Taking it from 1 to 100

This podcast was a long time coming. It was one of those things we discussed during group work activities; a platform in which we all shall have our voices amplified, so much so that you can hear us from all corners of the architectural realm. The idea first came to light in our second year at university when we, ‘ethnic minorities’, naturally gravitated into one group for our Cities and Culture module discussing our essay on ‘Blackbird Leys: The Illusion of an Ideal City’. We knew of each other and some of us spoke from time to time, but this was the founding moment from  where our relationship as friends formed and grew beautifully over time. It was only around a year after graduation that the plans of pursuing this podcast came to fruition. 

The 1:100 [one-to-one-hundred] Architecture Podcast is a platform prepared and targeted for people who look like us, speak like us and think like us, as black and brown females. It is also for those wanting to know more about us, where we come from, and where we want to go. We are no more experts than the next design student, just a few architecture graduates speaking on our perspectives within the design industry. We strive to give a reality check on the dos and don’ts on how to thrive in architecture school or within your career by being painfully honest and coming up with solutions based on past experiences. We want our listeners to sprinkle some colour into their careers and splash some culture into their curriculum so we can do our bit to better the system. In turn, we hope that this will bring about the mental preparation which may have helped some of us prior to attending university. We would like others to be at a place where they feel encouraged to pursue their career despite statistical biases. On a platform where people use podcasts for so many different purposes, we thought, ‘why not’?

As a degree, architecture is well-respected in many ethnic minority backgrounds. It, therefore, enhanced our experience in the study as exciting and invaluable. The 1:100 Architecture Podcast not only helps to provide support and insight into the early stages of navigating the world of architecture, but it also helps in raising awareness of some underlooked issues that arise within a complex realm. It is a platform to help ourselves grow and widen our knowledge of how to prepare for our own individual futures, through our various guests’ narratives and experiences. Prior to studying architecture, most of us did not really know of many black or ethnic minority architects, besides the well publicised  Zaha Hadid and David Adjaye. Therefore, not only is this podcast a way to push and encourage non-traditional backgrounds, it is a great way to support and represent those people, like us, entering the architectural field.

Architecture allows you to develop your conversational skills and build good connections with a variety of people so that you are equipped with the correct resources to build and strengthen your own independent journey.  You are also able to carry an array of creative skills into a practice that could be applied to bigger projects and diverse creative fields. Through the course, we were introduced to the art of public speaking and how to fight and defend our designs in the form of crits. To say the least, architecture school was extremely challenging yet incredibly rewarding for all of us. 

The extent of the course with its intensity builds your character ,resilience and overall the ability to develop a thicker skin. It taught us how to be mentally strong through the  constant battle of comparison throughout several design stages. There were many things that could have been beneficial to the growth and development of students from a non-traditional background – one of which was the mental health support and awareness, which we delve into in one of our episodes. The intense stress was a natural and habitual by-product of studying architecture. But this is why community is important and the studio culture of architecture acts as a support system where you build long-lasting friendships – a family away from home. Seeing everyone in the studio working and being surrounded by a busy atmosphere gives you a real buzz; a sense of hope and encouragement. Architecture may feel like an isolated practice but it’s truly the support and connections you make amongst your peers that push your own strengths and work. Learning to find balance and to speak up when you need help is pivotal for growth as a person and especially as a designer. 

Currently, we are experiencing life after architecture school which feels like walking into the unknown, from being encircled by your peers and tutors at the studio to stepping into an industry that is bigger than you imagined it to be. We want you to be a part of this journey we are embarking on, sharing our frustrations, set-backs, and glimmers of hope and success along the way. Let’s just say we’re taking you from 1 to 100!

Written by: Adonai Boamah-Nyamekye, Amanda Selormey, Basma  El Boussaki, Bethany
Stewart, Naomi Eningo-Moreno