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Why I chose to study Architecture

Meet Sean Hendley. Before joining NUA to study Architecture, Sean embarked on a career in fashion communication, spending a few years in industry working for the likes of Dazed Media and AnOther Magazine, but felt like he was missing out on something. Since joining NUA, Sean has worked on a variety of projects and is President of the Architecture and Interior Design Society. Read on to find out why Sean decided to leave his original career path behind to study BA (Hons) Architecture.

Sean Hendley BA Architecture

Although architecture has always been a major interest of mine, my route to enrolling at NUA was not linear. During my years at college my interests swayed heavily from working in architecture to fashion.

By 2019 I had spent three years working in fashion publication and communication, mostly at Dazed Media as the Creative Assistant to the CEO, and previously the Editorial Assistant at the brand’s AnOther Magazine.

Despite these successes, I felt that by not having a degree I was cheating myself of potential authority missing in my perspective as a designer, communicator, and creative consultant. I also felt a slight detachment with the more ‘fashion-related’ work I was involved in – I was powerless in helping bring the change so desperately needed within design – especially in the current social, environmental and political climates.

I felt that by going back to university to study architecture, I would not only improve the work I was doing in my current positions, but I’d also be equipping myself to make an impact in other sectors of interest: sustainability, crisis management and architectural design.

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After applying, I was offered places on courses at other universities, but I couldn’t help but wonder on the benefits of studying within an ‘art school’ environment.

Living locally to NUA, I was always in earshot of the university’s successes and ambitions, and had previously visited for open days and exhibitions.

At NUA, the inspired learning spaces, creative intimacy and strong one-to-one contact with tutors – paired with its position in the ‘creative quarter’ of the City – made it an attractive choice.

Now over two thirds of my way through my first year, the tailored high-level of education that is a consequence of the intimate learning ethos, makes me confident in my decision to study here.

“It is this kind of curious and objective thinking championed by my lecturers, that is equipping me with the skills needed not only for an architectural career, but also for potential careers in other industries.”

Sean Hendley, BA Architecture

Projects are a healthy mix of creative realisation projects and academic research/writing tasks, all aided through weekly industry talks and comprehensive lecture series.

The questions: “What does it mean to be an architect?” and perhaps more pertinently, “What is architecture?”, were planted into our conscious thinking throughout initial projects.

It is this kind of curious and objective thinking championed by my lecturers, that is equipping me with the skills needed not only for an architectural career, but also for potential careers in other industries.

Projects started with designing conceptual pieces based on manipulating spaces around the human body, and have grown into designing modern shelters, in relation to a given brief and environment.

The role of an architect isn’t to simply design buildings, but to employ knowledge on the human condition, environmental sciences and social paradigms to facilitate the best possible way of living.

To anyone wanting to study architecture: consider the type of creative you want to be, and spend time understanding the environment you think best fosters your creativity.

Working in a small creative university in a relatively small city, isn’t for everybody. However, having large amounts of one-to-one contact time with technicians, librarians and my tutors – whilst using the local resources and creative city for infinite inspiration – is, for me, integral in getting the most from my degree.

Discover BA (Hons) Architecture