Insights August 21, 2023

Experiences in Design – Allan Djoubissi

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Allan is studying as an Architectural Technologist and joined Collective Works for his year out in 2022/23. We caught up with him at the end of his placement to hear a little more about his journey in the industry and find out what he’d learnt while working with us.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, and why you chose to study Architectural Technology?

Thanks, Allan here, born and raised in Hackney! I recently finished a nine-month Architectural Technologist placement at Collective Works

First up, a little about me and my background – The City Academy Hackney was my secondary school and sixth-form, and I’m now between my second and third year of a BSc Hons in  Architectural Technology at Nottingham Trent University.

Why Architectural Technology? Well, despite being pretty academic, I’ve always preferred more hands-on work, really engaging with the world around us. Throughout my studies I chose the most practical courses. After all, what better way to take advantage of the technology we have than to push it to its limits and create some of the most amazing things we can imagine? It helps that I’m a tech nerd too!

As an A-Level student, the pressure can be overwhelming if you’re unsure of your desired career path. For me Badu Sports helped enormously, providing me with the mentoring I needed and exposing me to a variety of professions which helped me choose a degree that was right for me.

Since making that choice my fascination with architecture has grown as I’ve visited more and more unusual buildings, like the Louvre in Paris by I. M. Pei.

What advice would you give someone keen to learn more about architectural technology and architecture?

In my opinion, people study architecture for a variety of reasons.

Whilst at Collective Works I was introduced to a whole range of architectural styles, some of which I was completely unaware of! 

I eventually realised that architecture is more than just creating structures to house people. It extends to making spaces which are timeless, accessible and really influence how people live, a backdrop for all life’s activities.

In light of all that, my first piece of advice is to become familiar with the many styles of architecture, and take into account how they might contribute to the world around them.

I would also recommend dedicating some time to speaking with people already working in architecture and construction – it’s a large field and this should help you decide which areas you’re really interested in getting involved in.

Allan presenting his work, testing the thermal camera and one of his project illustrations.
Allan presenting his work, testing the thermal camera and one of his project illustrations.

You moved to ArchiCAD whilst working with us, what are your top tips for learning new software?

My advice for learning new software is to be extremely resilient, and realise it’ll take a lot of time.

Every early mistake can be learned from though, and so you need the ability to bounce back from challenges and not get disheartened.

The objective of learning something new is to become an expert at it while making few, if any, mistakes. However, the ability to accept or bear delays, issues, or pain without becoming irritated or concerned is crucial when learning things, especially Archicad!

What are a few unexpected things you learnt about whilst at Collective Works?

I learned a lot of new things about buildings at Collective Works but one thing which surprised me was the affect of a positive workplace culture!

Without a supportive environment it’d be hard for this relatively diverse group of people to work together successfully. Over the placement I learnt to contribute with optimism, anticipate what my co-workers needed, and figure out the best ways to bring up any problems I might have personally.

I wouldn’t have thrived in my placement—let alone enjoyed it—without the firm’s favourable work culture.

Lastly, where’s your favourite place for lunch in Farringdon?

Wednesday was the day for company lunches on Leather Lane and my preferred spot soon became Balady for their falafel wraps. At first a wrap without meat seemed absurd but after giving it a try, it quickly became my go-to!

Connect with Allan here on Linked-in:

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