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Five minutes with Saunders’ Architectural Assistant, Yiannis Taliotis


Saunders is greater than the sum of its parts thanks to the very talented Saunders team. This piece is the first in a series which will provide an insight into the lives of just a few of the Saunders people, who are all at various stages of their career. This week it’s the turn of RIBA Part I year-out student, Yiannis Taliotis.

Tell us about your career so far.

I completed my bachelor’s degree at the Kent School of Architecture in Canterbury last summer and am currently taking my year out as a Part 1 Architectural Assistant at Saunders. My aim is to return to university next September to complete a Master’s degree for my Part 2 qualification.

What attracted you to Saunders?

I was inspired by Saunders’ growing portfolio of projects in the education sector as I’d centred my final design project at university on young people and schools. So, when I was seeking a Part 1 Assistant role last summer, I knew this practice would give me a clearer understanding of the sector as well as providing experience of the architectural role within the construction industry.

Is working with an architectural practice as you expected?

In some ways yes, in others not as much. I have learned how every project is unique, with its own set of circumstances and pressures, requiring a flexible response by the design team.

I now appreciate how the level of detail increases as a project progresses through the design stages.

What have been the best parts?

I have really enjoyed being involved in a wide range of collaborative projects across different sectors. It is fascinating to see different teams (planning and technical) within the office come together to work towards a common goal for the practice.

What are the challenges?

Initially, I found the challenge of adapting to the conventions of an architectural practice and the way it operates quite intense - there have been many times where I’ve had to work on multiple projects simultaneously, which has been demanding. Naturally, students are more used to working on single projects so I’ve had to adapt my workload and the way I prioritise tasks.

Anything unexpected that you have learnt?
It is important to be aware that the transition from university to practice can be hard. Develop your software skills as early as possible and understand that University is where you can experiment with different approaches to projects in order to widen your creative skillset. However, in practice, you have to think more commercially to ensure that a project is viable.

As a Part 1, what advice would you give to those thinking about a career in architecture?

For those thinking about a career in Architecture, I would recommend that you thoroughly research all the different routes you can take to get into the profession. Look for a firm that wants to help you to grow. Everyone’s career path will be unique, but I think it’s important to work in an environment that can help you to build on your strengths.

If you’re looking for a role and wish to explore joining the Saunders team, take a look at our current opportunities https://www.saundersarchitects.com/recruitment/ or feel free to contact us for a chat.

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