Alex Mewis

Architecture - BA (Hons)

Alex always knew he wanted to be an architect, but that didn’t mean his journey to university was easy. His first time at university led to struggles with his mental health, but after starting at BCU, he gained the confidence to pursue his dream career. 

"I’ve always wanted to be an architect. My great Uncle was an architect, and I remember him inspiring me to follow the same path even as early as primary school.

I knew in order to follow my dream, I’d need to study at university. I originally attended a different university, but I struggled with anxiety during my first year and found this quite difficult to overcome.

After leaving that university, I managed to arrange to meet Glenn Howells who offered me 4 weeks of work experience at Howells Architects. It went really well, and I was then offered a paid internship while I prepared to join BCU to complete my degree.

Since then, I’ve worked at Howells on 4 different occasions including a summer internship last year. Now I’ve graduated, I’m going back to work there before starting my Master’s. I have really enjoyed all of my experiences there, it’s an amazing team.

Before even starting at BCU, I was made aware that I was able to have a Student Support Summary that outlined the difficulties I faced with anxiety and how BCU could offer me support. After the struggles at my previous university, this was such a reassuring thought and was useful to have throughout my university experience. At BCU, the student support from tutors is unmatched.

My experience at BCU has definitely prepared me for the working world, and in my case, continue my education with the RIBA part II. The course allowed me to develop innovative architectural ideas, but also to understand the importance of communication skills for an architect.

I really enjoy working in the studio and being able to seek inspiration from my peers, whilst also having the freedom to design anything within the parameters of a brief.

The projects on my course were so varied and unique to anything I’ve worked on in the past. A particular favourite was a project from first year, based on a remote island northwest of Scotland called St Kilda in which we were tasked to design a rural enterprise of our choice to aid the island's depleting bird population.

During my time at university, I started an architectural society with the help of other students. It’s called Architecture Families and was an initiative that helped to bring people together during the pandemic. I was able to form groups of students from different stages of university, even including postgraduate students, allowing them to share advice with each other. Whilst COVID made it difficult to socialise at university, this really helped bring us together and develop our skills in group work and communication, which are absolute fundamentals in training to become an architect.

My confidence in my own abilities has improved so much since becoming a student here. I struggled to motivate myself at my previous uni, but have been able to do this effortlessly at BCU. This experience has made me appreciate the importance of my mental health being the priority in every decision I make in life.

If you are considering studying Architecture at BCU, I’d say go for it! If you are a creative, hard-working person who is fascinated by the world of design, construction and the built environment, then architecture is something for you. Take every bit of advice you can from your peers and tutors, but also remember to believe in your designs. Part of being an architect is being able to sell your vision, so have confidence in the work you produce.

To me, I AM BCU means finding confidence, putting myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself even in the most testing of times."