Professional of The Week: An Architect

This week, we’re featuring an Architect as the “Professional of The Week”. It was yet another enlightening interview and I encourage every professional or budding professional out there to read on.

Name: Esoetok Etteh Jnr
Location (state): Rivers State
Profession: Architect

1. Why did you choose Architecture as your profession? 
I’ve always been a creative person. I developed a keen interest in drawing from an early age and learnt by drawing what I saw in comic books. Following my secondary school education, choosing architecture was the logical step to follow for me as I had the choice between that and being an artist.

2. What is the best thing about your profession?
There are two things I like about my being an Architect: one would be seeing my design or ideas being built. I get great satisfaction from seeing my idea or dream become a reality. Secondly, the fact that I move about. I’m not always in front of my computer in the office. At the beginning of a project one would basically move between the given site and the office, produce feasibility drawings, meetings with the clients and other stakeholders at a designated location. Once commission of a project gets on the way, depending on my role, I may be on site a lot if I’m the project architect or may take a back seat and attend site meetings but not on a regular basis. I would also delegate work to the other staff once we get a project.

As you can see, a lot of work is done outside the office and I do enjoy this.

3. What do you do on a day-to-day basis? 
It varies, depending on the stage of a project. It may include the design or inception of a concept which involves time on the drawing board or computer, and interacting with other members of the design team. I’m also involved in the contractual administration of a job to see it through to completion. I may also go through websites that advertises tenders, make calls to clients or follow up calls if needed, check on the status of a project that’s progressing, then carry on work on a current project or visit the site of a “live” project.

4. What qualifications are you working towards? 
I am currently working towards attaining professional qualification here in Nigeria. I did not obtain my qualification in Nigeria and I found out that my qualification as an architect is not accepted in Nigeria despite it being accepted in Europe and other places. I’m a member of the Architects Registration Board in the UK.  I will need to write the exam here to be a Nigerian architect. It just involves attending  lectures and writing an exam at the end of the course. It’s basically to be a member of the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria, which would make me an architect here and see my name published on their list of architects.

5. What advice will you give someone interested in Architecture as a profession? 
I would advise them to put their heads down and have the commitment to complete the course. Architecture like medicine is an intensive course and dedication and enthusiasm is required by students of the course. I’ve seen students during my time in university drop out or defer from the course due to the hectic nature of the architecture course. Also having an active interest in the arts, though not essential can be very helpful when it comes to the design aspect of the course.

6. What skills will you advise current and aspiring students of Architecture to acquire/develop?
I would advise them to develop good design and detailing skills. The mistake often made is that the two are separated in current educational settings whereas they should be intertwined.

7. What did you study? Is it a barrier if your degree is not Architecture?
I studied architecture. It may be a barrier if your degree isn’t related to the building and construction industry. But to be a qualified architect, one has to study architecture in its entirety.

8. Do you have any other interest you pursue apart from your profession as an Architect?
I do enjoy sports a lot especially football. I’ve been following Arsenal F.C. from an early age. I also do read from time to time but not very often. I also watch a lot of movies, you could say I’m a movie fanatic. On a side note, one needs to find the right work / play balance, as they say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So striking that balance can help make the profession an enjoyable experience.

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