Student Profile - Grant Russell 188BSc MArch ArchitectureFrom Ayr, Scotland

Why did you choose RGU?

It is one of the best universities in the country for architecture, so that was the key thing. No matter how good the city was, I wouldn't have gone there if the university had a poor course reputation. I chose RGU because it was somewhere completely new to me - it threw me out of my comfort zone. It was very far from home, you couldn’t just nip home on the weekend - so it forced you to throw yourself into university life. It was a chance to experience a contrast in people and lifestyle. Also, I’d heard so many people say brilliant things about Aberdeen and what a great city it was before I went there. The course structure also appealed, with the studio units taught in a very different way to other universities around the country.  

Why did you choose the course you are studying?

The breadth of study is a significant factor which gives a degree in architecture its gravitas. From research, theory and history on one side, to design, engineering and politics on the other, architecture is the silent linchpin of society in the modern world. It is one of the few careers which can genuinely influence people's lives all day and every day, I suppose this explains why qualification takes so long and why the degree is so intense. It was this aspect of diversity – knowing every day would be different and unique that enticed me.

What are your favourite things about being a student in Aberdeen?

I'd heard it said that people come to Aberdeen and never tend to leave. Despite its reputation as a cold, hard and dour city, Aberdeen offers rich culture, low unemployment and an enviable lifestyle. Despite all this, the highlight was the course itself to me. Architecture allowed me to refine my mind more than anything else. Of course you will learn the iterative process, how to draw technically, or the engineering know-how to support designs, yet, for me, it is the intense psychological training which holds the most value.

Have you been involved in any clubs or societies while at RGU? If so tell us a little bit about it

I attend many of the, 57°10 society meetings which have been running for 28 years and invites guest lecturers from around the world to the school to talk about their projects and ideas on Thursday afternoons. The society prides itself in being student-led, providing lectures that will in turn inspire our future architects and artists on the path to become designers. Throughout the academic year the society holds multiple events bringing our members together to discuss and promote the extents of architecture and design. 

Do you have any advice for people who are considering study at RGU?

I feel I can only give valuable advice in relation to my course at RGU.

  • Don't be competitive: School is about learning, not about 'oneupping' your classmates. The mind-set of comparing your work to others in a creative field is not only nonsensical, but dangerous.
  • Create freely: Schools are there to open our minds. Don't let others close it. Often you will not find reasons for some architectural decisions you make. Just believe in your will. You have just five years of total experimental freedom.
  • Don’t be afraid to question your teachers: It can be tempting to gain favour with your tutors by doing everything they say, but there are many ways to approach architecture and becoming a clone of someone else isn’t always the best way. You’ll produce more interesting and individual architecture by learning from your teachers, but also questioning them occasionally. 

What do you want to do when you complete your course?

For now I intend to travel and further explore who I am, as so much of the last 6 years studying architecture has been dedicated to trying to find answers and reasoning’s every day for my architectural designs. However, in the future I intend to continue exploring the possibilities architecture can offer by getting involved with as many projects as I can, collaborating with the contacts I have made over the last few years in Aberdeen. After I qualify, I would definitely like to experience working abroad for a while, before hopefully setting up my own practice in Boston, USA as that is my home away from home.

Find out more about Grant's course

  • BSc MArch Architecture

    This course is professionally accredited by the RIBA and ARB and teaches all aspects required to become a professional Architect including the design of buildings, towns and cities.

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