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Student Profile – Srimathi Aiyer

shrimpySrimathi Aiyer

5th Year Master in Architecture (MArch) Student

I was brought up in Stratford, East London, with a family originating from South India. I discovered I was into illustration from an early age and I still draw cartoons as a hobby to this day in my spare time. I get most of my inspiration for anything creative I do from film, animation and world travel.

Why did you choose KSA? 

I am impressed that KSA has increasingly gained recognition both in the league tables and general word of mouth as a school with a wide curriculum that covers design, technology and cultural aspects. I feel the modules being taught covers the essentials needed, without it completely focusing on the artistic or theoretical side alone; therefore that broad range of teaching is what convinced me to join KSA. Canterbury is also a beautiful place to live in and there are easy travel links toLondon and other neighbouring towns in Kent.

What are you currently working on? 

I am working on my final Masters thesis project, where the site I picked is in America. I always have had a fascination for America, so to focus on historical and contextual interests from that country that influence my project is incredibly motivating and I am excited to see how my scheme turns out. I am currently designing a spa centre that revolves around the spiritual journey and thermal sensations of the four elements: earth, wind, fire and water.

shrimpy 2Tell us about your study period abroad 

Doing my Autumn term in Virginia Tech, USA as part of my 5th Year was an experience I will never forget. I got to immerse myself in new ways of teaching and approaches to design. Furthermore, I got to interact with tutors and students, not just from America but all around the world too. It was intense, but everyone helped each other in an enthusiastic studio environment. Washington DC was within close proximity, so I ensured I was on top of work before travelling around the city and other states in the USA. I think I got more of a reverse culture shock when I got back to the UK, rather than when I first arrived there!

How would you describe your architectural approach?

What I have discovered is my designs are simplistic on the outside, but I then attempt to break lines of symmetry inside and focus more on key moments or views as you turn a corner or generally move around a building. My proposals prioritise user experience, so there will be some moments where movement is controlled or slowed down and other times when it’s more open and free. Then the architectural language will be structured around that user approach and use.

What advice would you give to someone embarking on an architectural degree?

This is coming from someone who, at the age of eighteen, had stage fright, struggled with time management, had so mind blanks when searching for ideas and followed the crowd who would tell you that they never sleep or eat. It took time, but I have found myself in architecture and you can too if you put your heart into it. I can now say I have grown to a point where I do manage my work much better, I handle presentations a lot better and I do a lot more research and reading (and sketching too!) to get ideas. And you concentrate better in good health. It’s primarily two things: confidence and self-belief. And those are two qualities that don’t get graded but are celebrated a lot more in the end.

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