So I had to move flat last week, and this gave me the opportunity to look through a couple of boxes I'd been avoiding looking through for a while.
Amongst lots of other stuff I found loads of old stuff from when I studied a BA in Architecture. It was really interesting browsing through a couple of old sketchbooks.
Along with reminding me of some of the projects I worked on, it gave me some great context on how I approached the briefs. Looking at them all these years later, with more experience under my belt was really interesting. I looked at them from a neutral point of view and I thought I'd share a few things, in no particular order.
Asher's Graveyard Cafe
This was a project where we were asked to look at a famous persons house, analyse it and then think about the kind of shop they would open.
And here's a scribbled cross section. I was surprised when I looked back at all the things I created with my hands. All of my drawings (bar one) in the sketchbooks were hand drawings. I used to love drawing with pen and ink on tracing paper.
This was a project where we had to design a house for an elderly lady. It had to be self-contained and also cheap to run (as old ladies usually have a small pension). Oh, and it reversed the idea that you would have a 'granny flat' on a larger house. In this one you had to provide living accommodation for you, her son.
This is the overall view of it, sketching out all its facades. I've no idea why I decided on the pitch of the roof like that - probably something to do with it looking a little like a quant cottage...
Eat food, drink beer, smoke fags. You can see my genius flare for advertising right there... and maybe some of my feelings about society too. Then I needed to provide accommodation for myself within this house, so I decided to have a mezzanine level where a scale version of Trellick Tower overlooked mother's section of the house.
The Spirit of Soho Mural
So for this one we were given a very loose brief. Basically it asked us to do something close to the Soho Mural. Simple as that. I thought a nice thing to do would be to have a mirrored viewing platform that was both a kaleidoscope internally and externally - something that would talk about the swinging sixties heritage of Carnaby Street and something that allowed people to see the mural from a perspective they hadn't seen it from before.
The Camden Lock Rock Cliche Hotel
This was one of my favourite projects but unfortunately I think I only have this single piece of tracing paper to remember it by. We were given a site at Camden Lock and briefed to design a hotel there. I wanted to design something that embodied the music heritage of Camden so designed an experiential hotel. The drawing below was one of the floors. I had two parallel towers that were kept apart besides the odd floor where they were connected. This was a connected floor - the signing floor. This was the floor where bands would sign their recording contracts. We know in reality most people in a band don't get on, so that's why there were two rooms, one in each tower - so the likes of Noel Gallagher could go into one tower, and Liam in the other. A simple layout meant they could go straight into the toilets and do a line of coke. Then they would sit around a huge circular table with loads of suits and sign their contract. The suits would then walk over the bridge and do the same with the other half of the band. When signed, the band members would walk out onto the walkways and throw TV's over the side to the ground below as a symbol of their newly signed contracts. I loved working on this project.
So what did this teach me?
Looking back on it now, this is clearly where I started thinking about things in pictures. I always sketch things out to help explain a question or solve a problem.
What it definitely taught me though was to think creatively, think with risk, think beyond convention - but always to back up this creativity with robust data. In the case of architecture that was engineering details and building regulations. For what I do now, it's about research.
It's probably also where I got my love for thin black ink pens.
I have more images from the sketchbooks - maybe I'll post some more work at some point.