Our entire practice congratulates Ben Harmer on his successful completion of his architectural education and Part III assessment. Ben joined Corstorphine & Wright 5 years ago and has worked diligently to reach this milestone.
Ben shares his challenges, aspirations, and advice for others completing their Part III.
What drove you to study architecture?
From a relatively young age I have always gravitated towards creative subjects and activities that incorporate both self-expression and artistic forms. I knew from the age of about thirteen that I wanted to be involved in the creative industry in some form and so with an appetite for Art and Architecture I decided that a career in Architecture would be an ideal fit for my interests. Architecture allows you to express your creative abilities in the built form whilst shaping people’s lives and the world we live in. Architecture is a creative journey, and I am passionate about design and the responsibilities to the built environment.
What have been the most challenging & satisfying moments?
Studying Architecture is time intensive, especially in the latter stages and therefore combining part or full time working in addition to all the normal student activities was at times extremely challenging.
From a workplace viewpoint, you generally encounter design and build dilemmas daily. I found that ensuring that the most appropriate materials were selected to be a complicated and challenging process as many different factors including cost and practicalities need to be considered.
In the end, qualifying as a Chartered Architect will fulfil a childhood dream emotionally, but practically will give me the remit to design schemes that hopefully have a positive impact on both the built environment and the local community.
What other professional aspirations do you have?
I have a keen commitment to Architecture and the future of the discipline. I know that a dedicated mentor is important on the journey to qualifying as an architect. Mentoring students along this path, enabling them to gain experience and insight into the profession through supporting programmes both internally and externally is something I therefore intend to become involved in. Hopefully, I can then play some small part in developing and inspiring the next generation of young Architects.
Now that you have some more free time, how will you be spending it?
When I began my Architectural studies and career, I initially struggled to maintain a work life balance. I have always been interested in sport and have competed in a few different sports from a young age. I therefore decided that Triathlon events with its varying disciplines would be an ideal fit. Exercise helps me to maintain a healthy body and mind in an extremely demanding industry. Provided that I am sufficiently prepared, I intend to take on the challenge of an Ironman 70.3 in France this year, which involves a 1.9km Swim, 90km Bike and 21.1.km Run. Yes, all in one go!
What advice do you have for those about to embark on their Part III studies?
Firstly, for anyone embarking on the Part III, two books I would highly recommend for your studies are:
- “Architect’s Legal Pocket Book” by Matthew Cousins
- “JCT Contract Administration Pocket Book” by Andrew Atkinson
These are excellent simple guides on understanding everything from Forms of Appointment through to Contract Events Post-Completion.
The best advice I can give to those individuals embarking on their Part III studies is to ensure you vary your experience, stay firmly committed to the end goal, surround yourself with people who have gone through the process and always ask questions. Sometimes you may fail but remember the adage that you will learn more from failure than you will success.
Finally, the hard work, long hours, sometimes disappointment are all worth it, especially when you finally qualify as an ‘Architect’ but remember you’re not expected to know everything, and this is really the start of your architectural journey.