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Alumnus of the month – April 2012

Oliver Andrew
BA Architecture, 2011

Robert Humphreys

After graduating from his BA Architecture in 2011, Oliver has been busy working at a top London practice on his year placement, has won an international architecture competition and has been working on a number of freelance projects. He will be heading off to America for a 5 week placement in July.

Oliver completed his undergraduate degree last year and is currently working at EPR Architects on a one year placement before returning to his studies to complete his MA. EPR Architects are based in the Westminster, London and work on a variety of projects, from business parks to residential apartments. Oliver was offered a one year placement with EPR alongside four other London based practices. Since starting his placement he has worked on a number of projects, including a high profile project helping to design luxury apartments in Westminster.

Growing up Oliver had a strong interest in graphics and Art; it wasn’t until he was studying for his art qualification that he came across architecture. With Oliver’s dad practising as an Architect he had a good insight into the industry before starting his course.

Knowing that he wanted to be based in London with close proximity to international practices, LSBU’s location was perfect. “Having selected a number of London universities to visit, I really liked the course at LSBU and was very impressed with the facilities. I also really liked the diversity of the university, one of my friends is Italian, another from Hong Kong, I don’t think I would have made these friendships somewhere else.”

Oliver was very proactive throughout his degree. He was keen to establish his name within the industry, and would look for projects that he could get involved with alongside his course. He found that support from his tutors helped him to secure interviews, but he knew it was important to gain as much exposure as possible. Whilst searching on ‘Death By Architecture’ a website for architecture competition information on the internet, he came across the Fentress Global Challenge. The international competition was advertised to architecture and engineering students, requiring applicants to submit their vision for the Airport of the Future.

Out of the 200 submissions, Oliver’s concept of LDN Delta Airport was selected as the winning design. The airport has been designed as a number of prefabricated, mass-produced islands situated in the Thames Estuary, down stream from London. To help relieve the airport from overcrowding, it would only be accessible via public transport, have no check-in desks and costs will be kept low by sending flight information directly to passenger’s phones. The designs of the planes themselves were based on the Concorde, a keen interest of Oliver’s from a young age.

In winning the competition Oliver received a £3000 cash bonus and a 5 week placement at Fentress Architects in Denver, Colorado with first class BA flights. His concept was also featured in American Institute of Architects magazine (AIA), and Oliver received a personalised letter from Boris Johnson. Fentress Architects have designed and developed the majority of the public spaces in Denver. Including conference space, football stadium and the airport 52 square miles, which is the largest in the world. They are about to complete a new terminal at LA airport as Oliver arrives, which he is hoping he will have the opportunity to work on. Oliver will work on some conceptual designs and will hopefully get the chance to travel to experience a number of projects the firm is working on. 

Oliver will finish his placement with EPR at the start of the summer before flying out to America in July. Alongside his placement he has got involved with a number of freelance projects, the redesigning of a London bus shelter and designing a rock stage for a festival in Finland. “It is important for me to get involved in a variety of projects to build my portfolio, and gain experience in different areas of Architecture.” He often works with his Father mostly designing properties.

Oliver has returned to LSBU a number of times since graduating to lecture current students, answer any questions and act a guest mentor to critique students work. “I always mention to my tutors that I would always be happy to come back to LSBU to help out where I can.”

Plans for the future
Oliver is keeping his options open as to where to complete his masters, although having been offered places at a number of London universities he may see what opportunities are overseas to give him some exposure studying and working in a different environment. Full-time work is still a little while away, but naturally ambitious Oliver already has his sights set on his future, “I would like to own a multi discipline design studio, covering product, graphical, fashion, architecture and interior design as well as art installations”.

To find out more about what Oliver has been working on visit his website or watch his video on the concept of his airport design. We look forward to seeing his new initiatives and wish him every success in his future.