We recently bid farewell to Dafyn Richards, who has just set off to explore the world before returning to resume his architectural studies. Before he embarks on his travels, he shared his experience as a Part 1- Architectural Assistant at LHC Design in the hope that his story would provide insight to others getting ready to start their first year out in practice.
Working as a Part 1 Architectural Assistant allows newcomers to learn the ropes before becoming a fully-fledged architect. Architectural projects often involve several moving parts that would be impossible for an architect to juggle alone. As a result, our architectural assistants play a crucial role, assisting with a variety of tasks and becoming a valued part of our team.
Following the successful completion of my undergraduate degree at the University of Plymouth, my enthusiasm to acquire diverse industry experience was at its peak. Working at LHC has delivered just that.
As a multidisciplinary practice, I have been fortunate to collaborate with architects at all stages of their career journey alongside professionals in architectural technology, landscape architecture, urban design, interior design, and graphic design. In so doing, I have been actively engaged in various projects varying in scale and complexity across different sectors and RIBA Stages.
It goes without saying that I was nervous to begin my role as a Part 1 Architectural Assistant, but LHC Design couldn’t have been more welcoming. I was quickly made to feel part of the team and was resourced to an exciting project on my very first day. Fortunately, I had a month’s overlap with my predecessor. As a result, I was quickly brought up to speed with various things, such as office etiquette, filing systems, QA procedures, and workflows.
At LHC, I was fortunate to be paired with my workplace mentor, Josef Horner. It has been comforting to have a consistent point of contact throughout my placement with whom I can discuss any concerns and guide me through the process of completing my PEDRs (Professional Experience & Development records).
Most notable for me has been the evident shift in attitudes towards the sustainability of the built environment. I have witnessed a real desire to improve the credentials of future projects. It’s been fulfilling to work for LHC, which is at the forefront of this change.Dafyn Richards | Part 1 Architectural Assistant
My Part 1 experience has been a huge eye-opener into the breadth of the industry and all things that influence architectural projects. Most notable for me has been the evident shift in attitudes towards the sustainability of the built environment. I have witnessed a real desire to improve the credentials of future projects. It’s been fulfilling to work for LHC, which is at the forefront of this change.
One of my key achievements has been culminating research and testing new and emerging technology to help develop proposals for the development of ultra-low-energy and low-embodied carbon homes. Similarly, I have assisted in a successful planning application which will see some of Plymouth’s most loved buildings adapted and repurposed, fundamentally improving access and engagement with the UK’s first National Marine Park. Both these projects embody vital principles in addressing the contribution of the built environment to tackling the climate emergency.
What I didn’t realise when I first applied for this role was all the support, resilience, and social value that comes with working at LHC.Dafyn Richards | Part 1 Architectural Assistant
During my placement, I have been involved in several social value activities such as coastal clean-ups and outreach projects with local schools aimed at inspiring the next generation, all of which LHC have given up their time to support.
What I didn’t realise when I first applied for this role was all the support, resilience, and social value that comes with working at LHC. During my placement, I have been involved in several social value activities such as coastal clean-ups and outreach projects with local schools like Mission Mammoth, aimed at inspiring the next generation, all of which LHC have given up their time to support. Commitment to continued learning is at the core of the practice’s ethos. Lunchtime CPDs, away days to award-winning architectural projects, and visits to local projects have been consistent throughout.
Such visits led to my knowledge of the Timber Development UK University Design Challenge. Having entered, I was encouraged and supported by my colleagues, which resulted in a winning entry. In the final months of my placement, I began a compressed working hours arrangement, and this meant every other Friday became a day off, enabling me to facilitate personal commitments that a regular five-day week wouldn’t have allowed.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have worked at LHC and for the support I have received. I’m confident this experience has laid a strong foundation as I embark on the next stage of my architectural education.