MArch Architecture (RIBA Part II)
University of Westminster Admission 2012
Growing up in a concrete jungle of social estate blocks in Vilnius (the capital city of post communist Lithuania) seemed natural back then. Being raised in a Lithuanian musical family, attending a Polish school and growing up amongst Russian friends has enabled me to adapt to living in multi-cultural society. I remember days at school as cold; snow was rushing into classrooms through blow holes in walls, students wearing coats and big scarfs around their necks to keep themselves warm. At music school – a teacher always complemented a piano piece with a tissue for a students’ running nose! In contrast, summers were hot in many ways; some of the neighborhood kids kept themselves busy earning money working at construction sites, and some looking for easy targets on the streets… I find these memories extraordinary; it is the reality of what architects should consider for better or for worse when designing spaces, places and cities…
My childhood experience has helped me to successfully design a Youth Centre for Art & Dance in Dalston, Hackney during my final year of architecture degree at University of East London. Coming from a multi-cultural community with similar issues has helped me to understand the needs of Dalston’s youth. When I visited a New Horizon Youth Centre in Camden I met young people from deprived backgrounds who have expressed their appreciation of being able to call the Centre their home. Theirs and my own childhood memories inspired me; I experimented with how those memories could possibly become translated into architectural language and have developed them into the main theme of the design featuring ‘hiding spaces’. At the end of year exhibition I was given the opportunity to produce a mural on 3m x 8m wall, which reflected another of my Youth Centre’s proposed spaces – a very uncommon mural studio. I spent a total of four great years at the University of East London. The challenge of combining independent life, work and studies has been a great motivation towards graduating with a first class degree.
Today, I enjoy working at BDP, a multi-disciplinary practice that fosters socialist ethos of ‘places for people’. I have contributed to a winning submission for a Government Funded Grant for the City College Norwich Creative Arts Hub, which is due to be completed in early 2013. Designed in a new age of austerity, the hub will provide a rich mix of activities for young people in today’s culture of low expectations. In future, I see myself as an architect taking up challenging ideas perhaps through similarly inspiring educational briefs.
In preparation for my studies in the UK I spent two years at an art school and a year taking private academic drawing classes of an amazing Lithuanian artist Gediminas Zuklys. At this point I started to think spatially while drawing. I am also a photography enthusiast; my photographs have been exhibited and won prizes! In my spare time I have helped BDP architect director Wayne Head to produce a book ‘Dictionary of Detail’ – a collection of remarkable architectural details to be published by Routledge.