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A day in the life of a Senior Architect

We recently caught up with Ellie Stinson, Senior Architect, to learn more about her role and experience within RPS.

04 July 2024
Ellie Stinson

UK

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Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got here?

I was first introduced to RPS through the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Mentoring Scheme during my third year of university. After a series of mentoring sessions, I landed a job offer for my Part I year out. A few months into my initial contract, RPS offered me the opportunity to continue working while completing my education part-time. Almost seven years later, I’m now a qualified architect.

What do some of your day-to-day activities involve?

Every day is different! It could involve anything from site visits, attending client meetings, reviewing drawings, selecting finishes, and preparing sample boards, liaising with contractors and subconsultants, and coordinating our team’s workload to meet our client deadlines. 

What/who inspires you in your career?

Industry events and design shows often spark new inspiration for me. I recently visited Clerkenwell Design Week, and it was a great opportunity to explore emerging design trends. Seeing what's current and being introduced to new brands and product launches can really help develop unique ideas to incorporate into our designs.

Also, working with talented colleagues and having great mentors continually inspires me to learn and grow professionally. 

When did you become interested in architecture, and what makes it exciting?

I’ve been interested in architecture for as long as I can remember. The idea of building a career centred on designing and shaping spaces was exciting. For me, architecture is about creating successful spaces through problem-solving, and seeing our drawings come to life on site is always fulfilling.

What types of projects do you work on?

At the Newark office, we specialise in logistics and distribution, but I’ve also worked on a range of projects in my time, including transport hubs, gyms, energy from waste facilities, and modular affordable housing schemes. 

Can you share a project highlight from your career so far?

Working on Luton DART at London Luton Airport will always be a highlight. It was not without its technical challenges like all of our projects, but the final result, featuring gold clad parasols, is particularly striking.

Can you share one of the biggest project challenges you’ve experienced?

Early in my career, I faced a significant challenge during a short-term secondment to a modular contractor. The module chassis had been fabricated and the factory team quickly needed additional construction drawings to meet production deadlines. Having never worked on modular construction before, it was a steep learning curve, but the experience proved invaluable later in my career when RPS was appointed to deliver two modular housing schemes and a modular prison expansion.

Is there a project/building that has inspired you?

Not so much a specific building, but I take a lot of inspiration from modernism. Refined, minimalist design and clean lines can be very successful when executed well and it lends itself well to our industrial architecture. I also appreciate Rococo and Baroque, both super decorative architectural styles like St Paul’s Cathedral, though they are less applicable to our current projects.

Looking forward

How do you see your specialism evolving over the coming years?

I think there will be a greater emphasis on sustainability, particularly as we continue the journey to Net Zero Carbon. Architects and their clients will need to educate themselves on the latest materials and technologies that will form part of the overall approach to delivering environmentally conscious design.

 

What are some of the challenges your clients are facing at the moment and how can you help them?

Building safety is one of the biggest challenges currently. Throughout the industry, there’s still a great deal of uncertainty. For clients, it’s important to understand their roles and responsibilities under the Building Safety Act.

As architects, we are well-placed to take on the Principal Designer (BSA) role, so our value will be in helping clients and the design team navigate the new regime under the Building Safety Regulator for higher-risk buildings (HRBs) and a greater sense of clarity and accountability across all of our projects. 

What key advice would you give to someone who was considering joining RPS?

There is a network of people with a wealth of knowledge and experience at RPS, so if you join the team with a willingness to engage and are keen to learn and grow your skills, you’ll fit right in.

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Ellie Stinson – Senior Architect