Elliot Bennett reflects on his first year at the LSA
The most important people at any school are its students and at LSA that’s no exception. But what’s it actually like to study here? We spoke to First Years, Second Years and alumni so you can find out first hand. Elliot Bennett is a First Year at the LSA. He is currently doing his practice placement at Populous and has also started multidisciplinary design group with fellow students to explore the relationship between architecture, art, graphics and fashion.
What attracted you to the school in the first place?
The LSA provided an attractive alternative to traditional architectural education. I enjoyed my time in practice post Part 1 and the prospect of continuing my studies whilst working was a rare opportunity that I did not want to overlook. The school asks students to apply design, research and theory to the city of London whilst situating itself and the students at the centre. Capitalising on the practice network was also a key driver for my application as the school locates its classes throughout the city of London allowing glimpses of various architectural practices and event spaces.
What are Design Think Tanks like? What’s it like working in a group in this scenario?
The Design Think Tanks are a three-month period of focused design development into a research theory initiated by the LSA tutors and Design Think Tank leaders but followed through by you, the students. These are a great way to explore a shared interest with a small group of the cohort. You are encouraged to investigate the think tank thoroughly through theory, initial spatial proposals, and finally applying your development to an area / test bed of the city.
A culture of working and socialising together often develops between each DTT group due to the amount of time and proximity together. It is important to make time for socialising as a group between the research and design development in order to build understanding beyond the architecture course. Collaborative design is at the heart of architectural practice and the think tanks help students to develop working like as well as being able to understand and harness individual strengths.
What do you hope Second Year will be like?
Whilst first year provided a platform to identify and question my position within the profession, I am looking forward to focusing my time towards an individual agenda following the research processes that we have applied during the design think tanks. The second year should also be a time to build on the studio culture within the cohort through opportunities outside of the course, like informal talks, pub socials or sport.
What do you want your architecture to achieve and has this ambition changed while you have been at the LSA?
My initial agenda was for my architecture to address professions of design beyond architectural practice through art, graphic and interior design, fashion and digital design. To investigate this I started a multidisciplinary design group with fellow students to explore the relationship between design mediums, producing installations, apparel and entering competitions.
Adjacent to my agenda with multidisciplinary design, the Design Think Tanks have encouraged me to critique the definition of what it means to play, enjoy and have fun around a city. In a world that is becoming isolated by technology and social media, it is important to address the real and genuine interactions that make us human and to encourage healthy, active lifestyles within dense urban environments.