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Clare Edwards

I hadn’t realised how technically different construction would be over here. But this is why I wanted to work in the USA to learn about alternative way of doing things.

The moment I decided becoming an architect was…

I had always really enjoyed making things when I was little and art was one of my favorite classes in school. I would defiantly say I’m a very sociable person and have always got a lot of pleasure from working on group projects and team events. Though admittedly I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I was probably a bit annoying to some of my teammates. When it came time for me to think of what to do after school architecture seems like the best fit, a career that would balance by artistic and analytical sides. Being an Architect seems like a great profession for someone born under the split personality star sign Gemini! 

I always dreamed of working in the USA…

Working in the USA is a great opportunity to see how the profession operates outside of the UK. I was interested to learn about architecture from a West Coast perspective in particular as I felt this part of the States had a less European tradition that the East Coast.

What I love from my current job at Bittoni Architects is…

I’ve been working at Bittoni Architects for around three months and so far it’s been quite a steep learning curve. Even thought I can draw upon my previous experience when designing and liaising with other consultants, I hadn’t realised how technically different construction would be over here. I guess in hindsight it’s pretty obvious but before Bittoni Architects I had never really worked on a fully timber framed building, which is the dominate method of construction here. But this is why I wanted to work in the USA to learn about alternative way of doing things.

If I have to define the Architect-US experience, it would be…

I’m so glad I found Architect-US as they have been absolutely brilliant. They explained all the stages of the visa application and were very approachable and really quick to get back to me when I had questions or needed advise.

What I’d like to know before coming to the U.S. is…

How important it is to sort bureaucratic things out like applying for a Social Security number and ID card etc. as soon as possible. The systems here can be pretty frustrating so it best to get things started as early as possible. Living in LA is quite expensive, comparable to any major European city I guess. I would say to anyone thinking of moving here to prepared to pay a lot of money on rent. Food from regular supermarkets is pretty reasonable though and transport is much cheaper then in the UK.

In Los Angeles, you cannot miss…

The beach, the mountains, weekend camping trips …… I think the things I enjoy most about LA are all the cliched things. It’s a really amazing contrast coming from living in London where everything is so compact. The sunshine really lifts your spirits everyday. 

What I’ll always miss doing…

I miss everyone in the UK, my family and friends. So I guess I miss people more than a particular thing.

I never expected…

Having said how amazing the weather is here we have had a really, really raining couple of months. I never expected it to rain this much in the winter time. But whenever I mention it I’m reminded by locals of the years of drought California experienced so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

If I only could choose a moment of Architect-US experience, it would be…

Im only a couple of months into my placement so I’m sure there will be some amazing experiences to come. But so far the best bit (apart from when I heard my Visa was approved!) has been driving along the Pacific Coast Highway looking out to the sea, its such a beautiful drive.

The plan I don’t get tired of doing is…

I’m loving working over here but still nothing beats waking up on a Saturday and knowing I don’t have to go to work and have the whole weekend to explore! 

You can read Clare’s posts and know more about him here.

Clare Edwards

Trainee at Bittoni ArchLos Angeles

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