Skip to content

Mentoring Students

Working with universities is part of what we do at Godwin Austen Johnson to help students make the transition from university to professional practice by imparting practical knowledge, sharing experiences and exposing students to the realities of the industry.

While assistant architect Hannah Patricia is still fairly new to the practicalities of working in architecture, the knowledge she has gained since her internship at Godwin Austen Johnson has enabled her to connect to students in a very meaningful way and she was recently invited to join a jury panel at the Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

“I have been invited to come back to my alma mater as a jury member twice since I graduated, and it is such an eye-opening experience to see how the students evolve. Even as fresh as I am to the working industry, it is always a good reminder of how we were as students, always pushing the boundaries of what architecture and design can be, and always eager to experiment to define ourselves as designers.”

For recently graduated architects, it is always good to see how the new students are approaching their work.

“I feel as if students are getting more and more creative as the years go on. It’s great to see their passion.”

While at university students are focused primarily on the design and exploration of projects without the knowledge and experience of practical design. And this is where architects can help students develop critical thinking skills whilst learning within the practice environment.

“It is quite different to be standing on the other side of a jury session, with more knowledge of how the industry actually is. My mind is a lot more concerned with the technicalities and real-world client expectations; I remember as a student I would always be worried about whether my design works, how I need to explain all aspects of it in detail, how I need to guide them through the experience. It still applies in the industry – of course it needs to work, and the experience is always key – but regardless of how good your design is, the presentation is important. What used to be a nerve-wracking experience as a student is now a realisation that juries are a great way of ensuring that students practice marketing their design to convince other people that it’s the only design that will work for this brief.”

“Getting to guide them in their juries was such a pleasure, because I get to learn from them as much as I hope they were able to learn from me.”