Amina Gardner
Nottingham is a bustling student city and has a vibrant atmosphere, with lots of local events to go to including food festivals, exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary art gallery and market stalls. There is so much to experience, you can never get bored!

More about Amina

What made you choose to study at NTU?

Nottingham Trent University has a reputation for excellent quality teaching standards and a welcoming, diverse environment which attracted me to study here, as well as the department's access to facilities, unique studio culture, equipment and workshops.

The 100% coursework-based learning allows me to continually develop my skills and get feedback, which is the best-suited method for me to learn. A combination of live projects and being taught by external professionals means that I gain insight into real-world perspective. As an avid traveller, opportunities to take trips both nationally and internationally also enticed me to study at NTU.

Have you been involved in any live projects or exciting briefs?

The most exciting design brief last year Sites of Hybridity, which was set in Coventry adjacent to the infamous ring road, required a master planning proposal and design for a hybrid housing - combining a bicycle workshop and social housing development. In this project, I produced a vibrant masterplan to what is a dull corner of the city, that allows better connection from the train station into the city for pedestrians and cyclists.

My hybrid housing proposal created a landmark for the site. It synchronised with the masterplan, encouraging the use of bicycles as a primary form of transport through the city, as well as providing a workshop to buy, fix and learn about bikes. This master planning and design proposal combined allowed me to rejuvenate a dull area of the city and propose a livelier and more active city centre.

Have you had any speakers or lecturers from industry visiting as part of your course?

Recently a Building Information Modelling (BIM) manager from local practice RG+P visited to deliver a talk on studying architecture and his alternative route as a professional. After starting as an architectural assistant, he gained passion for BIM and started his own design company abroad. This talk gave me a refreshing insight into the routes after university, not limited to becoming an architect.

Have you been on any trips with your course?

In my first year, we took a trip to Leicester for a photography charrette competition to look at local buildings of interest. This trip opened my eyes to how local architecture could become precedents for future work, as well as encouraged me to notice details of an everyday urban environment.

The photographs we captured had to correlate to a theme, for example: thresholds, composition, tectonics, patina. Choosing a theme restricted what I could take photos of, which allowed a more focused and thoughtful approach to my photography. Furthermore, I paid more attention to detailing of buildings and urban spaces, which allowed me to reflect on what I design in my studio projects and how it would correlate in real life. For the pictures I submitted, I won a student prize and course leader overall prize!

What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking about studying your course?

Architecture is a challenging but enriching course. During your process of studying, you learn so much more than just buildings itself; you're exposed to think in alternative ways about how we live, consider philosophies, history, the environment, art and social movements. My appreciation for architecture has grown because of it. Because of this, I have become a more skilled and multi-faceted individual. NTU has done a great job at developing my technical skills, allowing me to explore different aspects of architecture I am interested in as well as design consciously for the environment.

Sum it up for us, what do like most about your course?

No project is the same. Architecture presents new challenges with each piece of work and we are always encouraged to make links with what we've learnt in other modules. The projects are fast-paced and challenging which I find exciting.

What do you think of the facilities available to you at NTU?  

There is good access to the workshop and Grade II* listed studio space which have long opening hours and weekend access. The workshop staff are friendly and supportive with any queries you have, even suggesting ideas when you are stuck within the model making process.

Boningtons Art Shop stock all the required course materials at a reasonable price, cheaper than most retailers and are very convenient as they are across the road from the architecture studio. City Campus is a great place to study with a variety of study spaces.

There’s also a 24-hour library, which offers academic writing support and can get access to any books you request. On campus, I particularly like that most lecture theatres have lecture capture equipment, meaning I can watch most of my lectures back if I need to re-visit a topic.

Tell us a bit about the staff on your course, how do they support your learning and university experience?

My lecturers and tutors are very supportive during one-to-one tutorials and even offer help or give advice outside of teaching hours. The studio culture is fantastic! I have found that when working in the studio during the week, I have benefited massively by being able to ask tutors for advice and exchange ideas with my peers.

What do you like about studying and living in Nottingham?

Nottingham is a bustling student city and has a vibrant atmosphere with lots of local events to go to including, local food festivals, exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary art gallery and market stalls. There is so much to experience in Nottingham, you can never be bored!

Do you feel that there is a student community?

NTU community is very inviting, and it is lovely to be part of a diverse community of students. I have enjoyed getting to know people from all around the world.

What do you hope to achieve after completing your degree?

After graduating, I would love to do a year in industry before completing my Part II masters in architecture. I also would like to travel for a few months.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418
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