BDP careers night – Evening academy session

On Tuesday 21st February, we had our PLACED Academy evening session at BDP offices in Manchester. Louise Taylor, architect at BDP, kindly hosted the session and organised a selection of different, interesting speakers to chat to our young people. Louise herself was involved with PLACED as a young person, which has shaped her career!

The first speaker was Ian John, who spoke to our cohort about the importance of project technology and software, showing the cohort what technology is used and how. Ian explained how technology has dramatically changed how architects, and many other professionals, approach their work. Technology has brought new ways of working for many within the built environment, enabling more accurate and quicker sharing of information between, for example, architects and engineers.

The second speaker was Viktoria Dimitrova who gave an interesting overview of their career path and how they had found their focus within architecture. Having worked on a number of different projects, she found her passion for residential development. Finding motivation from knowing that her work would go on to have a life of its own as people’s homes beyond the life project. 

We also heard from Luke Richards, who told the cohort of his experience of becoming an urban designer at BDP. Luke did the typical architecture route to becoming an urban designer, now working across masterplans, public realm and building design projects. He describes urban design as a bridge between different professions, you will typically work with different teams from a range of sectors. One of his favourite things about what he does is being able to travel to some amazing places for work, such as the Isle of Man.

Hope Bleasdale inspired the cohort with her journey to becoming a graduate apprentice town planner. Hope did a geography degree at the University of Liverpool and conducted work experience in local planning, before working in London for a summer placement at Savills and then joining BDP. As she works as a town planner at BDP, she is also completing her urban planning masters degree part time from Sheffield Hallam University. Hope’s favourite projects to work on included Birmingham Children’s Hospital, St Anne’s Town Centre Masterplan and Derbyshire Dales Local Plan Review.

Next to present was Joseph Hardy, an acoustician. Joseph explained that an acoustician consultant works on how sound travels within external environments and transmits in spaces. As part of his role, he investigates and conducts environmental noise surveys, road traffic noise, air traffic noise, stadium/concert noise and sound installations, using the geometry of the room to make sound reflect better! He did his A-Levels in physics and maths and then went to the University of Salford to do physics with acoustics (with a year in industry at BDP) and then became a graduate acoustic consultant at BDP. Joseph also then became an associate member of the institute of acoustics but after 3 years at BDP is now a full member of the institute of acoustics!

Niamh Cullen then shared her journey to becoming a graduate civil and structural engineer, summing up her role to make buildings stand up and ensure they don’t fall! Niamh is a specialist in design, construction, repair, conversion, and conservation, including buildings, structures, drainage, and earthworks. She works across different sectors, often closely with architects, service engineers, local authorities, and clients to design and detail code requirements, analyse structure and drainage by hand or by software. Her journey began with studying maths, further maths and art and design at college and then did a year studying architecture at university. Niamh decided architecture wasn’t for her and swapped to an integrated masters degree in civil and structural engineering at the University of Sheffield, followed by a summer placement at BDP, although she noted that there are different routes available through apprenticeships, especially at BDP. Her favourite projects include working on Chester Zoo grasslands and UClan Student Centre.

Jamie Talbot is a Part II architectural assistant at BDP, studying A-Levels in politics, history, and art before studying at LJMU. After his degree, he worked for a heritage consultancy before doing his masters degree at Manchester school of Architecture. As part of his masters thesis, he focused on the north sea and capitalism, envisioning it in a holistic way, questioning if capitalism can be done better or in a more efficient and environmental way. Although he joined the BDP team recently, he is currently working on a project in the University of Warwick.

Kimberley Androliakos is also a Part II architectural assistant at BDP, having studied art, chemistry and maths at A-Level and then continuing to the Manchester school of Architecture. Kim then undertook her Part I placement at Triangle Architects, followed by a masters degree back at Manchester, then her Part II at URBED LTD and is now at BDP. Her role consists of assisting with delivery of projects, mainly residential, but working across urban design, landscape architecture, consultation, and energy performance sectors. She enjoys making an impact on people’s lives and the constant opportunity for growth!

Many thanks to Louise and all the brilliant people at BDP for their time and for inspiring our young people. Their offices are absolutely brilliant too!