Fraser McCulloch - MSc Advanced Architectural Design

Fraser McCulloch - MSc Advanced Architectural Design
With a passion for environmental design, Fraser won a scholarship from the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and chose a master’s degree at The Scott School of Architecture & Built Environment, attracted by the course focus on sustainable solutions for the built environment and construction industry.

23-year-old Fraser McCulloch from Grantown-on-Spey initially studied a BSc (Hons) in Architectural Technology from the University of Highlands and Islands, graduating with a First Class.

He wanted to expand his knowledge and the MSc in Advanced Architectural Design at The Scott School of Architecture & Built Environment appealed because it focused on real world problems such as climate change and renewable technologies, areas which he believes are becoming increasingly important in the built environment sector. He also wanted to study close to his hometown of Grantown-on-Spey so that he could easily travel back and forth to campus from his parent’s house.

The MSc Advanced Architectural Design degree offered a new 12-month research-led course, that would give him the knowledge and skills to play a lead role in the future design and construction of buildings, cities and rural communities. Many of the projects connected in with innovation already underway at RGU such as zero-carbon buildings, design for fabrication and assembly, and digital design. 

Upon graduating, Fraser said: “It feels fantastic. I have learnt so much more, compared to my undergraduate degree and it has really opened up my eyes.

“I would like to thank all my peers for one of the best years of my life. While the majority of my time was spent on virtual meetings, it has been a great experience. We showed more than just resilience. We undertook a master’s degree that is new territory, with new peers and lecturers, new ways of working all whilst being isolated, working from home. We still came out the other end kicking and fighting for more. It shows we are ready for what the the world of the built environment brings.”

Fraser says his semester two project was, ‘hands down’ the biggest highlight of the year for him and he was blown away by how much detail he put into the project, compared to his undergraduate course. The project focused on designing a high-rise residential tower that integrated a community centre for the local community in the heart of Aberdeen.

“When designing the high-rise tower, I had to make sure there was a social interaction between the neighbours of the building as usually interactions can be quite short and limited. I integrated areas of the community centre throughout each level of my building to ensure that both residents and visitors had more of a social connection with each other. This allowed the building to feel more like its own ‘city in the sky’. It really was one of the best highlights of my year.”

Fraser says RGU and his tutors from the MSc course in Advanced Technology at The Scott School of Architecture & Built Environment have been hugely supportive, helping him prepare for interviews and discussing possible career opportunities. He also says the masters enabled him to attend events held by the CSIC that looked at sustainable design with experienced professionals.

Now he’s finished university, Fraser wants to pursue a career that focuses on the future of construction as it evolves. At only aged 23 he sees big changes in the construction industry that support sustainability and open a whole new era for the world of architecture.

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