Student Awards Reflections: Choose study that pushes you further – Andrew Stewart, winner 2014

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In the lead up to The A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture 2017  we got in touch with previous years’ winners to see what they were up to now, and what difference winning the award had made to their architectural career to date.

In 2014 Andrew Stewart, of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, was awarded the RIAS Rowand Anderson Silver Medal for best 5th year student winner and A&DS Award for Sustainability Highly Commended, for his project Resilient Towns, (Re)Inhabiting Town Centres, Peterhead.

Where are you now and what are you currently working on?

Andrew Stewart: Since joining Halliday Fraser Munro in June 2014, I have had the opportunity to continue my passion for design quality in the residential sector by engaging in many high profile, complex housing projects including low-rise housing and bespoke flatted developments. I have continued my interest in the initial stages of a project by implementing design concepts and subsequently overseeing them through detailed design and construction stages on site.

How did you feel about winning a student award for architecture? 

Winning the Silver Medal, and being highly commended in the award for sustainable design, was an achievement much higher than I expected and I am proud that my commitment to architectural studies was acknowledged within the profession.

I think this award also demonstrates the quality of architectural education the Robert Gordon University has to offer and the standard of work produced by the students can compete with the other universities throughout Scotland.

What impact do you feel winning the award has had on your career?

Finding employment as an architecture graduate can be a very laborious and demanding exercise. Winning the Silver medal was very important for me in this respect as it led to local papers and online sources publishing articles regarding my achievements, which was a successful starting point in advertising my work to potential employers.

The award was also a credential that set me aside from other students and I feel it helped me secure employment at the largest practice in the North East of Scotland which has allowed me to work on projects that continue to develop my interest in design in the residential sector.

Reflecting back – what advice would you give to the students entering this and coming years’ awards?

From my experience, I found the best way to work towards a successful project is by carefully choosing a study area that you are passionate about and will contribute to a broader architectural debate. Addressing a wider issue will create a more in depth understanding and will help inform key decisions as the project progresses. Having a strong interest in the area of discussion is fundamental to the success of a project as it will make the entire process more enjoyable and create a natural desire to push yourself further.

Main image: Detail from Resilient Towns, (Re)Inhabiting Town Centres, Peterhead by Andrew Stewart.

Current work by Andrew Stewart: Mixed Tenure Housing, Aberdeen. Image Credit: Halliday Fraser Munro.

The A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture 2017 take place on 13 July 2017 at Café Camino, Edinburgh. Find out more and book your free tickets here.

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