Parminder studied all parts of his architecture qualification (RIBA Parts 1, 2 and 3) through Birmingham City University. He completed the Part 3 component in 2010.
Half way through the Part 2 course, I received a job offer from an architects' practice as they were impressed with my work displayed at the end of year show. I received numerous design awards in recognition of my university submissions and I managed to write an article for an international architectural design magazine as part of my research thesis.
At the practice I had an opportunity to work on various RIBA award-winning schemes, run projects on site, and learn valuable detailing knowledge. I got to work on pioneering sustainable schemes, such as code for sustainable homes level 6 housing, and passive house standards. As an architect, understanding the implications of air tightness, thermal bridging and thermal mass has allowed me to offer added value to my designs.
I was given the opportunity to take ownership of the projects, which allowed me to gain experience dealing with the clients and gaining exposure within the industry, often attending opening and award ceremonies.
I developed good relationships and trust with clients and an example of this was an appointment to design the furniture and fixtures as product designers for our existing client at a school in Worcester. This was a very rewarding process to design to a variety of scales, from the building scale to macro scale of furniture.
After qualifying as an architect, I moved to a different established architects' practice in Birmingham, which had 70-plus staff with similar design aspirations.
My remit was to work on a large scale, mixed-use development alongside a team of five people and design my own plot. This was the largest project within the practice's history. It was an extremely challenging role as I had not worked on a master-plan since my Part 2 collaborative design project at university. This was a steep learning curve from designing to meet a university brief and designing to meet the developer's requirements at master-plan level.
After one and a half years, I decided to move to Glancy Nicholls Architects, a smaller practice within the city, which would enable me to be more involved in the design process. To date, I am currently designing a selection of extra-care schemes for challenging end users.
Adapting my role to the different practices within Birmingham has been a challenging process. Designing to a restrictive budget rather than seeking a signature building is something I feel has had the greatest impact to my role in recent years.
My typical working day as an architect currently involves taking ownership of the projects whilst leading a team of architectural staff to assist me. There are regular coordination issues that need to be dealt with and a need to maintain my knowledge in the latest design standards. I enjoy seeing the end users using our buildings, although it is always a challenging process getting the design just right.
It takes a long time to develop as an architect in practice and to get a strong client base that allows you to be creative. So my advice is to enjoy the freedom of creativity at university as it is very rare to find a client willing to pay for such services until you are well established.
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