Architect model of a building

Graduates 2023: Nasko Kondakov, Architecture BA(Hons)

In a world where sustainability and environmentalism are taking centre stage, Architecture at Brighton equipped me with the skills necessary to have a head start in the revamping industry.

Please tell us a bit about your work and your influences

I was born in Burgas, Bulgaria, about a decade into the transitional democracy that followed the communist regime. I grew up surrounded by the remnants of the socialist days, but also engulfed by various architectural attempts at modernisation and Westernisation. It was fascinating to witness the world around me changing, and looking back at it now, it helps me identify the origin of the issues that followed. Fixing that had always been a driving force of my architectural pursuits.

Yet my early influences were not ones who had done so in their own countries or focus fields. I was looking at the glamour of starchitects like Zaha Hadid, Bjarke Ingels, Frank Gehry, enamoured by their mastery of the craft and the recognition their projects amassed. It was a reputation I not only sought for myself, but also for my country. Later I learned more about De Stijl, the Bauhaus movement, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, and so many others, who have helped guide me on my journey so far!

Final year work

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

Brighton offered me a safe space where I could start my higher education journey in the midst of the largest global pandemic of my lifetime (hopefully it stays the only one as well!). It accepted me with open arms, and I managed to find a new home away from home. Besides, I love the seaside, so it was always going to be a match. I met so many new people who I can now proudly call friends, and fostered connections which I can only hope will last a lifetime.

The course itself, I believe, prepared me for precisely what’s ahead of me – collaboration with the nature surrounding us all. In a world where sustainability and environmentalism are taking centre stage, Architecture at Brighton equipped me with the skills necessary to have a head start in the revamping industry. I learned a lot about spatial experiences, material consciousness, design processes, aspects of the profession which I will forever treasure. I’m excited to see what comes next.

Second year work

How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Architecture?

When I was 5 or 6 years old, my aunt would look after me during my summer vacations by setting me at a computer in her office, opening ArchiCAD and letting me make my own house. She is a landscape architect, and the one I usually credit as the reason why I chose to study Architecture. Ever since that age I had more or less decided that creativity and innovation would be the driving force behind my academic journey. At times I wanted to become an actor, or a graphic designer, or a computer scientist, but the gravitational field of Architecture remained constant no matter what.

In 2018, I was on a trip for an international competition from high school, and we went to Baku, Azerbaijan. There I managed to visit the Heydar Aliyev Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid. Until then, the spaces that inspired me were the ones who were poorly built, unable to match their potential – I wanted to learn from their mistakes and do better. When I saw the curves and fluidity of the Baku gem, I was inspired by its boldness and courage to challenge the status quo. I wanted to be able to replicate this emotion. And so, then and there I knew – Architecture was the way to go.

What are your plans after graduation?

The way the course and the profession in general are structured in the UK offers me a handy guide of progression – I am hoping to work as a Part I Architectural Designer for about a year before returning to the academic hallways to complete my Masters degree, all en route to becoming an accredited architect. Excited to see where life takes me!

First year work

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