Asking alumni | Sarah Osei

Sarah Osei is an aspiring architect being supported by our Building Futures programme with a passion for social housing and some advice for students considering an architecture degree.

When did you first realise that you would like to become an Architect?

I realised shortly after starting my foundation year that I enjoyed the idea of designing and creating buildings that could have a big impact on the people using it.

Why did you choose to study at Ravensbourne University? What is your favourite thing about this school of architecture?

I chose to continue to study at Ravensbourne University after my foundation year because I enjoyed the friendly environment. You always know another person from a different course, and you can always ask them for help. It’s nice to learn from difference courses. Interior design and architecture students are taught together, which is great because we are always learning from each other, understanding how interior spaces would work and how the exterior of a building would be constructed. It is similar to the industry because you never work alone.

Has anything surprised you about studying architecture? What do you enjoy most on your architecture course?

I enjoy the fact that everyone has different thought processes when it comes to designing architecture, everyone has their own style. I think what has surprised me is that architecture is more than just architecture, it is more that just designing buildings. It is creating a personal story and narrative through three-dimensional making; it can be very poetic at times.

How did you first hear about the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust?

I heard about the Trust through another alumni during work experience at HTA Design LLP at the end of my first year. She told me about it and thought it would be helpful for me as someone who had just started their studies.

How has the Stephen Lawrence Trust helped you on your architectural journey?

After having mentoring with MICA Architects, I felt that my confidence towards my academic projects and using software grew during my second year. Also receiving the bursary last September has helped towards my final year, especially towards my final major project in terms of buying materials for model making. I feel more confident in terms of who I want to be as an architect, the pathways I could choose and the experience I need. I have also been to lots of workshops and met different architects which is fun.

Who is your biggest inspiration? In architecture or otherwise.

Recently, during my third year, I have been inspired by Peter Barber’s work for social housing in London. I like his design language and his play approach to designing homes. It is so different to anything I have seen in London. It is inspiring because I want to design social housing in the future. His designs always meet the requirements and more so surpass them, he usually creates high density housing in small spaces.

What are your ambitions for the future? What do you hope to be doing in 5 years’ time?

My main goal is to become an architect and specialise in social housing. I want to design better and safer homes, starting in London first and then countries in Europe and Africa; places with a real need for social housing. I hope to design for people from similar backgrounds to myself. In the future I want to create houses that feel like homes.

 What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying to study architecture at University?

Choose a university where you see yourself growing as a designer, go to open days and meet the students and course leaders. Look at work that they produce and see if you’re inspired by it. Definitely go to the degree shows this summer/this month/next month, it is the best time to meet all the students and see their work. Also go to summer schools if you can and workshops, they build your confidence and help you grow and learn as a designer.