Ro Spankie

Course Leader for Interior Architecture BA Honours

Department of Architecture

Ro Spankie

Please tell us a bit about the courses that you are involved in?

I am Course Leader for Westminster’s Interior Architecture BA Honours, which is a relatively new course that opened in 2009. A three year undergraduate degree course, it focuses particularly at the re-use and adaptation of existing buildings, staring from the premise that buildings don’t necessarily need to be knocked down, just re-imagined, often with a completely new purpose.  The course is studio based with 50% of a student’s time spent on design. It is very intense with lots of drawing and model making, students being taught a variety of design skills including: exhibition design, retail design, simple film making, research skills and most importantly how to design.

What was your first job? What did you learn from it?

My very first job was a bingo caller at Pontin’s holiday camp in Camber Sands. However my first ‘real’ job was working for a furniture designer when I finished my City and Guilds in Cabinet Making. I realised that I far preferred designing pieces to the actual making. I loved drawing out ideas and was happy to let someone more skilled and patient than me make the pieces.

What did you do in your career before coming Westminster?

I was Programme Leader for Interior Architecture BA at Oxford Brookes and before that I worked in practice in London and Berlin.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Seeing a book on drawing I wrote in an art bookshop in New York.

What advice would you give to students during their studies and after graduation?

Don’t just do what your tutors ask, or your peers are doing, try and work out what you want to do. There are a lot of graduates coming out of universities every year, you have to stick out from the crowd.

What advice would you give students considering studying interior architecture?

You should love drawing and making - design is a visual language and you have to be able communicate your ideas through graphic means.

What are your interests/leisure activities?

I swim outdoors all year round in my local lido and, if I get a chance, in the sea.

Architecture and Interiors

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