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11th September 2018

Going her own way

In the latest of our trainee stories series, we talk to Kaitlin Allen, the newest member of the Arc Partnership team, about why she wants to be a different kind of architect.

Hi Kaitlin, what's your new job at Arc Partnership?

I'm an Architectural Assistant. I joined at the beginning of July and in September I'll be going part time so I can study my Masters at the University of Nottingham.

Can you tell us a bit about your course?

It's called MArch Architecture with Collaborative Research Practice and it's Part 2 of my RIBA qualification. The course is brand new and it's a little different to the standard route, so it means I'll be able to combine in-work experience - here at Arc - with part time study and a research project. It's great because usually a part-time course would take twice that long.

Are you from Nottingham originally?

I'm actually Canadian, although I don't sound it. My family moved around quite a bit when I was a kid, so we lived in Canada, the US and Mexico before settling in Nottingham when I was about 13. It's been home ever since and I studied for my Part 1 here too. I love the city and the architecture department at the university is really good. After my Part 1 I worked in Leeds for 18 months, which was a great experience, but it's good to be back.

So, what appealed to you about joining the Arc team?

My course really led me to Arc. I researched the companies that were interested in working with students on the course and Arc stood out for a couple of reasons. First, I like education projects. But secondly, I liked the fact that there are engineers in house here, so it's much more of a collaborative process between the engineers, architects and the procurement team.

My first degree was a masters in engineering, called Architecture and Environmental Design. Again, it was different to the normal route into architecture in that it taught me the skills I'd need to become a mechanical or building services engineer too. That's actually the route half the students went on to take, while the rest of us went into architecture. Right from the start I loved both, so being able to get the engineering side of things back into my work life felt like a good fit.

Now you're here, what does your job involve day to day?

Well, I'm only a few weeks in, but I'm getting stuck in and helping on the team's current projects, which are mostly educational at the moment. I've been helping out with Revit too. We used it a lot in my last office, so it was nice to be part of that change. In the run up to my course I've been having discussions about what kind of research project I should take on.

I'd like to choose something that not only interests me, but will benefit the company too. I'm still bouncing ideas around, but I'm exploring the idea of acoustics in education settings, conducting post-occupancy experiments to make future Arc projects even better.

What are your ambitions for the future?

At the minute I'm just thinking about the next two years! I suppose over time I'd like to take the reins on my own projects more. But long-term I'd like to become a chartered engineer as well as a qualified architect. I only know of one person who's done it, but I've loved both disciplines right from day one, so as far as big ambitions go, that's the one.

Look out for more trainee stories here on our news page soon.