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Architecture alumnus launches platform
to support young architects

BA (Hons) Architecture alumni Chris Simmons of Squire & Partners and Studio Chris Simmons has launched a mentoring platform to support architecture students’ transition to practice through drawing.

01 Mar 2022

Chris Simmons, who graduated in 2011, describes drawing as: “one of the most readily used and important skills you can have as an architect.”

It is this skill that Chris hopes to support up-and-coming architects with via his new platform, Architects Instruction – communicating ideas to others through drawing and being able to visualise architectural creations on paper.

The platform will feature a series of resources, including articles, drawing tutorials, tips and tricks and other mentoring advice.

Two-Post Alley, Rochester, Kent

Two-Post alley, Rochester, Kent, drawing by Chris Simons

Most recently, Chris has had his architectural drawings featured in Architect’s Journal and Building Designas a finalist in the Architect of the Year Awards (AYA) 2021.

“Drawing is an architect’s best tool, it’s the quickest and most fluid way of communicating the ideas in your head to another person. Drawing is also a way of testing ideas, said Chris.

“The key to improving your drawing skills is to understand what you are trying to communicate in the drawing – what you show and what you don’t. Drawings can be abstract, diagrammatic, or evocative by exploring subtle differences of line weight, medium or colour.”

As someone who had always been interested in graphic design and design and technology at school, Chris decided upon his career in architecture after some time spent working in an architectural firm during work experience. It was there that he realised that lines on paper have the potential to become buildings and tangible things.

Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Oxford by Niall Mclaughlin

Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre by Niall Mclaughlin in Oxford, drawing by Chris Simmons

Chris completed his Part 1 and Part 2 at UCA Canterbury and said of his time there: “It was enticing being part of a creative university with opportunities to share ideas and facilities with other artists and designers. We were all supported by the staff and there was a culture of creativity and positivity.

“I especially enjoyed Crit days, which may sound strange! It was a time filled with nervous energy and that was a release from the long hours working on a project. As well as that, you learnt how to stand up in front of a room of people and talk about your work, which is a key skill that will hold you in good stead for the future.”

Yakisugi House by Terunobu Fujimori

Chris knows what it is like to begin work in practice, which can be intimidating and potentially overwhelming. This is one of the reasons Chris has developed Architects Instruction. He also reminds students that in their early years it is all about experience, so take your time.

“Most building projects take a long time, many won’t ever be built; know that your career will build slowly and go off in different direction depending on the project, said Chris.

“And always remember the following:  See everything as a design exercise whether it’s a master plan or a toilet cubicle they all follow the same process and level of attention; be rigorous in your process and understand the problem and your solution from all angles – what we draw has real-world implications; and finally support each other, prioritise your mental health and keep in contact with your peers.”

If you are considering a career in architecture, check out the course pages.

If you’d like further support with your architectural studies or early career email Chris at hello@architectsinstruction.com or visit www.architectsinstruction.com