What were you doing before you started studying at the RCA?
I'm from Germany, and I studied Architecture at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Part of the programme there was to spend a semester abroad – I actually did two – so I spent eight months in Denmark, interning at two architecture practices. I graduated three months ago, and my thesis was on digital virtuality and the abstracted urban space, with a particular focus on video games.
After my time in Denmark, I needed a change, and I felt that going abroad again would enrich my personality. I had always wanted to go to London because it's an amazing city.
I was looking at what was possible with my interest in urban design, and as soon as I found out about the MRes Architecture Programme, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I applied, without really knowing what my chances were like, but I got an interview and now I'm very excited to be here.
Can you describe what it’s like studying at the RCA?
The MRes Programme brings together students from different disciplines, ages, backgrounds and nationalities, to teach them research methodologies in a cross-disciplinary cohort. We work with students across the four Schools – Architecture, Arts & Humanities, Communication & Design – having general discussions, seminars and workshops. We also have a lot of College-wide lectures. On the Architecture Pathway, we have a specialised focus on architecture and space that supports our own personal research. The main focus of the Programme is to do our individual research, and we finish the year with our thesis.
The RCA is a great place to free your mind, because you have this guided framework for your research which teaches you the necessary skills, but within that you're entirely free to do whatever you want to get to your desired outcome.
Have you been set any particular briefs or projects that you've really enjoyed working on?
One of the most interesting opportunities was a series of workshops and seminars as part of the Contour Biennale in Mechelen, Belgium, where the topic was 'What is we?' We asked ourselves who is ‘we’? Who is the public? What are the influences on the built environment, the social structures, the institutions? And we just had the AcrossRCA, week which is just a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with not just the interdisciplinarity of the MRes but the College as a whole.
What is the mixture of students like, and what are the benefits of being in an international community?
I feel the Programme reflects the diversity of the world – we have students from all over the globe. But it's not just a diversity of nations – we have a range of ages, some of us have practical experience; others, like me, have come straight from undergraduate degrees. I feel like that's a great mix because there's such a range of different skills and experience.
What have you found most rewarding about your time at the RCA?
I think it's finding myself in this community, this network of people, which enriches your whole experience. The range of discussion is so different than if you were to have a body of students who are mostly European, or, as in my last university, mainly German. I think that's been a big factor in my research.
What are your plans for this year, and what do you intend to do after you graduate?
Right now I have two thoughts. Number one is to continue my research with a PhD. The RCA has prepared us very well for a career in research. And our studios in the Architecture Pathway are shared with the PhD students so there's already a strong connection with them and what they do – it's all very exciting.
Number two is to find a research job, maybe in an architecture practice. In the short term, though, the plan is to have a research proposal finished by January and then to do the research from January to September.
Do you have any advice for students who are applying?
Just go for it. It's definitely worth it. And if you're not sure whether the RCA is right for you, get in touch with the current students, and just be brave. You come here and are welcomed as you are, and you'll be helped and guided to wherever you want to go.
"The RCA is a great place to free your mind, because you have this guided framework for your research which teaches you the necessary skills."