One of the most enjoyable aspects of our work in community projects is getting to know the neighbourhood we’re working in over a long period of time and being able to see a project through from start to finish. Blurton in Stoke on Trent is one such project that we’ve had the privilege of being a part of and last week we attended the official opening event for the new Blurton Hub community building, alongside the new housing and retail which is now complete.
A project like this has involved many people and organisations over many years, not least of which is the Blurton Farm Resident Association we first met during our initial masterplanning consultation many years ago. Their dedication has been central to the success of the project and we’re looking forward to keeping in touch in the coming months to help them manage their new building and its green technology.
Here’s Christine Pratt, the resident group leader, quoted in the local press about the opening:
“This is a vision that we have had for over 15 years so it is fantastic to see it completed. The hub and new homes are already having a massive impact and making changes to people’s lives.”
Congratulations to Christine and her colleagues and best wishes for the future of the new facility at the heart of Blurton’s community.
We’ve been visited today by an A-level student who had the foresight to visit a number of offices to find out more about the profession before she committed herself to life as an architect. To complete her experience it seemed appropriate to ask her to blog about her experience…
When I tell people I want to be an Architect, they usually reply with one of two things. The first (usually from from my fellow A level students) is to remark on the length of the university course, the second is to decide that it’s a fantastic choice because I’m a girl. Basically, people point out the obstacles. In truth, neither of these things really phased me. Many of the architects I visit have (jokingly) tried to put me off, but it can’t really be that bad?
I want to be an architect because the skills seem really appealing. I see buildings as a public art that everybody sees, as well as a clever use of light, space and materials. I love art and maths, and architecture seems to find the perfect balance between the two. The offices I’ve visited (Axis Design is the third) have all shown me what they do and so far I can’t complain. They’ve shown me drawings, sketches, models and how to survive on multiple cups of tea. I’ve been to client meetings, site visits and finished projects. I’ve also been shown the importance of organization, the relationship with clients and the responsibilities as a designer. Importantly for me, I’ve really enjoyed the atmospheres. Architecture involves many skills, one in particular being able to communicate with people and because of this, everybody I have met has been friendly and helpful, and although some try not to show it, enthusiastic about my future plans for university.
The best part of my visits to architecture practices is that I’ve been shown things I already know how to do. I can’t pretend I wasn’t nervous visiting a group of new people for the first time over and over again, but I was quickly reassured by the fact I can already draw, already alphabetize and MAKE tea. I haven’t found anything boring and at certain points in the day, hours have flown by. I just need to get myself a university degree and a stronger need for caffeine and hopefully one day I’ll fit in an architect firm just right. In truth, all careers have obstacles, and for the time being I’m still going to pursue this one.
This week we’ve been working on sketch proposals for a building for the Friends of Cotteridge Park resident group. Designed to be a robust part of the landscape that can be quickly/cheaply put up in stages, the project uses a combination of off-the-shelf products and earth sheltering. You can see full details at the project site: http://cotteridgepark.org.uk/shelter