Civil engineering, construction and building

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Graduate stories – Alex Judd

Alex Judd won the CIAT South East Region Price for his dissertation and the CIOB Certificate of Excellence – Architectural Technology for the student who produced the best overall performance in the Architectural Technology BSc(Hons).

  • How did you feel when you were first accepted to Brighton, and how has the reality compared to what you imagined?

I was excited to start something new, but I was apprehensive about the people I’d meet. Where I was coming in at direct entry into second year, I was anxious that people would already be in their own social groups from first year. Being part time, I was also worried that I wouldn’t be at university enough to get to know anyone very well. Turns out that wasn’t the case; I’ve made great friendships from my time at Brighton and I think my experience would’ve been very different without them.

  • What were the highlights of your course?

A lot of the projects were based on real sites local to the university and often we got to visit them. Visiting these sites really stood out for me because It was a great way to get a feel for the site and start to get ideas going with your mates. It’s those moments on site that I really remember well because for me It’s where the main decision points of my design came from.

  • Would you recommend your course? What in particular would you recommend?

I’d definitely recommend the course, but more so than that I’d recommend that people make the most out of the facilities that come with the course. There are laser cutters, 3D printers, virtual and augmented reality headsets and online learning platforms which I don’t think many people used at all while I was there, my recommendation is to not let them go to waste.

  • What has coming to Brighton done for you, both as a student and as a person?

Brighton was very accommodating for my professional life; I was able to study part time so that I could continue with my current place of work. This also allowed me to apply my knowledge from university at work and vice versa. Towards the beginning of university, I struggled to find a good work/life balance, Brighton taught me how to manage my time better and showed me how Important making time for yourself can be when the workload is significant.

  • Tell us about your experience of teaching and support staff.

All of the staff are so passionate about what they do, I think that’s why I enjoyed my dissertation the most. Both my supervisor and I were very passionate about the subject I chose, and this really motivated me throughout the dissertation process. The support I received was excellent, not just for my dissertation but in my other modules too. Occasionally, Industry professionals came in to go over our projects with us and give us advice which Is Invaluable for those wanting to go into the Industry.

The one thing that was both the most interesting and most challenging was the design process itself. It was fascinating learning how things come together and understanding how the various components of a building function. However, it’s a very challenging process getting all these components to work together in harmony. There’s a real art in perfecting the details so that your design is simultaneously pleasant and compliant, and for me that’s what made the design process so enjoyable.

  • What are the main things you will take from your experience?

Collaboration and sharing ideas is everything. It seems counter intuitive showing your hard work to your mates so they can get ideas from you, but this course is the exception. People that worked on their own were often worse off than those who sat and shared ideas with each other. I really enjoyed the time spent in the studio seeing everyone’s ideas unfold as they developed, knowing that some of their systems in their design were inspired by other students.

  • How do you plan to use your experience and course in the future?

During my dissertation, I learnt a lot about augmented and virtual reality systems. While doing my surveys and interviews I realised how desirable these systems were to the industry, not just to designers and clients but also site teams and project managers. The main thing I took from this was that innovation is essential for the construction industry to develop, whether that be visualisation systems or otherwise. I hope that in my career I can use and implement systems like this into my day to day work.

  • Can you give an example of a person, a lesson or something that happened that made you glad you’d come to study at Brighton?

As with most architecture-based degrees, at the end of each design module each student is tasked with presenting their design, otherwise referred to as crits. If you haven’t done a crit before these can be hard hitting and I remember my first one making me really frustrated and upset. I quickly learnt that the things that made me feel like this were the exact things I needed to be listening to and learning from. It was all about justifying your design and knowing your construction inside and out and that the criticisms you get from the reviewers are not a reflection on you on a person but the design. These crits really helped with my confidence, my ability to answer questions and my knowledge surrounding my project.

  • What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying for this course / this university?

When I tell people what I study they always ask what the difference is between Architectural Technology and Architecture. The way I describe it is that an architect creates the image on the front of the LEGO box and the architectural technologist writes the instruction manual on the inside. In reality, what you’ll find is that in most practices, the line between architects and architectural technologists is blurred and instead everyone plays to their strengths. Therefore, my advice would be to use this course to find your strengths; find what you’re good at and find what you’re not so good at so you can work on it while you’re at uni. Also, don’t be afraid to be creative, you won’t get as many opportunities to do crazy designs after you leave uni so make the most of it while you’re here!

Laura Ruby • August 5, 2019

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