From Academic to Practice
This week marks my third week at work in BDP Glasgow, one of the most successful corporate studio in Scotland who won awards for many of his large-scale projects. I didn’t get much rest after thesis and degree show but went straight into the working world.
GLASGOW VS LONDON
People always question about my intention about living in Glasgow but not London. I am not a fans of big cities, realised only after my 5 years life in Singapore. London seems much more happening with diverse culture and fun-filled activities, but it also means the sky high living costs that doesn’t match with the wages. The lower the rent, the higher transportation cost is, and also the time taken for traveling to work. In terms of nature, Glasgow is famous with its Loch Lomond which is 30 minutes away, while it is hard to find a peaceful spot in Greater London. With much advantages in saving money by living in Glasgow I can pay off my loan as soon as possible.
BDP VS Others
In the art school corporate practices such as BDP are not welcomed by the students. They used to label these practices with less-designing and more-project-managing, putting the mundane title onto these companies. After three interviews in one week, I made my decision based on the choices and situation that I have (visa problem), and I am very happy with my decision to join BDP. The office is considered big in scale in the UK by having several offices across UK and the world. However the Glasgow studio is rather unique in its own way; there is only the architecture department in Glasgow, and most of the staffs are old MACK graduates. The pace might be slower than others, the projects might be less adventurous and experimental, but i enjoy working in a team of 10 with architects from various backgrounds. It is very organized (to certain extend) compared to small practices, where no time wasted on conflicts and technical errors. From what I am working now, I think the directors intended to put me into the design team, dealing mostly with conceptual initial design stage.
5.30PM VS LATE
Given my previous working experience in Singapore, leaving office at 5.30pm is rather weird to me. Nobody in the office stays later than 6pm, they rather come in early to do the work. I do understand the idea of ‘work-life balance’, but I was first lost in the searching of ‘life’ to balance with work. I have nothing to do after work other than cooking myself a beautiful (might not be tasty) dinner while watching TV shows on the couch. In the next few months, I shall find myself more activities to involve, and to broaden my network skills. On the other hand, my flatmate is working late everyday with random assignments given by the directors. He is exhausted after work, only came home about 7-8 in the evening, and too tired to make himself dinner. He ends up eating ready meals or pizzas from supermarket, and go to bed as early as possible for more sleeping hours.
Which is better and which is not, it is all depends on your own take in life. I am satisfied with the current stage of my life, but there is always rooms for improvement. The next few months will be very interesting; lots of submissions to complete, including RIBA President’s Medal nomination, and GIA Dinner to attend.
Life is an adventure. Make yours an incredible one. =)