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Industry Guest Lectures at NUA

Writing & Photography by Margaret Belle, BA (Hons) Architecture

Before the lecture started Jamie Fobert presented a slideshow of various images to set the tone. There was also a quote from Wittgenstein’s diary circa 1931, and it read; ‘Philosophy is like trying to open a safe with a combination lock: each little adjustment of the dials seems to achieve nothing, only when everything is in place does the door open.’

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On select Tuesday evenings in the Monastery building, you can find the NUA architecture cohort and members from the Norwich Architectural Association attending Diverse Practice Lectures chaired by Visiting Professor Anthony Hudson, from Hudson Architects. These lectures are provided to supplement the tutorials received on a weekly basis and offer an insight into the varied professional practice of architecture. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get a feel for the industry and the options out there for us, once we graduate.

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On this particular occasion we were fortunate to be graced with the presence of Jamie Fobert, from the award winning Jamie Fobert Architects. Fobert spoke of his practice’s small beginnings from working on exhibitions and installations of contemporary art and gallery work to working on Antony Gormley’s private home. Fobert imparted the knowledge that the scale of project doesn’t matter, what does, is being focused on what you have made, striving to make it extraordinary somehow. I also learnt that it’s important to have a calm approach to a piece of architecture. By making careful calculated studies, of what a single room should be, really looking at details from top lights, to door frames and skirting details. 

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I was particularly drawn to one of the ongoing projects his firm is currently working on; Tate Modern St. Ives. I loved the way  inspiration was taken from the surrounding context and how it fed into the final scheme. It was fascinating to learn of the process of  looking at the different ways open plan spaces could be carved up and adapted to the range of exhibitions, the gallery would host. I was particularly drawn to the roof light considerations and how engineer-led design can have positive outcomes. In this case, knowing how to craft the direction of daylight to allow for an optimum gallery experience, through knowledge of light quality and temperature.

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I left the lecture appreciating the purity and integrity to architectural approach Jamie Fobert Architects have, and the idea that good successful architecture has no exterior presence and amazing exterior.

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