Alex Riley and rookies Amjad and Rosie find out exactly what it takes to build a career as an architect. Lord Norman Foster provides advice.
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We push our rookies hard. They see the good...
How cool is this?
and the downright astonishing.
We give them glamour,
show them excitement,
get their hands dirty,
put them under pressure...
Oh, no, no.
..make them laugh.
All because they want to experience their dream jobs.
Today, two aspiring architects will build their dreams
as we go...all over the workplace!
Yeah. Yeah, I'm pleased with that.
Building a career as an architect
is a pretty tall order.
You have to study for years,
be a good communicator,
understand science, maths and engineering,
to say nothing of spending hours making detailed drawings
and creating elaborate models.
Right, let me see if I can go and sell this idea
to a very important client.
Let's hope they know what they're letting themselves in for!
13-year-old Amjad aspires to be an architect.
His favourite building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
I want to design a building which defines architecture
as we know it today.
I also want to build a building
which is taller than any building on Earth
and has a unique purpose
and stands out in the record books.
It would be a dream come true.
Rosie also hopes for a career in architecture.
Her favourite building is The Shard in London.
I just love, you know,
dreaming up something new
and thinking of something
that no-one else has thought of before.
My dream is to design lots of landmarks
that people would know and think,
"Oh, yeah, she built that."
Rookies Amjad and Rosie have travelled from their homes
to join us in London,
an architect's dream and home to incredible buildings.
Alex and the rookies are at the top of the tallest -
Rosie's favourite, The Shard.
Tell you what, you must be loving this!
Yeah, love it.
What is it about architecture that makes you so excited?
My sister's husband, they told me all about architecture,
and I did a few pictures
and I sort of fell in love with drawing buildings.
All right. What about you, Amjad?
-I woke up one day...
-..and it just came into my mind,
"I want to be an architect."
OK, you both think you'd make good architects.
Well, let's find out what your parents have to say
about your architectural aspirations.
Amjad tends to lose interest quite quickly in the task at hand.
He needs to work really hard on training himself to keep on focused.
Rosie is not backwards in coming forwards from the point of view of
knowing what she likes.
Mm. She won't follow the crowd.
If that's not what she likes or thinks, she won't do it.
-And she can't...
-Or an equally strong-minded client...
Yes, that could be interesting.
..who has a very fixed view as to what they want from the project.
So, Rosie, how are you going to cope with that?
I can change my mind in some ways
and I am willing to listen to everyone else's ideas.
And Amjad, you find it difficult to prioritise.
I mean, what are you going to be doing?
Designing the roof when you've not even designed the building yet?
Yeah, I think I can improve that, though.
-I think it's about time we got on with our first assignment.
Come with me.
An architect's job is to design new buildings,
modify existing buildings
and to conserve and protect older buildings.
They work to meet the expectations of their clients.
After all, they supply the money.
To realise their plans, architects work with engineers
to make sure that the building they design can actually stand up.
The engineers help decide on materials,
making sure they're right for the building.
For example, timber good, breadsticks bad.
In recent years, eco-design has become crucial,
minimising a building's negative impact on the environment.
Could you be an eco-tect?
OK, rookies, we're here on the banks of the River Thames.
-Any idea what we're doing here?
Well, you're going to design and build a bridge
across the River Thames, using nothing but lollipop sticks.
Oh! That's amazing!
Only joking, we're going to go and meet world-famous architect,
-Lord Norman Foster.
-So, let's go.
-Are we actually going to meet him?
Lord Norman Foster is one of
the world's most famous architects.
He's designed and worked on some of the world's most iconic structures,
including London's Gherkin,
Wembley Stadium and the monster Millau Viaduct in France,
to name just a few.
This man is a huge name in global architecture.
We're at his architectural and design practice,
which he started in the 1960s.
Hi, good morning.
They are currently working on some super cool, hi-tech,
eco-friendly buildings all over the world,
and they even have some ideas for structures
that could be built on other planets!
The rookies have a chance that many architects would love to have -
a sit-down chat with Lord Foster.
Lord Foster, can you give our rookies your three top tips
for becoming a successful architect?
First of all, you have to be a good listener,
because you'll be given an assignment
and there will be a site,
there will be some needs that generate a building,
so you want to find out as much as you can.
The second tip is that you'll hear things.
Somebody may say one thing
and somebody else may say the exact opposite,
so you've got to form a viewpoint.
And finally, you must have the courage of your convictions.
But if along the way you feel that you've not got it right,
you also have to be able to rethink it
and come back with a better solution.
Good advice from a world-leading architect -
be a good listener,
find out as much as you can about the project.
Form a viewpoint, even if clients say opposite things.
And lastly, have the courage of your convictions,
but if you feel along the way that you haven't got it right,
rethink and come back with a better solution.
With top tips ticked off,
Lord Foster takes a look at Rosie and Amjad's sketchbooks
and discusses their designs.
You're thinking like an architect!
They may be starting to think like architects,
but it's time to start bringing some of their designs off the page
and into the real world.
Time to meet our next mentor.
Architecture is all about teamwork,
so we need someone to join our team.
Meet Narinder Sagoo.
He's been working with Lord Foster
for almost 20 years
and he has vast experience
of major architectural projects.
His speciality is architectural illustration.
Check out his fantastic drawings.
Accompanied by Narinder,
the rookies are having a stroll through a gigantic model
of Battersea Power Station.
Everything nice and straight, Amjad?
But why Battersea Power Station?
Well, it's currently going through some major redevelopment work
and Narinder wants the rookies
to come up with some architectural ideas
to be built in this area of green space,
right in front of the old power station.
Now it's time to see the real thing, I think,
what this actually feels like at real size.
We can talk to someone who is working on the site and ask him some
tough questions that might help us generate some ideas.
Battersea is a massive architectural and landscaping project.
The area that the rookies are visiting
is the area they're designing for.
Mike Grice oversees construction at the Battersea development.
This is the rookies' chance to quiz him about the project.
When was the power station built?
It was built in two halves, funnily enough.
Originally, it was just two chimneys,
and that, I think, was the early 1930s.
The two chimneys on this side
were put on in the early 1950s, I believe.
So, that's the history, but what's happening now?
What we're doing here is this is a great big underground holding area
and loading bay, where we're going to put
what we call our energy centre,
and then we're going to put a slab all the way across the top of here.
If we build here, what are the restrictions?
This would be a great park.
You cannot put a massively heavy structure on here,
because it's a supported slab, so anything...
If we were to put a pavilion on here...
-A pavilion would go on easily.
-..it would be perfect.
Your pavilion's got to be so good that the planners say,
"Wow, this adds to Battersea Power Station,"
not, "It detracts from it."
So, I thought it'd be a really good idea
to get away from all the noisiness of the building site
and to just be able to look at it from a distance
and imagine what it might look like in the future.
But before we think about what it looks like in the future,
I think we should draw what it looks like today.
-How about it?
-OK. Yeah, I'm game.
This isn't just about drawing -
this exercise will help Amjad and Rosie
understand how the power station looks from a distance.
You might even draw the sun
and then make a little note saying,
"This is the midday sun in the south."
These sketches will help when thinking about the scale
and overall look of the pavilion they're going to design.
The best bit of the assignment
was when we went to Battersea Power Station
to look at the new construction.
The hardest part was probably getting
all the details into the drawing.
Rosie, you've been absolutely fantastic today.
Wonderful to see you sketching all the time.
If there's anything I would say you could improve on,
it's that sometimes, look up from the sketchbook,
make sure that you're still looking around,
still listening, still asking questions.
Amjad, your energy has been amazing today.
But don't forget, all your drawings don't have to be perfect.
When we're drawing as an architect, we're being observational
and we're quickly jotting down ideas.
My general advice to aspiring architects
is to just focus on nurturing your creative mind.
We often think that architecture is about making buildings,
but actually, being an architect
is to think about how buildings should be,
not about making them,
and that needs you to be incredibly creative.
Back at base, it's time to start actually designing their pavilion.
First up, they need to think about access to the site
and how people will arrive at their building.
Because if they come in from the back,
then they're not going to even see the park
and pavilion at the front, are they?
That's actually quite good. Even if they went through it,
they might come out this end.
Aside from arriving on foot,
there's another important way of accessing this particular site.
-Perfect. Maybe in this direction.
-The people coming in from the river
have no choice but to go via the pavilion.
So, that's access.
But what about protection from the British weather?
A roof would be a good idea.
Rosie's come up with a clever, eco-friendly way
of recycling rainwater.
It goes down a special gutter.
So we could collect it. We call that rainwater harvesting.
So we could use it to feed the land.
Rosie's on a roll at the moment.
She's even come up with an idea of having another part of the pavilion.
Since the power station was built in two stages,
the two parts of the pavilion
will mirror the history of the power station.
Rosie's idea is that we have two pieces to the pavilion,
because they're reflecting what happened in history.
So they're telling quite a nice story.
We could have them at either side and frame the power station.
Where the chimneys are, directly where the chimneys are.
That is a good idea.
Lots of good ideas coming to the table from both rookies,
but what will actually be in the pavilions?
-Got to have a gift shop.
Cuddly Battersea Power Stations.
Cuddly Battersea Power Stations, that would be nice.
If you had, like, a wood burner oven,
-you could heat the whole...
Rosie really is thinking eco-friendly.
Her idea is to heat the whole building
with waste heat from the oven.
Architects of the future
try to design their buildings to use less energy.
This is just what Rosie's doing.
As the meeting continues, their two-part pavilion
has grown a third wing,
with the third part covering a pier next to the river.
The rookies are really trying to impress -
they were asked to design one building
and they've designed three!
With plans in place,
it's time to add some finishing touches before sending the proposal
to Lord Foster for some feedback.
So, we're going to scan this and e-mail it to him,
so wherever he is, he can see it.
Meanwhile, shall we go and explore some of the materials?
Great idea, Narinder.
And what better place to explore materials for their pavilions
than a material research centre?
Look at all these materials!
Shall we choose some materials for our pavilion?
Here, the rookies can get hands-on
with materials that could be used on floors, walls and roofs,
and get a feel for them.
If you were partially sighted, having a texture to a floor,
it's very useful.
-Once you feel it under your feet...
-..you know where you're going.
It's important that architects understand
the range of materials available to them
before they can use them in their designs.
I quite like this tile here.
It's like a sweet shop for architects in here.
Materials chosen, it's time to meet 3-D artist, Carlos.
He's already started building a 3-D model of their design.
We thought we would use that as panelling.
This is quite good when you walk in.
People who are not as good at seeing,
they know where the path is, they can feel it.
The rookies are showing Carlos what materials they've selected,
so he can add these textures into the model.
We thought you could use this on the pier.
We really would quite like to use grass on the roof.
-So, is that enough to explore the materiality?
-Yeah, we're ready.
We're ready to start modelling.
Now the rookies need to speak to the engineers, Piers and Roger.
They're the guys that will make sure their structure stands
and is safe for the public to use.
They'll also think about the eco-friendly aspects
involved in designing the pavilion.
We had an idea that the rainwater, it lands on the building,
it'll go down the gutter and then that gutter will lead
out into the fields to give natural water to...
-So like a rainwater harvesting system?
Maybe the roof can actually come down...
So it kind of comes down to ground level, then?
Exactly, comes down to ground level, but it's all like a surface.
So you're saying we can use these points structurally
to hold up the roof?
Yes, but we can also take the water down there.
-And take the water down there.
-That's it exactly.
Great thinking from Roger.
He's come up with the idea that the rainwater could be harvested using
the pavilion's structure itself.
Clever engineering, indeed.
It's a good, load-resisting shape and at the same time,
when the rain comes down, it can just pour down here
and we can harvest it.
Both Amjad and Rosie have really thought about their building
and are obviously impressing the two very experienced engineers.
Where are we supposed to put the glass,
as the sun changes positions?
That's a very good question, I was hoping you were going to ask that.
So, you've got a lot of morning sun
that really lights up that whole garden space
and your pavilion building,
and then in the afternoon, you have the sun.
So I'd probably try and focus most of my daylight to enter the building
through the east and west sides of the building.
How do you think you might heat all of these little pavilions?
Having a wood pizza oven and it would heat the whole place.
Oh, that's really nice. That's a lovely idea.
Would the oven have enough heat to heat the whole building?
For a building like this, I'd want to try and use heat
that's otherwise going to be thrown away,
and that's what we should try and use here,
then it becomes a very environmental building that has no,
or very little impact.
Now I think we need to get that information back to the team,
into the 3-D model so we can start to see what it looks like.
The rookies have received some valuable feedback
from star-chitect Lord Foster.
"Congratulations, a great start, a powerful concept.
"A good, strong plan, not one pavilion,
"but three, but conceived as one building.
"Great, the way that it extends out to embrace the river.
"Creative design and smart thinking.
"Explore creating an amphitheatre,
"natural shape already created by the design."
So, that's great.
Oh, how do you feel about that, then, rookies?
Great feedback from Lord Foster.
Things are really coming together.
Back with the 3-D modelling team,
the rookies are able to move around their design
and see how it will look from different angles.
And we could set the camera for you to see it from any direction.
Maybe from when you first arrive on the pier,
so, your first impression.
Right, that's a good one.
-Very nice, yeah.
Very good view, as well.
It doesn't obstruct the power station in any way.
What's nice about it is that, you know,
it doesn't detract at all from the power station.
-It makes it look more attractive.
Amjad and Rosie are seeing, for the first time,
how their pavilion will look against the massive power station.
All in all, it's been a good day's work for the rookies.
The best part of the assignment was when we saw our 3-D model
on the computer, as it gives a better visual of our design.
We all had so many ideas
and we had to try and mash them up into one big idea.
Rosie - what a great job.
Working with the engineers today,
I amazed at how you grasped the structure
and environmental science behind the building.
Your interest and excitement to do things like rainwater harvesting
I thought was a lovely idea.
Amjad, I think you did incredibly well.
Finding the relationship of the new building working
with the old building,
and the relationship with the chimneys was fantastic.
I think, sometimes, you do need to concentrate
and keep your eyes and ears open and keep focused on the job.
I thought that your drawings of the power station were
really interesting, very nice.
You'd really understood the scale of the power station
behind the building.
After a day of intense hard work,
all the team gets some well-deserved rest.
And while they sleep, a 3-D printer is working away, so that Amjad and
Rosie will have a model of their work by morning.
We've produced this.
What do you think? Is that how you expected it to come out?
-Better than what I expected it to come out.
-Are you happy with it?
-Very happy with it.
-Two proud architects.
Two proud architects, indeed.
But this 3-D printout isn't just an ornament, it has a purpose.
What we always have to do as architects is, inevitably,
present to our client.
So, we're going to go to
the Royal Institute of British Architects
and the two of you are going to present to a panel, yeah.
Ooh, quite a responsibility.
-How about that?
-Quite a responsibility
It's quite a responsibility,
but that's the excitement of being an architect.
It's the moment of truth. It's when you have to sell your idea.
Architects often try to come up with the unexpected.
Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi broke the mould,
designing buildings that look quite individual,
not sticking to any particular style.
Take the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona,
which was started in 1882 and isn't expected to be finished until 2026.
French architect Le Corbusier was a pioneer of modern architecture,
turning his back on traditional methods of building,
as he began using concrete, steel and glass,
designing some buildings now recognised as masterpieces.
Another unorthodox architect is Frank Gehry.
His imagination is boundless!
Do not adjust your screens, these buildings actually look like this.
OK, rookies, you're going to be presenting your scheme to people
who don't know anything about the project we've been working on,
so you need to present the process you've been through,
talk about how you came to the decisions and take questions.
If you're nervous, I don't blame you,
so we need to practise as much as we possibly can.
First of all, Amjad and Rosie have to decide who is going to talk about
each aspect of their presentation.
Yeah, can I have the penguin one?
You want the penguin one?
Rosie has even come up with a clever way of communicating
how the pavilions recycle heat -
by comparing them to penguins huddling together to keep warm.
This is our design of the People's Power Pavilions. The PPP.
Before they present their idea to panel of architects and experts,
the rookies have to get their pitch right,
and the only way is to practise, practise, practise.
With the presentation prepared,
it's time for a quick video-call with Lord Foster
and some last-minute words of advice.
Gosh, so much work here!
I think they've done so much in such a short amount of time.
I'm personally very impressed.
I'm hugely impressed.
You've got to get across
the work that you've done,
your conviction and your passion about the design.
And if they do actually get the building commissioned,
would you be happy to mentor them through the process
of getting it built?
I think it has the makings
of a really super building.
I think you should apply for a job, both of you.
-Thank you very much.
Time is a-ticking and the presentation is fast approaching.
If you get stuck, look at the other person.
It's feeling tense as the rookies enter the presentation room.
What will the panel make of their pitch?
All their hard work has been leading to this moment.
On the panel, we have award-winning architect David Kohn,
former Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson,
architect Maria Smith and Mike Grice,
who met the rookies at Battersea earlier.
Good afternoon, I'm Rosie.
And I'm Amjad.
And here's our design for the People's Power Pavilions.
Lord Foster said to design one pavilion,
but we've designed three.
There's that 3-D printout.
The panel seem impressed.
And here is our design.
Flow from the side.
It also looks very subtle,
doesn't disrupt the view of the power station
and it builds up like a hierarchy,
gets bigger and bigger and bigger, till you get to the main attraction.
Like penguins, erm...
Come on, Amjad, don't let nerves get the better of you!
Oh, like penguins,
our three pavilions huddle together to give warmth on the inside
and also to shelter people from the bad weather outside.
After a sticky moment,
the rookies are back on track and their pitch is going well.
This is a really bumpy surface,
so it's a bit of grip when you first arrive and also,
people who can't see as well, when they walk in,
they can feel it under their feet so they know where they're going.
This is our final design,
which is right here in front of the power station.
As you can see, it also doesn't obstruct anything.
The building doesn't overpower the power station,
so attention is drawn to it,
but not as much as the huge, towering power station.
Thank you for listening. We're open to any questions.
Why did you decide to go out into the river?
We thought bringing out our design closer to the pier
would be even more attractive to people.
It would also be a better view, because the cafe is here,
so you'd be looking straight out...
And it's a beautiful view.
..across the River Thames.
Yeah, I think it's very, very impressive.
Being the builder, I can't help but think how we'd build it.
Would you think we could prefabricate it
and bring it up the river on barges and lift it in in sections,
so we could do it quickly?
-Is it a structure that lends itself to that, do you think?
That definitely could be an option.
The important thing is it just gets there.
Because it's quite...it wouldn't be too far to carry
because it is on the pier.
I think another thing that you've done very well, that places you in
good stead for becoming architects in the future, is communicating your
ideas very clearly, both verbally, in person,
but also through your drawings.
They're all very clear.
I love the penguin analogy.
There's different ways of making sure that we really understand what
you're trying to do and that's a very, very important skill
for an architect to have, cos we have to be able
to explain things to clients and to other people all the time,
and you're, obviously, both very brilliant at that, so good luck.
Well done, rookies!
It looks like you've really delivered.
The hardest part of the assignment was pitching and
performing it to the panel.
Best part of the assignment was probably hearing the reactions of
everyone saying that they liked it.
It was really, really nice.
Amjad, well done.
Practice obviously makes a perfect pitch.
When you nearly forgot the bit about the penguins
and then it suddenly came back to you,
I was very, very pleased for you.
Rosie, well done,
leading the presentation from the beginning with smiles.
I particularly liked the attention of detail that you go into.
If you're interested in working in heritage or, indeed,
making new buildings in historic places,
it's always good to just do a little bit of research and understand
what makes that place special,
because we can all make our mark.
New buildings are great,
Historic England loves good new buildings as well,
but if they respond to their setting and just think about
how they fit in to history,
then we can together make really lovely places for all of us
to live in today and that will really last
into the future and become the listed buildings of the future.
It's been an architectural adventure for the rookies,
taking their ideas from concept, right through design
and into a high-pressure pitch.
But have they got what it takes to make it in the industry?
I loved the way you presented,
I loved the way you thought about the brief and I loved the way
you moved it on and came back to it with really good ideas.
You demonstrated teamwork incredibly well.
Great, great clarity in how you presented
and good answering of questions as well.
I think you did incredibly well.
I wish you the best of luck in studying for architecture or for
any of the professions around it.
You had lots of great ideas, super design.
I think you have a really good future ahead.
OK, rookies, how much have you enjoyed your experience
of being architects?
-101 out of 100.
-Yeah, really amazing.
Amjad, do you still want to be an architect?
Definitely, yeah. More than ever.
Do you still want to just do tall skyscrapers?
No, I want to do anything now.
Small, big, medium - all sizes.
What about you, Rosie?
Well, it's funny you should say that, because actually,
I was wondering if you could do me some designs for a loft conversion,
because I need the extra space at home
and architects are so expensive!
I'm thinking, like, a roof terrace,
a couple of extra bedrooms...
Rookies Amjad and Rosie are keen to build a career as architects. Presenter Alex Riley leads the rookies through an incredible experience. The rookies are given stellar advice by Lord Norman Foster, creator of London's Gherkin. They are challenged to design a building to be part of the former Battersea power station redevelopment.
They are helped by architect Narinder Sagoo who first takes them off to survey the site to find some inspiration. Then it's back to the drawing board, literally. They find out what is involved working with architects, artists and engineers to realise their design. Finally a 3D-printed model of the building is produced and is used to help present their concept to a panel of architects and experts at the Royal Institute of Architecture.