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A Day in the Life of a New Architectural Graduate

A new architectural graduate experiences a varied and exciting life – with each day often looking different from the last.

If you’re new to studying architecture or unfamiliar with the profession – you might be thinking… what is an architectural graduate?

Well, in Australia you legally cannot call yourself an architect until you have registered.

Architects Accreditation Council of Australia

In each state and territory of Australia it is a legal requirement that any person using the title ‘architect’ or offering services to the public as an architect, must be registered with the Architects’ Board in that jurisdiction.

To register, graduates are required to log a minimum number of hours across performance criteria and pass a rigorous architectural exam. This process takes a minimum of two years.

So – in short – after leaving university you are known as an ‘architectural graduate’ or ‘graduate or architecture.’

Keep in mind that many architectural graduates never take the registration exam. Registration does not prohibit someone from moving up in their practice or becoming a senior designer, in fact some of the most well-known designers in the world, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller and Mies van der Rohe never finished their degrees, let alone registered as architects. You can be a ‘graduate of architecture’ with 40+ years of design experience.

But for those freshly crowned grads, what is it like? Is it difficult going from a classroom to covering everything from project briefing, conceptual design, procurement and construction for a live project?

We sat down with three of COX Melbourne’s newest graduates of architecture to find out more:

You’ve graduated, congratulations! What drew you to a career in architecture?

As cliché as it sounds the thing that drew me to architecture is a desire to enact change through the built environment. I have learnt a lot along the way, that design alone cannot solve a lot of issues I am passionate about, but the iterative nature of design thinking can go a long way.
Sam Chesbrough, Architectural Graduate

A career with mix of the arts, economics, maths, and a bit of everything, was what first drew me in! Along with the idea of working collaboratively with different disciplines.
Diana Ong, Architectural Graduate

What does an average day at COX look like for you?

An average day starts with a morning coffee (obviously) from our barista-quality coffee machine! The day is then driven by team requirements, which alter from day to day, however almost always involve learning new skills and harnessing our creative potential in various parts of the design process.
Hannah Puckey, Architectural Graduate

What’s a skill or lesson you’ve learnt at COX that Uni didn’t prepare you for?

COX, in addition to developing my practical and computational skills, really prepared me to logically and efficiently consider the design process. At Cox I have been fortunate enough to develop this process for a number of designs of all scale and size – a skill that you can only really learn in the real world!
Hannah Puckey, Architectural Graduate

What’s a stand out experience from your time at COX so far?

I’ve really enjoyed hosting the Open House program at Cox. In 2017 I was working as a graphic designer but volunteered at Open House and was placed in the Cox office to help show people round. It was a great experience and I got to talking some of the people at the office and was offered an interview. A few weeks later I’d accepted a position as a student of architecture at COX!
Sam Chesbrough, Architectural Graduate

Where do you see your career in architecture taking you? What’s the plan?

I’ve always said that I wanted to enact change through the built environment and while my work and study has been in architecture, I’ve always considered alternative pathways to this. I would like to consolidate my skills in architecture for the next few years, but I find areas such as policy or research very interesting too.
Sam Chesbrough, Architectural Graduate

Anything else you’d like to add/say?

As an international student, my experience as a student at COX has proved to be an invaluable opportunity that I would not be able to obtain in my home country. I appreciate all that have mentored and guided me in my journey- thank you!
Diana Ong, Architectural Graduate

Ian Sutter, COX Managing Partner

There is nothing more important to our practice than to support and encourage the gathering of knowledge and experience among our staff. We are proud of them for their achievements and pleased that we can provide our people with a culture that enables them to get on with their career and life aspirations via a range of internal programs, including mentorship, study groups and leave, seminar programs and flexible working arrangements that all combine to help promote our strong culture of growth and professional development.

Box Office (Cox Melbourne Studio) | Interiors

Melbourne

Anthea Leyden

Diana Ong

Hannah Puckey

Ian Sutter

Samuel Chesbrough