Chris’s path to becoming a Chartered Architect was unconventional, particularly when his childhood aspiration had been to become a soldier with the British Army, a dream which ended abruptly with a serious knee injury during training. Looking for something else to do, he ended up training as a technician with the CITB, and worked his way up from there.
At the time I started my Part 1 Certificate in Architecture with RIBA Studio, I was a Chartered Architectural Technologist and technical manager for my practice, leading a team of architects and technicians on several prestigious and challenging projects. Clients unfamiliar with the construction industry would occasionally question why their project was not being led by an architect. I had always envisaged running a practice and to this end it was clear that the status of an architect would provide me with opportunities that may not have been afforded otherwise. RIBA Studio was the only route to qualification that allowed me to maintain my full-time position in practice.
Given my technical background, I gained a great deal from the design aspects of the RIBA Studio course. Returning to academia after a 14-year break was a challenge! In particular the final year of the Part 1, and the whole of the Part 2, had a considerable influence in my approach to the design of my practice projects.
I would say to anyone considering this route that they should be under no illusion that it will be easier than a taught course at university. In addition to the responsibilities and workload associated with my duties as the senior associate of my practice, I had a growing family to support; and managing time and family needs could be very challenging – I needed to be self-motivated and find time to dedicate to my studies.
The best advice I would give to anyone starting a course with RIBA Studio is to find a good tutor who understands the nuances of academic architectural projects. I was very fortunate as I found a fantastic tutor who not only understood this - but also understood how to get the best from me.
Soon after completing the RIBA Part 3 qualification, I was awarded a commendation by the 2017 RIBA President's Medals judges for my dissertation looking at the way in which the architectural environment may reduce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in combat troops.
In January 2018, three months after becoming an RIBA Chartered Architect, I started my own practice, Brink Architects.
Want to find out more? See our RIBA Studio information for details on eligibility, fees and how to apply.