If Vanbrugh or Wren had limited themselves to one discipline we'd all be the poorer

Sherin Aminossehe

Architecture students should be encouraged to pursue interests away from their drawing boards

The furthest thing from my mind when I was at the Bartlett doing those improbable structures that sometimes only existed in my 3D Max package, or on sheets of painstakingly inked-in acetate, was to be on the other side of the creative process. I was going to be that rare thing, a successful well-known female architect, designing private houses or divine-looking museums that looked gorgeous with no people to ruin their immaculate lines splashed on a double-page spread of those coffee table books that I lusted after.

But then again, aged four I wanted to be an astronaut doctor and as I entered double figures a quick succession of professions went through my mind: stockbroker, barrister and then finally a diplomat – until I was told (incorrectly as it turned out) that not being born here was a bar to my aspiration to join the Ferrero Rocher circuit.

Architecture won out but my head of first year (who shall remain nameless) had other ideas about my chances of graduating. I wasn’t chained to my drawing board: I had outside interests that she didn’t approve of. I loved politics, wrote articles and policy papers, debated and organised events in the Houses of Parliament.

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