Graduates 2020: Andy Connacher: Architecture

I definitely looked at architecture very differently before I started my course than I do now having finished it.

I used to be taken in by traditional buildings, bucolic buildings, buildings that were quaint and were correct following arbitrary standards set by people centuries before them. I saw architecture purely from an aesthetic point of view and that definitely comes secondary to how I view architecture now.

In my first year at Brighton University, I studied Giancarlo De Carlo, a functionalist architect of the post-war era and although I didn’t particularly like his final designs, his ethos and how the user was the primary focus of architecture stuck with me throughout. To me, architecture is about use and how a space can make someone feel when they’re in it. Are they on show or do they have somewhere to hide? Does the user like to entertain or shy away? How can a space cater to as many personalities as possible while still retaining its original purpose? Or does such criteria change its purpose entirely? 

This sort of back and forth has intrigued me the most throughout my time on this course; how narrative can be used to define spaces in theory and how spaces are then used in practice.


My work

The brief for Studio 11 was “Pleasure” and our interpretation of it on site. During my first site visit, I couldn’t ignore the mixing of aromas emanating from perfume shops and soap-stores surrounding me. It was because of this that I wanted to elucidate the act of mixing scents and, as a result, decided to design a perfume factory centred around wildflowers that can grow unaided by artificial lighting or heating in the City of Brighton & Hove, East Sussex.

The proposal lies atop a busy road in central Brighton and the strategy employed was that of a steel truss superstructure suspended from concrete columns which pierce existing chimneys on party walls, utilising the strongest points on the existing site. Using steel cables, the superstructure then suspends the substructure; the perfume factory. The shape of the perfume factory is resonant of alchemical instruments used in the ancient art of perfumery, namely their copper materiality and their flute-like aperture. The circulation about the building allows for a tourist route through the factory which also bridges the unused rooftops on site, turning them into wildlife gardens for the community as well as supplying flowers to make perfume.


How have you found your course/time at Brighton?

My time at Brighton has been eye-opening to say the least. I think having the first year I did and our year group going on a tour of the low-countries with the infamous Tony Roberts definitely threw me into architecture at the deep end and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Third year in Studio 11 studying under Sam Lynch was also a massive step out of my comfort zone for me as she has such a crazy and creative way of thinking about things and is a wealth of culture and literature knowledge, it really makes you think about things in a completely different way. The tutors are all very down to earth and transparent so it makes it really easy to talk to them if you have any concerns and I think that makes such a massive difference especially the way the latter part of the year went.


What are your plans after Graduation?

Originally I wanted to look for a Part 1 Architecture job but due to the current situation I’ve been looking more towards digital-related work. I’ve always loved 3D modelling and using Rhino 6 so any kind of 3D modelling work would be really interesting for me.

Andy’s LinkedIn


See Andy’s work at the End of Year Show 2020

Find out more about BA(Hons) Architecture

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