Why a foundation course in architecture and design was the right choice for me

Dominic McCormack joined Birmingham City University’s School of Architecture and Design to study BA (Hons) Design for Future Living with a Foundation Year. Dominic tells us about his experience as a foundation student and how it's helped enhance his skills before going into his BA degree.

Dominic McCormack
Student, Design for Future Living with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

"Before I came to university I had some background in construction, in particular electrics, plastering and garden landscaping. I wanted to get into architecture and design because the design side was more appealing to me as a long-term career. I also think it’s good to understand all aspects of construction if you were to run a successful business in the future.

"The foundation year gave me a broad yet balanced insight into the four disciplines within the School of Architecture and Design, which was a huge positive as I had little previous experience. The foundation year really allowed me to gain some exposure before deciding what I really wanted to do.

"We undertook various workshops within each of the four disciplines. The main aim of all of them was to really encourage creativity amongst a group of people that had never necessarily had experience in these disciplines before. Some of the workshops included exploring the five senses, colours and various movements. All workshops were very enjoyable and encouraged us all to be more creative and practical.

"Foundation year gave me enough exposure to every discipline to really consider which direction I wanted to go in for my future career. It taught me core skills such as drawing, Adobe Suite and important research skills that have put me slightly ahead in class during first year. I ended up going into design for future living because the course enables you to cover a mix of the disciplines within a domestic setting.

"During my degree, I’ve really enhanced my drawing, computer and presentation skills. I’ve always been someone who was certain and sure of the way things had to be, but Matt and Jemma have really helped me to step outside my comfort zone, ask more questions and to be more creative. These things for me are a massive achievement because I’ve always been more rigid and certain – sometimes too quickly.

"One of my favourite things about the course is that Matt, Jemma, George Clarke and all of the tutors genuinely care, they’re naturally interested in all of our ideas and want us all to do well. It’s nice to receive good, constructive criticism from the experts and feel a part of a family.

"In future, I’d really like to gain experience in modular housing and assembly lines. I think these building methods could be the future in keeping housing costs down.

"Finally, my advice for prospective foundation students is that I’d say to try and be open minded because this allows for more creativity. Engineers will say that architects are their worst nightmare in a sense because their job is to bring our ideas into physical, practical forms, however, it is these forms that are beautiful and eye catching. So, the more you can be creative and ask questions, the better you will do and the more you will enjoy it!"

Find out more about our foundation course