Shraven Vaidyanath

Graduated MArchD Applied Design in Architecture 2015. Currently studying for Part 3 at Brookes. Architectural Assistant at Berman Guedes Stretton Architects in Oxford

I chose to come to Oxford Brookes after studying my BA at Portsmouth as it is better to do the BA and the MA at different universities for the exposure and to expand networks. Brookes has a good reputation for the architecture course. There is a lot of variety in terms of studios on offer, which is always useful in helping each individual find what they are interested in.

The studio tutors really try to understand and encourage each student’s personal interests which adds a certain kind of uniqueness to each design project. The master’s programme is very well structured with the design studio being closely integrated with the other modules like technology, management and law.

The studio offered a stimulating environment to engage with other student’s work. I used the library a lot and it was great to also be able to use the Bodleian library. The workshop was well equipped and is run by very helpful people, so model making was fun.

There isn’t a work based module as such but most students are expected to have a year of work experience before beginning the Master’s course. I worked at Sherlock Boswell Architects for a couple of years before starting my Masters at Oxford Brookes. I worked on various residential projects which helped me understand the nuances of the planning system. I was also lucky enough to see one of the projects built during that time.

I started working at Berman Guedes Stretton Architects in Oxford between my first and second year at Brookes. I went back to work there full-time after I graduated. The practice was formed in 1996 and has staff across offices in Oxford and London. Their projects span the commercial, culture, leisure and residential sectors while the majority of their work is in the education sector, where we have been actively involved for almost twenty years. Much of their work has had the added challenge of being located in complex historic environments, often with Grade I, Grade II, and Grade II* listed buildings along with a World Heritage Site. Over the last year, I have been involved in delivery of The Oculus Building for University of Warwick. This is a new central teaching building that contains a lecture theatres, a range of seminar rooms, offices, meeting rooms, and informal breakout areas.

I came into the Master’s programme with a keen interest in geometrically complex structures. The studio projects helped me develop from an intellectual standpoint while also developing practical software skills. All of that proved very useful as I got an opportunity to work on the design of the timber lattice roof for the Oculus project.

Oxford is a beautiful city to live in. With two universities, there is a huge student population which makes it a very fun and enjoyable place.

I played badminton competitively from a very young age, so it has kind of been like a second career running in parallel. I received a Santander Sports Scholarship to play for Brookes. This was actually one of the key things that made me choose Brookes over other universities that I applied to. Brookes Sport were very supportive and I qualified for the National Championships for my first time ever while being a student at Brookes.

It was very easy to adjust to university life. Brookes has a very international feel to it, with students from many different countries and backgrounds.

I would recommend Oxford Brookes to international students as there are a number of positives such as the strong research base, well qualified staff and its investment in facilities. It also has a lot to gain from its links with local practices and also its proximity to London. I would certainly recommend the architecture course at Brookes. My advice to students would be always work hard at your goals. Other than that, I would say it is important to have a flexible outlook, to take an interest in the people you meet and to be open to the opportunities that come your way.

Adrian-Constantin Alexandrescu

Shraven Vaidyanath studied MArchD Applied Design in Architecture with the School of Architecture

The studio offered a stimulating environment to engage with other student’s work.