Charles Hope

BA Architecture 2011-2014

Charles talks about studying for his BA in Architecture.

What attracted you to studying at Kent?

I grew up in a remote Hertfordshire village; the leafy open space and extended views over Canterbury Cathedral won me over with a sense of home from home. The symbolic presence of the hill top campus proves to be good morning exercise if nothing else. The wide range of facilities on campus seemed to cater for long durations of stay during busy exam and presentation periods, which would help with time efficiency, respectively. Having proximity to the coast attracted me with the possibility of visiting Whitstable, Margate and more remotely the Isle of Grain and Dungeness for the more adventurous students.

Why did you choose to study architecture?

At secondary school I was torn paradoxically between art and science based subjects – both of which interested me. I eventually found that architecture was the marriage of the two through the practical application of playful visual planning. In 2008, I shadowed a family friend at Sheppard Robson Architects as part of a work experience scheme in year 8. Subsequently, I arranged a number of other Architecture placements whilst spending my summer holidays working for my father, a builder. The welcoming open days at Kent School of Architecture, vowed that there I would find proper training towards my Part 1 architectural qualification.

What skills have you already learnt whilst studying architecture?

During my time at Kent I have explored architecture through a developing skill set of essay writing, hand drawing, sculptural modelling and computer visualisation. In addition, through regular interim and final crit presentations I have gained confidence in public speech and improvising under the stresses of closing questions. The workshop provides all the necessary tools and advice to make great looking physical models. Modelling, I have come to realise, as a physical process enables wider thinking and unconscious moves towards your design ideas where drawing and computer generation failed – and they look great in ‘show and tell’ demonstrations.

What are you enjoying most about university?

I really enjoy the studio culture that you find at the Kent School of Architecture, it functions as modern family and peer advice is crucial when the nights get long. In the third year I formed a subset of peers through the university chapter Article 25. Made predominantly of architects we arrange tutorials, film nights and socials – all good fun in aid of development and disaster relief. I also love the independence made available in the move to university, it has been an invaluable experience.

What do you think about the level of support in your studies?

The level of support is brilliant, with one of the highest student to tutor ratios on campus. The support comes from a wide range of backgrounds too, with guest tutors from local and London practices and academic staff with specialities in particular periods of architectural past. The support materialises in a number of ways through group and individual discussions, presentation feedback and impromptu conversation with passing members of staff. The diversity really helps to shape well rounded viewpoints and skill sets.