Wednesday, 25 October 2017

RIBA Practice Role Model

We are delighted to post that xsite has been named a Practice Role Model by the RIBA.

We are one of nine practices selected to 'illustrate the characteristics of a Role Model organisation' and are looking forward exploring collaboration and exchange of ideas with the other practices involved, over the course of the project and beyond.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

PlanBEE Update

Jack was the third PlanBEE student to have joined the xsite Team. We said goodbye to him on Friday but managed to grab him for a quick chat before he left.

Jack, can you tell us a bit about your experience of PlanBEE so far?
Throughout my first year of the PlanBEE program I have undertaken 3 placements. The first of which was at 3E Consulting Engineers, learning about structural, civil and geotechnical engineering. I then moved to Ryder Architecture where, working as a design assistant, I gained experience developing projects from Concept Design to the Developed Design Stage. Following these initial 2 placements I came to xsite Architecture where I have gained further architectural experience as I have had the opportunity to work on different scale projects than those I had worked on previously.

I have found PlanBEE very successful so far. Over the last year - my first year, I have experienced different roles, with different people from various companies which has allowed me to become more knowledgeable about the construction industry as a whole.

I am looking forward to undertaking the next 3 placements over the coming year and gaining my HND level 5.  Following this time, I believe I will be in a good position to choose my favoured role and decide on the career path that I will continue onto.

What projects have you worked on at xsite?
Whilst at xsite Architecture I haev worked on: Foundry Lane Studios - Stephenson Quarter Development (UTC) - Tyneside Cinema - Rockcliffe Pleasure Gardens - West Ave, Gosforth Development.

What have you learned in your time at xsite?
Increased understanding of Photoshop and InDesign
Seen how a project is developed in Revit and AutoCAD
Gained an understanding of how to find solutions to design problems
Observed the difference in requirements and considerations when working on renovation or new construction projects

The new academic year is about to start, meaning that you are becoming a second year and that there will be a new first year cohort. Do you have any tips or advice for them?
Having completed the first year of PlanBEE the best tip I could give to the next cohort of students is regarding time management.  Achieving a balance between hobbies, college assessments and work is key.

There is a lot of information to take in and many assignments to produce over a short space of time so I’d recommend regularly dedicating time to each so that things don’t build up. If they do this then it is possible to achieve everything expected of them.

Has your understanding of Architecture or working in practice changed over the last few months?
Being at xsite has firmed up my understanding of what it is to work in an architectural practice. On completion of PlanBEE, working in a practice will definitely be an option I will be open to.

We are excited to have Emma join us on Tuesday as our next PlanBEE Student!

If you are interested in PlanBEE see the website for more details.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The RIBA Architecture Ambassador Partnership

The Architecture Ambassador Partnership, part of the RIBA’s Schools Programme, offers an exciting opportunity for RIBA members to engage with pupils in an effort to inspire and encourage them to think about their built environment and the communities that occupy them.

Two members of the xsite team have been working closely with teaching staff from two local schools, developing projects which are being delivered to pupils. The project workshops, which are being run over a number of weeks, provide opportunity to celebrate the creative process and to promote understanding and awareness of the endless possibilities of architectural design and the build environment. 

 Workshop 1 at Monkseaton High School - Cardboard Model Making

About the school: Monkseaton High School is a mixed comprehensive school for 13-18 year olds, in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

About the project: The initial meeting, spent with the teacher one evening at the Baltic, was very motivating. We discussed possible topics, shared interests and considered the best possible ways to engage the children with the RIBA programme. Working with two Year 9 classes (13-14 years old), they got into groups of 2-4 and were asked to design their dream house for friends. The workshops are held over 5 weeks, culminating with an exhibition at school. An excitable introductory lesson established the key ideas of architecture, group discussions on favourite places, drawing floor plans of their own homes and familiarising them with the brief. The rest of the workshops will focus on cardboard model making, experiential drawings of the spaces, and photographing models to be printed and shown at the exhibition. I hope the project enables the students to recognise the importance of continuing their artistic education into GCSEs and beyond, broaden their understanding of the built environment and while having fun, get them interested in the world of architecture!

 Workshop 1 at Northern Saints Primary - 1:20 Scale Pupils

About the school: Northern Saints Church of England is a mixed Primary School for 5-11 year olds, in North Hylton.

About the project: Upon hearing about the RIBA Architecture Ambassadors programme, I was excited to get involved. I met the art co-ordinator of Northern Saints Primary at a RIBA hosted training day at the Baltic. In planning the project, we wanted to capture elements of as many construction and arts disciplines to equip the children with the understanding that the possibilities of what they can do ‘when they grow up’ are infinite. In year 1, this term the topic is castles and a 15 minute walk away from the school sits Hylton Castle, which is currently undergoing a period of change and regeneration. We decided to give them a ‘real life’ design project. Our first session involved discussion on what an architect could be, thinking about the best design for Hylton Castle (pizza and marshmallows were a reoccurring theme) and designing their own 1:20 scale versions of themselves. Over the next few weeks they will visit and survey the castle where they will take photographs and measure and experience the building with all of their senses. From then, they will have the opportunity to re-imagine the castle with as much imagination as possible in 3D – the perfect design project! Similarly to Caitlin, we will host an exhibition at the end to celebrate the children and the mini town of castles they will have produced.

If you are interested in the Architecture Ambassador Partnership visit the link below for more information. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Plan BEE Update

Josh’s mug shot

The first rotation of PlanBEE students happened at the start of February. As we said goodbye to Maddy, following her 4 months with us, we welcomed Josh to the xsite team.

We had a quick Q&A with Josh to get to know a bit about him!

Where do you come from?
I come from a village on the outskirts of Middlesbrough.

What did you study at GCSE/A Level?
I studied Process Engineering and Maths at Middlesbrough Sixth Form.

Which other Plan BEE placements have you completed to date?
My first Plan BEE placement was at CUNDALL, which is an engineering consultancy based in Gosforth. During my four month placement I was in the structures team where I gained experience and knowledge on the engineering processes behind the structure of a building.

Did you have any prior experience of the construction industry before you enrolled onto Plan BEE?
In 2016 I completed a six week voluntary work experience at Ace Aluminium & Architectural Services LTD. Whilst there I gained insight into site feasibility, H&S and design and installation. Time was also spent designing curtain walling, bespoke glazing, structural glazing and windows and doors systems. 

Why did you choose Plan BEE over taking a more traditional route?
I chose Plan BEE as I felt that many other courses couldn't offer the opportunities that where available through the course such as; working amongst some of the leading industry companies in the North East and having the opportunity to gain from their experience.

What do you think are good skills or traits to have, in general and you specifically for you as a Plan BEE student?
From a young age I have been interested in the look and shape of buildings which has helped my decision on wanting a career in the construction industry, where I will be able to learn about architecture and design. I feel that my problem solving skills and the ability to think outside of the box will be beneficial and help me in my future career path.

What have you enjoyed/learned over your first few weeks at xsite architecture?
During my time at xsite, I have gained a better understanding of REVIT and CAD through developing 2D and 3D models based on existing projects. This opportunity has allowed me to navigate around the software’s and improve my BIM skills along with creating to scale models.

What do you hope to get out of your placement with xsite?
At CUNDALL I gained valuable experience regarding the structural aspect of construction. This included structural calculations and load points. Now at xsite I hope I will be able to further my knowledge of design principles. Also through use of REVIT and other BIM software I hope to experience how 3D software is used on current and future projects.

What are you interests outside of the course?
During my spare time I enjoy watching county cricket at local grounds such County Durham. I also enjoy getting out in the fresh air and going for a long run along with travelling and visiting new places, mainly cities.

If you are interested in PlanBEE see the website for more details.
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