Building treated four architect students to a pint or two and recorded their thoughts on 3D rendering, the smoking ban and, er, dating other architects

“Have you ever been out with an architect?” Louise asks Ash.

“Umm … out with an architect, Biblically? No.”

It turns out Rory has, in the past. The conversation turns to pillow talk.

“What did we talk about in bed?” says Rory, “God I love CAD … oh … yeah …”

The evening started rather more sensibly, as I met Chris, Ash and Louise at the Electric Showrooms, one of the neon-lit bars that attract east London’s arty, studenty community. After a hard day’s group seminar on a 3D rendering animation, the trio came to meet me here because, as they explain, their student bar is rubbish. According to Ash that’s one of the few things wrong with the course.

We run through what they did for their year in practice. Chris worked with Alan Camp Architects for a year and spent another year working with a colleague who started his own practice. “It was good going from a big firm to a small firm.”

Ash worked at a few places, including a small practice doing mostly residential things.

Wasn’t that quite boring, just doing houses? “It’s pure architecture. It’s nuts and bolts,” says Ash, “You don’t find many surprises round the back of people’s houses. It’s OK though.”

Rory arrives, slightly perplexed after a meeting with his supervisor. He’s been asked to provide a design for an urban farm in the style of a children’s book. He soon becomes more confused while looking at a copy of the Building Buys a Pint column. It was the Valentine’s Day speed dating special. That’s not typical, I point out. “You mean, we’re not speed dating?” No.

After a plate of chips and more drinks Chris and Rory bob outside for a fag and when they come back the rest of the table do the same.

Do all architecture students smoke? “It helps to break up the really long hours,” says Louise. “Although I am supposed to have given up.”

Back inside, Ash argues that the number of years and amount of debt involved in studying architecture tends to put people off, especially given that starting salaries aren’t that competitive. “You meet someone in the pub and say what you do and they say ‘wow’ you must make loads of money and you’re kind of thinking, well actually, no.”

Louise reflects that being a planner requires a lot less training and better pay. “Sometimes,” she says, “I wonder why I’m doing this. It can be quite stressful.”

Why are you, then? “I enjoy the work and it’s a great sense of achievement. I couldn’t ever imagine doing anything else.”

Chosen watering hole: Electric Showrooms, Hoxton Square 

Ambience: Trendy east London student hangout 

Topics: Years in practice, speed dating, smoking, career prospects 

Drinks drunk: 8 Bombardiers, 6 Red Stripe, 3 Guinness

Chris Chapman
Louise Ollerearnshaw
Ashley Seaborne
Rory O'Sullivan

All architecture diploma students at University of East London School of Architecture and Visual Arts
James Clegg Building