My story: James the newly qualified architect

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The Independent Online

‘You do hold quite a powerful position – and that’s quite exciting’ says James Daykin, 28. He trained at Newcastle School of Architecture Planning and Landscape and The Bartlett School of Architecture before qualifying last year. He is an architect at Wilkinson Eyre Architects in London, where his projects have included the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

I picked Wilkinson Eyre for my Stage 2 because I had such good work experience here after Part 1. I was confident they would be able to offer me the professional experience I needed, as I knew they had a well established and rigorous approach to design and running the business.

I did my final professional exams in 2007 through London South Bank University. The exams basically cover all the aspects of an architecture practice that you don’t really encounter at university. It’s about completing your knowledge base.

Architecture isn’t just about design: there are so many other important skills you need in order to go out and build things on time and on budget.

There’s no such thing as a typical day as it changes day by day, week by week. There are site visits, design team meetings, meetings with the client plus office based work, dealing with problems as they come up, progressing packages of design and doing some drawing work. At the moment I’m working on a number of projects in Bath, so I’m travelling there at least once a week. We’re working on a train and bus station in Bath and we’ve also got planning permission for the new Dyson School of Design Innovation in the centre of the city, which is a very exciting project.

The highest reward of the job is to see a building that has been on paper for a long time get built. It’s very rewarding to see the physical end product. The building is a testament to an incredible amount of team work and the architect is right at the centre of that process: leading the clients, leading the design team and quite often leading the construction process.

You do hold quite a powerful position – and that’s quite exciting, because it means you are incredibly well placed to be tenacious and make sure the design as you see it is realised.

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