Early career stories: Thabi, Part 1 Architectural Assistant

Thabi joined us a Part 1 Architectural Assistant based in our Plymouth studio for 2019/20. We were interested to get her view on working at the practice so we can continue to improve, and because we hope it might be useful for any student to read who is about to embark on their Part 1 year.

Read what Thabi had to say…

“Reflecting on my Part 1 architectural experience this year, it has been about learning to be adaptable.  Working at this medium sized firm of about 40+ people, working across three studios has been valuable in that I have had the opportunity to be actively involved within the design process of projects at different scales that vary across the RIBA work stages.

“When I first joined the team after completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Plymouth, I was very anxious about transitioning into the office work environment. I was anxious about practice cultures such as communication both visually and verbally, dress codes, language barriers, maturity, and even software knowledge because I had very little work experience within this field. However, as I settled into the practice, which did not take very long, my anxieties were eased by members of the team that shared their similar personal experiences and how they overcame them. They encouraged me to embrace the whole experience with a positive attitude, and I did.

“As a Part 1, I was the youngest in the studio where it was a personal challenge for me to speak up and participate in conversations. However, as the year progressed my confidence improved and the relationships that I grew with members of the team made it easier for me to converse. As my relationships grew with the team, my work flow improved because it helped create a welcoming and healthy environment where I felt part of the team, even if it was just for a year. We curated innovative designs that met the ethos of the practice and challenged normative conventions of design. I was pleasantly surprised with how involved I was in the design process, where I helped developed numerous project briefs which informed the conceptual designs and later technical designs. I have observed that the success of LHC Design’s projects is partly based on their pride to work collaboratively with people at different skill levels and in different fields.

“Overall, my Part 1 work experience was eventful which made the year run on a lot quicker than I initially thought it would. One of my key achievements thus far has been the development of my communicative skills with my fellow design team members and clients. When I first applied to work at this practice, I was apprehensive about how far I would develop in a year and if I would be ready to continue on to do my Part 2. It is with a grateful heart that I can say, the skills and experience gained enabled me to have the confidence to apply for my Part 2 at top universities where I received multiple offers of admission. I will forever be grateful to LHC Design for believing in me and for their continued support as I continue to work for the practice part-time whilst studying for my Part 2 at, The Bartlett (UCL).”



Graham Devine, LHC Director commented:

“It has been, and continues to be, a privilege for LHC Design to be able to support graduates like Thabi in their first steps into practice. The act of having enthusiastic and talented graduates join our studios ensures LHC Design is engaging with the latest learning and ideas that these graduates bring to our teams in return. We wish all our graduates all the very best for the future and thank them for all they bring to LHC.”