Birmingham based Katie Miller is a Part 2 Architectural Assistant at BPN architects located in Jewellery Quarter. Katie is fascinated by forms and finds the aspirations of the designers inspirational.
This week we have been talking with Katie Miller about her work in Architecture using technology.
BCA: Tell us about one of your recent projects?
KATIE: The Standard Works building is one of our projects that recently began work onsite. If you know the Jewellery Quarter you will probably have walked past it on Vittoria Street. Its the big cream building with mauve doors and windows. It is handily just a short walk from the office so I’m onsite nearly everyday. The building is huge and has been altered many times since it was built in the late 1800’s, it is also Grade II Listed so it has been a challenging project from the start. The client is the Ruskin Mill Land Trust whose aim it is to provide principally college accommodation for their students, but at the heart of the proposals is the ambition to really bed the building within the community activities within the quarter through providing workshop space, a performance space, a bakery and a cafe. We have previously worked with the RMLT in regenerating a number of the glass works buildings at the Glasshouse College site in Stourbridge (Images below).
BCA: What technology do you use as part of your work?
KATIE: We use Vectorworks to produce CAD drawings. Google Sketch-Up to produce 3D models and visuals and we make actual physical models if there’s time.
BCA: What does your typical day look like?
KATIE: A typical day is 9-6pm. I may have a meeting onsite with the contractors first thing – then head back to office. Work through my emails whilst working up drawings on CAD. On and off the phone to answer email queries and ask for advice on materials and details from suppliers.
BCA: Where do your ideas come from?
KATIE: All over the place – we meet as an office at least once a month to discuss current projects and this is a time where we can share stuff which might be useful or inspiring. We also make an office trip a couple of times a year – in 2013 we went to Liverpool, and earlier this year we went on an office cycle. As an office we are quite a diverse group so our inspirations come from all reaches of life.
BCA: What advice would you give an aspiring Architect?
KATIE: Get as much office and on site experience as possible. Travel and whilst your traveling try to understand why the architecture and the built environment is the way it is – what has happened culturally to have created the environment. Manage your time and make sure you have hobbies and interests that can distract you from architecture whilst also enlivening your life and therefore keeping your creativity alive.
Also the most important of all is your creativity ‘Process’ – establish how you work and apply this to everything you do. You will always be able to support your decisions with a stable argument if you have an established ‘Process’ within which you work.
BCA: What advice would you give to a younger you?
KATIE: Be confident, trust your gut feeling and don’t be afraid of making a nuisance of yourself. This is how you learn. If you don’t know something, ask, because very often no one else knows what it is either but no one wants to speak up. Smile and most of the time you get a smile in return.
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