Sam Patterson Diploma In Architecture 2012

Job Title:

Lead Technical Trainer at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre


Architecture (DipArch)


Construction Scotland
nnovation Centre

Construction Scotland


Sam Patterson

Interview originally produced for FLOW issue 23

What made you decide to study Architecture at the GSA?

Studying Architecture was a leap of faith that I am glad to have taken. The decision to study at the GSA very much came down to the Open Day visit and the studio culture of the Bourdon Building. None of the other open days I went to had the same feeling of belonging. The social energy of the studio spoke to me, and the peer to peer learning and extracurricular events with MASS really made the difference in providing a rounded education.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience after graduating in 2012?
I graduated from my undergraduate degree in 2009, post financial crisis, and from my Diploma in 2012 – in a double dip recession. The employment opportunities were limited, and graduates had to get creative. During my studies I helped organise the studio coffee bar, got involved in the European Architecture Students Assembly, and was a student rep at the Glasgow Institute of Architects (GIA). These roles and experiences were my USP in a very crowded market place for jobs, and this USP has taken me on a less conventional career path. My first job out of GSA started the September after graduation, as a Programme Officer at Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS). Working at The Lighthouse, I contributed to over 40 exhibitions supported by A&DS, working with content from some of Scotland’s leading architects.

You are previously held the position of Vice President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects (GIA) What did you learned from this role?
My time volunteering at the GIA started as a student, and came back in 2015, when my exhibitions experience was required to plan for the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. To me the GIA was an avenue to explore ideas that didn’t fit into other roles: in 2016 I worked with Chris Leslie to publish a film called [Re]Imagining Glasgow, In 2017 I worked on an ideas competition for Dumfries High Street, and in 2018 I organised a party at SWG3 to celebrate 150 years of the GIA. It was at this point that, despite not being a chartered architect, I was elected to the office of Vice President, alongside my classmate Philip Zoechbauer. So to answer what I have learned – do things that bring you joy, take chances, be kind to other people and you never know where the road will lead.

What work do you currently do at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC)?
In 2019 I moved from A&DS to the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, which is in an amazing position between industry, academia and the public sector, to broker new collaborations, to test new building materials and to prototype new construction processes. My role as Technical Trainer is split between the Technical Team in the Innovation Factory and the Future Skills team, working with learners of all ages to adapt to changes and take on new skills needed in a changing industry. My role in the Technical Team includes de-risking and delivering innovative projects, and my role in the Future Skills Team is disseminating that learning and training others.

How has the Centre adapted to the current situation of COVID-19?

Whilst the doors of the Innovation Factory are currently closed, the whole team has adapted to home working. The built environment sector as a whole, architects included, now have an opportunity to use innovation to survive the Covid-19 pandemic and build resilience for the future. The response so far has seen companies come to terms with remote working and revised site operating procedures, and CSIC is helping with the ‘what next?’ question. Without being too cliché about this, things won’t be the same again. The i-Con initiative that CSIC has launched is looking to partner challenge holders and solution providers to improve resilience through innovation and aid a faster recovery.

Construction Scotland

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