Recently joining Carnoustie-based Brunton Design, a well-respected chartered architects firm that is focused on the residential sector, 21-year-old Ramsay Taylor tells us about his role as a Part 1 architectural assistant and the path that got him there.
Please tell us a little about yourself and the journey to your new role.
I grew up in Kirkton of Tough which is tiny village in rural Aberdeenshire. Going to my small secondary school, Alford Academy, really geared you towards science-based subjects, with the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen employing a lot of people in the North East. Architecture allowed me to combine my core science subjects with art and design, which was a relief as I didn’t want to work in the oil Industry. After six years at Alford Academy I applied to university. Dundee offered a fantastic course that really focused on areas of architecture I liked, along with being a relatively small city, which was an easier step moving from such a small village.
When did you really start to plan your studies and potential career path, and were there any major influences in that?
I’ve always been interested in architecture and building since a young age. As a kid, I would always be playing and building with Lego and ‘helping’ my grandad at his drawing board with plans and technical drawings of projects that he was working on. It was probably around the start of my Fifth Year in secondary school that I really started to consider choosing architecture as a potential career. My art teacher, Alistair Thomson, really encouraged me to explore architecture as part of my design unit in Higher Art, which I then continued into Advanced Higher. This eventually helped me build a portfolio of models and concepts to apply to university with.
How was university and what were the major challenges/rewards of the course?
I study at the University of Dundee. The course is very challenging and demanding with plenty of late nights stuck behind a computer screen or with a glue gun finishing models. The late nights are worth it in the end, after many crits and reviews which really help build your knowledge of presenting and designing projects, as well as being critical of your own work. My Third Year integrated design project was a distillery project in Leith; applying all the knowledge gained into one project over six months was really rewarding. Seeing my final submission pinned up in the 2018 Degree Show and showing it to my friends, family and the public was the proudest moment of my course so far.
Did you get any relevant work experience/work placement while you studied, and if so, what did it involve?
At the end of my second year I spent the summer at IMAC Architecture with Ian MacGregor. The experience of visiting sites and creating renderings of projects really started to open my eyes to the construction and architecture worlds and the amount of collaboration that projects require to be completed.
What did you find appealing about the opportunity at Brunton Design?
The opportunity to work within a small team really appealed to me, as I believe it would give me a better hands-on experience of working and a greater understanding of architecture and the different processes behind it, compared to being lost in a large commercial firm. I thought this would a great benefit to me when returning to university to complete my final two years of my degree.
How have you settled in to your new role?
I’ve enjoyed it so far, it’s a big change from university life, but I’m into the rhythm of it now. The team have been great and very helpful with any questions I’ve had about projects, learning Revit and keeping track of my hours!
What are your career ambitions and what further studies and experience do you need for that?
After my year with Brunton Design Studio I’ll return to Dundee University to complete my MArch (Hons) Degree and then complete my final Part 3 exams. After I’m fully qualified, I would love to live and work in Iceland or Scandinavia. The architecture and landscapes of these countries really interest and excite me as well as the people and cultures.