Ollie reflects on his time at BGS

I came to BGS as a fresh faced second year architecture student from the Uni of Bath. Released into the ‘real’ world of architecture and with no true understanding of how a practice actually runs – why BGS felt I would be useful is beyond me!

From my first day I was put onto a design team who were just starting work on a competition brief to redesign the dining hall and social spaces of a Cambridge College. The following month was a blur of working late around the design table, spilt mugs of coffee, sheets of tracing paper flying everywhere; basically, what I’ve always imagined architecture to be! I learnt more about the design process in that one month than I ever had before, not to mention that when you are predicting how long a model is going to take to make, triple the time you have left yourself! In that month we: designed the entire scheme, produced all the relevant drawings and visualisations, birthed the model, got the design report sorted and submitted everything with minutes to spare before the deadline – maybe practice isn’t all that dissimilar to uni after all!

Since recovering from the madness of the competition I have enjoyed time doing architecture the ‘normal way’: a feasibility study here, the odd site visit there and I have learnt about the breadth of knowledge all my colleagues use on a day to day basis. It really is astonishing to see what everyone puts into their projects. If questioned, they could (with ease) rattle off the number of lightbulbs in a certain building or specify the exact details of a table required to hold a laser that I can’t even pronounce the name of! I find it intriguing just how much these guys know. Yes, I do get the impression that that knowledge is not necessarily the most interesting thing they could tell me about, but there have to be dull bits to every job right?

As I sit here at my desk on my last day I can think back to everything I’ve done over the past three months; everything people have taught me; every lunch spent out on the terrace (weather permitting of course) and realise just how much I have got out of my time here, I count myself very fortunate indeed.

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