This blog provides a perspective on becoming an architect. It follows the career progression of E2 Head of Visualisations David Obaro through a four-part blog mini-series. Each part will be released on Fridays during the month of October. This is Part 1 - Discovery.
Part I – Discovery
We were brought up to be aspirational and ambitious. Moreover, as a Nigerian British citizen growing up, I would often hear my parents say “’You need to make something out of your life”. I have come to realise that good or bad, life is a precious gift.
I was born in Nigeria, 1993, and from an early age, I had always been drawn to arts and craft. Creating a product with my hands was my outlet. I engaged in music performance and production to widen my palette of talents.
We grew up exposed to some aspects of western culture such as Hollywood movies, so of course it should come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of film and cinematography, and an avid enthusiast for special effects, which stimulates my passion for visualisation in architecture.
Boarding school, Lagos Nigeria, the year 2009 that is when I discovered my enthusiasm for architecture, or ‘technical drawing‘ as the subject was known. I was a recluse in most classes. However, my bond with drawing and doodling led my curiosity to develop into my discovery of artistry.
High School Technical Drawing Assignment – A Section Study
In 2010, I joined my family in Leeds, West Yorkshire, to begin my A-Levels, and essentially my career. Transitioning to the UK was an interesting experience. Although subconsciously aware of racial discrimination, as a teenager I didn’t live life with the presumption that every white person I encountered is racist or will be racist towards me. I believe this mentality helped me to shape my interest for studying and acquiring skill within the creative industries. Yes, people often stared, which was uncomfortable, but I learnt quickly not to dwell on the intentions of others and focus on the value adding experiences life has to offer.
My developing passion for fine art and design and technology kept me abreast of troublemakers. As my parents always said, “Focus on your books”, which surprisingly I did, and enjoyed. My desire to hone in on my craft and build my career began to emerge.
I remember looking forward to D&T at school, making models digitally with SketchUp or physically in wood works. One of my favourite projects was making recycled pallet furniture. It could be anything you wanted it to, and I found this really cool. I engaged with the design process, from sketching to developed design, to technical design and then construction.
My A-level teacher was a positive anchor in school. Our relationship was one of many moments in my life that have reaffirmed my belief in humanity, and the power of bestowing knowledge and creating – that feeling of achievement without bias – in this instance; a white teacher to a black student.
One of my most memorable moments was producing a rustic coffee table, which gave me a glimpse of the possibilities of creating. I then went on to mould a Porsche 911 with the vacuum forming process, which was nothing short of amazing to me at the time. Classroom tasks usually would require collaborative teamwork, engaging with other students, and this pushed me to think outside the box.
My ambition as a creative, and as an aspiring architect, is rooted firmly in the joy of collaboration beyond personal bias, with the sole purpose of creation adding value to the lives we encounter on a daily basis. I must admit, this journey has presented me with a variety of experiences.
My A-levels did not give me the best chance of my choice of university. In fact, I gained admission to university through clearing. When I found out all my university choices had rejected my applications I did feel depressed. My emotional investment in this career path seemingly had yielded no return.
I eventually got an offer from the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury, which was rather uplifting, especially having come from a Fine Art background; to then be bringing this into the world of architectural education. I had little knowledge of what I was in for, although I was keen to get stuck in and create.
BSc (Hons) Architecture First Year Project – ‘Chroma Pyramida’
I came to appreciate the academic structure of my university during my Part I studies. Engaging with the ‘design’ unit did develop my understanding of concepts relating to function and form, often marrying both. The ‘technology’ unit essentially opened my eyes to designing with nature and embracing sustainability in architecture.
‘Creative Practice’ was rather interesting. The unit offered a glimpse into professional practice. In teams, we created hypothetical companies and ran them with weekly tasks. ‘Communications’ was probably one of my favourite aspects. We learnt how to operate a variety of software and presentation techniques. And of course, we had to write ‘dissertations’. I learnt a lot on time management and efficiency in achieving deliverables. There is a balance to be found within the pressures of success and self-development. The more valuable experience is in the journey, which is also more exciting than the destination. I felt most alive before deadlines.
In my first year, one of the very first projects I encountered was a group task titled “Wearable Architecture”. With strict deadlines, we researched, developed and constructed ‘Chroma Pyramida’ , a device that allows the user to experience the city in various colours during the day, with a contrasting experience at night. I probably don’t recall the finer detail of the proposed, however I can tell you a great deal about the late nights we spent preparing for crits. The comradeship and relationships you develop with teammates go a long way.
I was amazed at how far I had come in my final year with the project ‘Haus Von Experimenten’. Set on a pier in Hamburg Germany, the project sought to nurture talent in the field of science. The contrast between the first and last projects was pronounced.
BArch (Hons) Architecture Third Year Project -‘Haus Von Experimenten’
David Obaro is Head of Visualisations at E2, he joined the company in 2019 and has brought with him an injection of energy that has helped to revolutionise our approach to 3D modelling and CGI visuals. David is gaining experience and looking to apply this for his Part III qualification as an architect in the near future.
Did you enjoy Part I? If so don’t miss Part II, published here next Friday.