day in the office I think we succeeded there as well. Well I hope it was the experience. Maybe the bottle of wine helped too…

4/5 Gherkins

Lyle’s
Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street.
2 course lunch for 4 people (including wine and tip) £170.