Architecture talk by Calum Norman

On Friday 4th November, we had the opportunity to listen to Calum Norman’s talk about architecture from a student’s perspective. I, and I'm sure many others, found the talk extremely informative and helpful, especially for those who are considering a degree in architecture. 

Mr Norman addressed many topics, such as how to build a successful portfolio and what studying architecture is really like. He also told us about some of the crucial techniques one should master before applying for architecture, for example sculpting and free-hand drawing, and taught us some new terms, such as axonometric drawings. However, he stressed that it isn’t necessary for a student, applying for architecture, to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject, since architecture isn’t taught at school.

He also addressed the details and the process behind RIBA qualifications and work placements. He explained that working in a company provides a lot of helpful experience and is crucial for trainee architect. Although the process of becoming an architect is long and demanding, it is a profession that combines both practical and creative aspects, making it unique and fascinating.

Mr Norman also told us about some of his personal experience and life at the University of Sheffield. I found it especially fascinating that he did an Art Foundation before his undergraduate degree. As he explained, the foundation was really helpful, because it allowed him to refine his skills and improve his creative thinking. I found Mr Norman’s description of the architecture course at Sheffield, and the type of projects he has done in the past such as designing an observatory, really inspiring. It definitely made me excited for my own university experience.

Lastly, we took a look at Mr Norman’s portfolio which consisted of sketches, models and designs. He explained that, although using computers for design is mainstream, many still prefer the practical approach. His portfolio was really impressive and gave us an insight into what we should expect to be doing in university. He also talked about his favourite project; creating housing for elderly and fighting the stigma of loneliness through design. I found it interesting that, although some of his pieces were technical, all of his work was focused on good presentation and graphical design.

At the end, we had the opportunity to ask Mr Norman some specific questions and gain more insight into the work experience aspect of architecture. I know that many of us found this part extremely helpful, especially those who are in the process of applying. 

Overall, I found the talk educational and beneficial. It was a great opportunity to learn more about architecture and life at university in general. Undoubtedly, the talk was a very valuable experience. 

Sofiya Apsit, SFC1