Initially, I thought my interest in design might take away from my other subjects. The sciences, especially, seemed to be based on deferred gratification; it was only after spending years learning the discoveries of previous generations that you were able to contribute your own. I quickly learned that I was less disposed to standing on the shoulders of giants and more to kicking impatiently at their shins. But perversely, design made my interest in these subjects greater. By having the opportunity for creativity in CDT, science no longer had that need to meet. It became a useful tool to better understand what I was creating. Subjects once abstract became relevant and useful: the low friction coefficient of nylon made for good bearings; irrational numbers like √2 explained the layout of A4 paper. Ideas became tangible. Design, I realised, was more than the sum of its parts.
It was then that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in something which had both creative and technical elements. My teachers at the time, however, couldn’t quite agree what direction that should take me in. Then, shortly before making the final decision, we got our first exam results back. I’d managed to get the top results in the country for CDT and in an instant the confusion all but disappeared. Architecture, every teacher agreed, was the course I should study.
This is why I started my own studio: to use architectural skills in whatever way is needed to make the built environment a more socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable place. So far, this has included services like ProxyAddress that enable people facing homelessness to access support services, installations to create dialogue across communities, and architecture projects such as the conversion of a Grade-II listed building in Westminster to a homeless day centre. Buildings are an important part of my work as an architect but they’re still not my be-all and end-all.