‘I was keen on both arts and science subjects at school’ Alex Robertson, 25, is a part 2 architectural assistant based at Capita Architecture in Cardiff, who expects to complete his Part 3 qualification in November via the University of Nottingham. Read his story here...

He is part of the team working on the £100m, 320,000 sq m Chongqing Theatre project in the Sichuan province of China and has visited the country twice so far. The Chinese theatre, hotel, shopping mall and residential project is based closely on the Wales Millennium Design Centre, also built by Capita, and is scheduled to open next Spring.

We started off doing the Chongqing project by e-mail, but it soon became apparent that it would be more efficient to go out there to talk face-to-face about local planning laws and to get some vital dimensions first-hand. I was lucky enough to be included on both trips.

I’ve always wanted to be an architect. I was keen on both arts and science subjects at school and my father, a cabinet maker, was always building things at home and involving me. I loved the appreciation I got when I showed people something I had made.

I always hoped I’d get a chance to travel and China was always a priority. Although I can’t speak Mandarin, I found that when it came to meeting with the local Chinese architect, we managed to overcome muchof the language barrier using our drawings, images and sketches.

I certainly hope to go to China again and also to South America; I’m trying to learn some Spanish at the moment to make life a bit easier.

Like many people of my generation, I’m very conscious of my carbon footprint but I feel that if I’m careful in other areas of my life, I can justify some stints working abroad.

I’ve studied for eight years so far and although I know the studying will never really end for me, the really hard slog is coming to an end.

It’ll be great to drop the word “assistant” from my job title and become a fully-fledged architect.



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