Portfolio and career background [a draft to be re-drafted/edited]
This website is a portal to my work and university portfolios etc.
My practical experience portfolio is an eight year snapshot during the construction boom representing a wide range of architectural services on more than a hundred projects to date, i.e. from my graduation in 2000 to the end of 2008 in the main. Several sectors have been represented involving new-build through to conservation.
This experience ranges from the very minor through to the very major in my capacity as a time-served Architectural Assistant, technician, or as a Project Leader on local authority Minor-Works projects.
My graduate work has largely evolved around non-traditional procurement projects with next to no contract-administration activity. My work on traditionally procured projects has neither given me any conventional contract-administration experience.
Seeking to register with the ARB (to qualify as an Architect) has therefore been a problem as I have had to defer from pursuing the Part-3 Exam in Professional Practice & Management (EPPM) until the time is right. The evidence needed to qualify for the EPPM is 1) a suitable Case Study, whether on one project or divided between projects (as permitted of late); and 2) a Record of Experience (aka logbook) demonstrating an even spread of recorded hours across all of the professional experience ‘activities’ without excluding any one or more of the 7 categories therein, particularly that of contract-administration because of the profession’s indoctrination into the Standard Form of Building Contract - the latter being the one category that I have yet to gain an adequate number of hours in.
I hope to report back here that I have closed this particular gap in my professional practice experience.
Although this is the main cause and effect matter facing my EPPM prospects, there are perhaps a couple more of greater concern in respect of applying for jobs: e.g. such as unfair software stipulations.
Each practical experience album will describe each of my software experiences to date, i.e. versions and derivatives of Microstation and PowerCADD drafting after graduation (i.e. post Part-2 qualified work-experience) and AutoCAD drafting generally prior to graduation (i.e. mainly during Part-1 qualified work-experience).
Although this means having an advantage in jobs demanding Microstation or PowerCADD conversancy, it disadvantages me in the jobs that ask for previous experience in Vectorworks, ArchiCAD, and to an extent AutoCAD/Revit. What might become equally daunting and unfair in the future is if previous BIM experience
is required to apply for positions that will entail BIM rather than CAD.
[Evidence of being able to adjust to computers let alone software and be instantly productive at the same time, i.e. in late 2000, was cited by my office supervisor in the first quarterly appraisal of my logbook, AQ in my "press" page.
Next, in a massive software leap from PowerCadd to Microstation in late 2003 instantly providing Glasgow City Council with freelance architectural services, my Building Warrant drawings for a circa £1M building for the major-projects team within the first fortnight on the job were deemed adequate enough to be reused by them for the construction GAs - I recall also taking pride in pointing out a technical / massing refinement in the design which was adopted and kept. I was thereafter given several minor-works projects to run while continuing to help ocassionally on some of the major-projects work.]
My first experience of producing drawings was during a 3.5 year period of undergraduate practical experience prior to choosing to transfer to full-time studies. This was an intensive apprenticeship period producing entirely manually drafted construction-issue drawings, which was for the full construction stage of a major GC Works project (i.e. my first taste of 'standard form of building contract' work or traditional procurement, but alas, involving drawing rather than contract administration experience). This placement was undoubtedly attributable to the technical drawing standards that I had gleaned from High School [edit. 17/10/12, and because of practices opening-up to recruiting those from less advantaged areas]. I recall leaving school to enter work merely days before my final term ended.
This was the initial vehicle for continuing my drafting talent after secondary education. It also helped me to gain a day-release place at the Mackintosh School of Architecture [edit. 17/10/12, likewise, also because education was opening-up to recruiting from less advantaged areas]. However, in 1991 as the above assignment was drawing to a conclusion in tandem with a major recession, I decided to pursue full time studies as opposed to continuing in apprenticeship mode.
My secondary education portfolio and qualifications had also helped me to gain entry into the Mackintosh School of Architecture in addition to having practical experience. I have uploaded some of my surviving high school course and portfolio artwork here
My academic work thereafter was entirely manually drafted, except for compulsory AutoCad(AEC) studies in my degree final year, which have unfortunately not been retained. My CAD studies were passed by producing a 3D model and perspectives of the Portree High School studio project - i.e. the cranked spine block over the water with parabolic elements - see BArch drawings and models for non computer images.
I have been active in my chosen profession since completing my studies in 2000, combining extracurricular and practical experience. I have maintained an excellent CPD record on my own account as well as that gleaned from within employment. I have added a photo album for containing any interesting visits or study activities here
My voluntary work (since 2006) has included: acting as 1) a branch secretary for the IHBC as of mid 2011; 2) a coordinator on the Save the Egyptian Halls campaign as of early 2011; 3) a collator of biographical information on contractors from 1880-1920 as a part-time research assistant on the AHRC funded 2010-13 Mackintosh Architecture Project during mid to late 2010; 4) a panellist on the Glasgow Urban Design Panel as of 2013, but as an observer from 2010; 5) as a part-time cataloguer of drawings from the Glasgow City Archives - my involvement being from the 1930s onwards to eventually the near present day - as of late 2006.
[edit. 17/10/12: reflective temporary bio note as follows to be vastly edited as a 2012 quote for my recollections page later,
...looking back at how I may have acquired an architectural career is the following observation. In contrast to a fact raised on an interesting topic recently on a BBC documentary charting the rise and fall of meritology in respect of entry into the professions and regarding the selection of government leaders, and ps: a subject incidentally resurfacing in the next day’s BBC News articles, (e.g. here with heated public commentary, and here) in respect of the situation today; the suggested lowest point in history (on a graph of birth years charting the hi-&-lo timeline of ‘merit Vs class distinction’) for those bearing merit rather than social distinction falls in the very same year that I was born, yet fortunately for me, a practice and educational institution in Glasgow seemed to be embracing professional career starts from school leavers in deprived areas. However, the documentary also covered the issues facing prospective professionals at the other end of their academic studies, painting a picture of dilemma between who should and shouldn’t qualify for registration as a professional within their selected discipline, be it the medical, legal, or other professions. If a sea change in policy promoting social class over merit in the 1990s was forecast (?) it may have instigated or compelled Glasgow’s industry and education into reacting against it, therefore benefitting candidates like me, coming from deprived areas. Therefore, perhaps in a twist of fate, the shipyard placements in my area had dwindled to nothing by about 1985, meaning that I definitely had to stay on at high school, successfully completing my 6th year studies in 1988. The abrupt ending to the shipyard apprenticeships that I’d seen rolled-out - year on year - therefore may have ironically been my passport into the architectural profession. I happened to muster enough qualifications and not be turned away from applications made to a substantially large practice and shortly thereafter to an illustrious school of architecture. Some of my peers of the same age, similarly fated, have easily became recognised as architects. However, for me I wonder, the 1970 birth year statistic that radically favours (or had favoured) social class over merit may yet have substance. Certainly, no practice has properly respected my EPPM candidacy; instead largely assigning (fee-earning) practical work that presumes the assistant (EPPM candidate) is already qualified and experienced. On a positive note, being sidetracked off the EPPM has been as marvellous a privilege as I'm sure that being channelled through it would be...]