NOVELTIES / MERITS / COLLABORATION / RESPONSIBILITY / EMPLOYMENT
Conor Jenkins is a 3rd Year Architecture student studying at GSA. Hear from self-confessed neat-freak Conor as he discusses his recent projects and the responsibility Architecture has in today’s climate.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you're based.
I’m a self-confessed neat freak with an obsession for drawing nice houses and playing city-
building computer games, with a bad habit of leaving plates and glasses as close over the edge of a table as possible. Having grown up in the Outer Hebrides I am currently based in Glasgow, enjoying all the novelties the city has to offer such as pavements and next-day
delivery! Currently about to finish my 3rd year of Architecture at GSA, with my sights set on a
year-long placement before returning to complete my 4th year. Generally to be found
wondering around Partick Morrison’s or on the Subway (it’s a cheap and fun day out!)
What do you make & how do you make it?
Most of the work I have created over the last year or so has primarily been course-based. I
feel Architecture can sometimes be more constrained and strict compared to some courses,
as we are given a detailed brief for most of our projects which we generally need to adhere
closely to with a set list of work to produce. The majority of my 3rd year has been spent
designing a music school for children and young adults based in Balloch on behalf
(hypothetically) of an educational charity. This generally has included producing the basic
drawings needed such as plans, sections and elevations as well as detailed visuals and
renders of the interior and exterior to fully grasp the design intent.
Previous projects have included a row-style housing project as well as a library regeneration
project, both of which had their own individual merits and kind of pushes you to see and
design spaces from the point of view of other members of society such as children, the
elderly or people with physical impairments. Almost all of my work this year has been
produced digitally using software like CAD or SketchUp, though I do weirdly miss mangling
my hands with a scalpel while making physical models in the studio.
What has been your biggest challenge to navigate?
Easily for me this has probably been adapting to working at home instead of spending my entire life in studio. The atmosphere and collaboration that comes from working with like-
minded people in one space is something you just can’t replicate at home. It was always comforting to have help or just vent to others around you when something is going
catastrophically wrong while in studio, whereas at home it is all but too easy to
procrastinate when you can’t figure something out. Keeping up my motivation to continue
with work has also been somewhat difficult, as being in studio you tend to get inspired and
enthused by others around you and have an idea of where everyone seems to be at with the
work. That being said, being able to work to my own time schedule and go to the toilet
during a lecture is a luxury I’ll probably miss when (if) we go back to studio.
How do you think your practice sits in today's context?
In my three years of studying Architecture so far, I have come to learn that we are generally
perceived to be some of the most arrogant and self-important people you can come across.
And I very much agree and confess to being a part of it. That being said – and to avoid
stroking our egos too much – I do feel Architecture has a large responsibility in today’s
Architecture is everywhere you look – the homes we reside in, the studios we work in, the monuments we post on Instagram. Every space we have ever inhabited has
essentially had to be designed and curated by someone or a group of people. It is this
designing of a space that can have such a large and often unconscious influence on the way
we live our lives and the emotions that come with doing so. The creation of these built
environments comes with a range of responsibilities such as inclusivity, practicality, fitness
for purpose and even to ensure it just looks and feels nice to inhabit. Issues such as the
climate crisis also present pressing matters in terms of environmental impact – issues which
the field of Architecture has an innate responsibility to address and resolve to the best of
our abilities to ensure the longevity and sustainable advancement in the way we live.
What's next on your practice-agenda? Goals, projects or any upcoming shows perhaps?
My immediate plans are to crawl to the finishing line of the year which is our final
submission in May. Second to that is recovering in a dark room and not opening Zoom or
Miro or Canvas for at least a few weeks...
Ultimately my next goal is to find a firm I can undertake my Part 1 placement in for the next
year or so, and eventually return to finish off my final 4th year at GSA afterwards. This
summer will mainly be spent curating a portfolio and revisiting some earlier work to
contribute towards that as well as job hunting. Oh and getting the vaccine would be pretty
neat. So that being said, if by any chance a potential employer with an opening is reading
this or literally anyone who knows a place that’s hiring, help a guy out! (I make good tea and
my SketchUp skills aren’t too shabby!)
Favourite studio food?
Tea, Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, Buscopan
Something interesting you have seen this week?
The inside of a barbers. I’ll never let my flatmate near a pair of scissors again.
Final words of advice for your peers?
Masks go OVER your nose... also don’t be like me and pay for Adobe Suite when the school
gives it to you for free :/