Part 2 Architectural Assistant at Studio Partington Architects - Fabienne Blunden

Year of graduation: 2016

Course: MArch Architecture

Current location: London

“Studying at Plymouth University has helped me to become a very imaginative person with my architecture designs… Use your architecture degree as an opportunity to explore and develop new inventive design ideas. Architecture is a very exciting discipline and you get to engage in many different tasks.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Since graduating in 2016, I have been working in an architects’ office in London as a Part 2 Architectural Assistant and studying part-time for the Part 3 course with Bristol UWE.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

By studying a degree at Plymouth I have been able to come across and learn about many architectural topics; for instance, how philosophy can influence the design of cities, investigating materiality, and aiming for resilience and sustainability in architecture. All these areas of interest are evident in my own practice now and have therefore provided me with greater confidence progressing into the ‘real’ world of work.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The transition from education into work at Part 1 was difficult, but after having completed my masters course I felt more confident going into an architectural practice as a Part 2 Architectural Assistant.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Plymouth University holds exhibitions of students’ work. Local architectural practices visit giving excellent opportunities for students. Two architectural practices awarded me design prizes which, potentially, could give me work opportunities which would be both unexpected and exciting.

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

Make sure you have a good work/life balance. I would ensure that I kept an active timetable in between my studies, as exercise is very important for the mind’s concentration. Engaging in university exercise classes and the dance society helped with my social engagement and a healthy lifestyle. I did this during my masters degree, and I wish that I had engaged in these activities during my first degree. Exercise definitely helps to relieve stress.

If you were just about to graduate again, what would you do differently?

I would take a holiday/research break back to the city in Poland where I studied for my masters and try to more fully immerse myself within the architecture there.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Use your architecture degree as an opportunity to explore and develop new inventive design ideas. Architecture is a very exciting discipline and you get to engage in many different tasks: model making, drawing, visiting building sites, visualising your designs on computer rendering programmes, and visiting overseas field trips.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth University has helped me to become a very imaginative person with my architecture designs. Plymouth University is a great university and I would recommend it to anyone as the tutors are extremely helpful and engage in the design process, working as a team alongside the students, and constantly improve the course to engage with the up-to-date social, political, and economic issues.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

I have gained multiple skills required to compete in the architecture. The practical skills and theoretical studies are essential in practice, not only for architecture designs but also when communicating with clients, manufacturers, suppliers, and fellow architectural practices.

Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?

I went into practice after completing my undergraduate degree, but this was not a placement. However, it is advised by the University to have experience in practice before starting the masters degree.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Plymouth University has multiple levels of studio spaces in the Roland Levinsky Building. This is brilliant as you can, at any time, visit other year groups’ studios to share ideas and help each other with designs. We were able to have our own studio space to make models and develop architecture designs freely, constantly engaging and sharing designs with fellow students.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?  

Plymouth University developed my design skills and lifted my confidence level. I therefore wouldn’t hesitate recommending a student keen on architecture to consider Plymouth. It is a very friendly place and the lecturers support the students by constantly developing their understanding.