Theodora Fiamegkou - MSc Advanced Architectural Design

Image by: MSc Advanced Architectural Design graduate, Theodora Fiamegkou who designed the Bioluminescent Pavilion
Mature student Theodora from Athens, Greece, says a MSc in Advanced Architectural Design is one of the best decisions of her life and has opened many new doors and horizons. Despite having dyslexia, Theodora has developed advanced technical skills and is using these to combine her love of nature into creative and innovative designs.

Theodora had initially thought she was ‘done’ with formal education and education. She’d had a poor experience whilst studying in her hometown of Athens. A move to Aberdeen during the pandemic and subsequent job search, led to a change in mindset!

With encouragement from her partner, Theodora decided to pursue a masters related to architecture at RGU. She was attracted to the keywords of the course, ‘architecture’ and ‘design’ and wanted to learn innovative ways of designing structures through software such as Rhino, Grasshopper, Blender, Dynamo and Revit. A Master’s in Advanced Architectural Design offered new skills and an opportunity to develop as a person.

“As a very shy person with dyslexia and a lack of skills in English language, I saw the course as an opportunity to improve my English and communication skills. I wasn’t disappointed! The course opened me up to new ideas and offered me great inspiration. From interior design projects, to conventional architectural offices, even to Zaha Hadid’s architectural office. I’ve learnt how to use parametric design in everything and in many different ways.

“The course was really organised and offered substantial guidelines on how to approach each topic. I didn’t get bored for a moment and was motivated to carry out my own research, adopt techniques, methodologies and ideas from other well-known projects. I liked the way my studies constantly put me in a process of creative alertness and challenged my creative thinking. Something I really liked!”

Theodora says her favourite and most enjoyable project was her thesis. She created a Bioluminescent Pavilion that provides light during the night using bioluminescent organisms, such as sea algae, bacteria. glow-worms and plants. She’s created a magical and vivid world that serves as both an attraction and function pavilion. Her inspiration came from her love of walking in Aberdeen’s Victoria Park as Theodora explains:

“I walk a lot with my dog and spend a lot of time in park. I enjoyed the greenery, trees and the irregular patterns of the roots and branches. I realized there was a lack of lighting in the evening. This bothered me as I was afraid to cross the forest by myself. I thought instead of investing in conventional lighting around the park, I could create a Bioluminescent Pavilion that provides light during the night using bioluminescent organisms that can emit light naturally.

“I love nature and wanted to explore elements of nature known as the bio-mimic, in combination with porous architecture and organic oriented shapes. The biggest challenge was to make an unconventional design that would allow myself to be more creative whilst making sure the pavilion blended in with the environment. I have always admired such constructions but didn’t know how to create such an imaginative design. The skills I learnt using software such as Rhino and Grasshopper, really helped me achieve this and enabled me to create cave like geometry that combine my love of nature.

“My design fits around the sun path and maximises exposure to the sun, especially during the summer months and the changing weather at from sunrise to sunset. I’ve created a pavilion that can serve as a meeting point for people, where they can actually spend time or shelter when the weather conditions are poor.

As for her university experience at RGU, Theodora says she really liked the riverside, leafy campus and was impressed by all the facilities including the library, height performance computers and most important of all, the staff.

“I didn’t feel once that I am alone, helpless and no question was stupid. Every time I needed something I could ask for help either from my course leader, or any other tutor. It was hard during the pandemic but the online teaching worked well

As for anyone thinking of studying a MSc in Advanced Architectural Design, Theodora says: “If you want to enhance your knowledge and skills in architecture and architectural software, then a MSc in Advanced Architectural Design is definitely a course that will help you go a step further. You’ll have a lot of research, study, design concepts and learn how to think outside of the box! I’d recommend anyone considering it, just do it, it’s totally worth it! The course and the people that run it have really boosted my self-confidence and prepared me for my next step.

Now that she’s finished, Theodora is drawing on the advice and tips she received from RGU’s Career’s Hub and is working remotely for an architect in Glasgow, designing conventional residential projects. As a big fan of the Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, renowned for her intensely futuristic architecture characterised by curving facades and sharp angles, Theodora has ambitions to design beautiful and futuristic buildings such as this. The MSc in Advanced Architectural Design has given her the vision, confidence and the technical skills to achieve this.

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