Rachel Gray - Master of Architecture (MArch)

Rachel Gray at Graduation 2024
A Master of Architecture graduate from Mintlaw awarded the 2024 Highlands & Islands Architectural Association Student Award and commendation from the Aberdeen Society of Architects Silver Medal, now working for a Stonehaven based practice.

As a school leaver from Mintlaw Academy, 17-year-old Rachel headed straight to the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment having been set on a career in architecture for as long as she could remember.

“I came home from primary school one day and told my parents I was going to be an architect, and I guess it just stuck! Growing up, I enjoyed academics and had a keen interest for learning, and so, on leaving academy, further education seemed the right option for me. I remember whenever I mentioned it, people would always say ‘oh architecture, six years! It’s such a long course’, but here we are!”

During secondary school, Rachel took part in the Scottish Funding Council’s ‘ACES’ Architecture & Built Environment cohort and spent 16 weeks doing subject-focussed sessions.

“The course gave me valuable insight into studying at RGU and allowed me to affirm my preferred course and route to qualification. The opportunity to get to know teaching staff and familiarise myself with the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment made the transition from school to university seamless.

“Like many others, I was originally drawn to architecture as it combined my technical and creative interests. The structure of the design studio module at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture offered a hands-on approach, which differed from other courses, and the more focused module subjects were varied.

“After visiting RGU, I was impressed with facilities on offer, and the small cohort sizes and unique studio spaces set it apart from alternative options.”

After six years of study culminating in the Master of Architecture, Rachel says she is immensely proud of her achievements.

“Having worked part-time for the entirety of my degree, I am delighted to have attained such an outcome. Although challenging at times, my experience of university has been rewarding and enjoyable, and I look forward to developing as a professional in the coming years.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity the Scott Sutherland School presents to attend study trips. Throughout my time at RGU I visited London, Orkney, and Dublin which have proved insightful and beneficial to my studies.

“A clear highlight however has to be the completion of my master’s thesis project, which concluded a year long design project based in Orkney. My project, entitled ‘Homegrown’ advocates the use of locally available and biogenic materials as a response to the twin crises of affordable housing shortages and climate breakdown.

"My work received significant recognition and the project has been awarded the 2024 Highlands & Islands Architectural Association Student Award, received a commendation for the Aberdeen Society of Architects Silver Medal, and has been nominated for the 3D Reid Student Award.”

Six years on from first starting at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment, and Rachel has already secured a job at Hyve Architects based in Stonehaven, where she did her part one placement, and where she worked whilst studying for her part two.

“I have really valued the opportunities and support offered by my office and I am delighted to have returned to full-time hours as a part two architectural assistant. I am currently working towards gaining my part three qualification to become a qualified architect.

“On reflection and with the skills and knowledge gained over the past six years, I feel confident and prepared for the next stages of my professional career. The focus on context has allowed me to develop a particular appreciation and understanding of Scottish architecture which I’m sure will aid my endeavours to continue to practice in Scotland in the future.

“The professional practice modules studied at the Scott Sutherland School are held in high regard, and they have been instrumental in my preparation for work and finding employment. I was also awarded the Harbourne McLennan Prize from RGU which honoured my achievements. I am very much looking forward to becoming a qualified architect and to building on the foundation gained at RGU.”

Cookie Consent