An Interview with Lauren De Souza (Architectural Assistant)

For our third blog in celebration of World Architecture Day earlier this week, we have spoken to Lauren De Souza, an Architectural Assistant who GSSArchitecture are currently supporting through her studies in order to gain her qualifications.

“I decided to start on the career path I have chosen, with the goal to become a Chartered Architect, as I have always had a keen interest in the built environment and how it can impact on the way we live and integrate with others. It is a fusion of multiple disciplines; from Art to Science and everything in between, which I find really interesting.

I have worked in the industry for 4 years, although my career at GSS funnily started at the young age of 16 years old, when I attended a work experience placement at the Practice for two weeks in 2011. The experience reinforced my passion for architecture, which led me to study BArch Architecture (RIBA Part I) at Nottingham Trent University. Since graduating, I returned to GSS to work there full-time in 2016. The reputation of the Practice had only soared since my work experience placement five years ago, and my enjoyment of my placement was enough to convince me to re-join whilst I continued my studies part-time.

Typically, a day in my role will include a variety of things, from producing drawings using Autodesk Revit either for planning applications or for working drawing packages, to liaising with consultants and colleagues to ensure the project is on track. I would say that some of my favourite aspects of my role involve generating and discussing design ideas, problem-solving to find a way to meet the client’s expectations, and improving on the graphic presentation of our work.

One of my recent projects that I’m proud to have worked on is the £30m redevelopment of Parliament Hill School in London, which achieved a BREEAM “Excellent” rating. This exciting project involved a major new build development including a sports hall, science labs, and general teaching classrooms, as well as the refurbishment of the existing dining hall. I am also currently assisting the team with some extremely interesting projects including an Institute of Technology in the South East, and a University masterplanning exercise.

My advice for anyone looking to pursue a career in architecture would be that discipline is crucial! Architects need to be well-rounded and have the ability to consider an abundance of factors when designing. Therefore, taking the time to develop skills you’re weaker at is very beneficial. Although the aesthetics of a building is very important, always consider the more practical/technical aspects throughout the design stage, whilst bearing in mind the end-user’s experience – form follows function.”

Make sure to check out our blogs so far this week, and keep an eye on our social media channels for the rest of the week for more information on various other roles at GSSArchitecture.