Spatial design is a design concept and methodology that integrates established concepts of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, public art, and much more. The role of an architect in spatial design is positioned somewhere between art, which is abstract and conceptual, and the technology of construction, which is scientific, practical and precise.
Unlike pure art, buildings and places must be securely constructed and structurally solid. The design must take into account how they will be built, their function, and how they will be experienced. The architect in spatial design must therefore have knowledge of both, nothing happens in isolation and everything is interconnected.
Let’s meet Giulia, a young graduated who joined Tractebel in 2020 as architect at the Spatial Design team in Tractebel.
Giulia, how did you arrive at Tractebel ?
I first studied architecture at the IUAV University of Venice where I did my Bachelor and then at the KU Leuven in Gent. I noticed that towards the end of my studies, I got more and more interested in the designing of public interventions that would allow a large group of people to gather together. The idea of creating something open to everyone triggered my interest.
In 2020, one of my professor talked to me about Tractebel and asked me if I would be interested to do an interview for the job of Architect in the Spatial Design team, I applied and here I am.
Tell us more about your job itself, what do you do?
I am an Architect at the Spatial Design team of Tractebel, in Gent. My role within the team varies in many ways according to the projects I am working on.
The main reason I find my job in the Spatial Design office interesting is because of the many different types of project in which you might end up working. They are all different from each other, every project is unique. For instance, I am currently involved on a project that focuses on the urban issue of a big city which differs a lot from those that are more immersed in natural landscapes.
The first step when starting a new project is to have a clear overview of the surroundings and the characteristics of this specific area. For this, we need to conduct analysis and studies which will allow us to point out the pros and cons which will determine the design obstacles and strengths of the area. Afterwards, the design tools and project goals will be identified by designing and researching the design options. The different options will be then presented and discussed with the client and be adapted if necessary.
As mentioned before, I like to have the possibility of designing and searching for new design options that would bring people together and create new experiences that will help redefining the characters of spaces. I was really proud of myself when a small design of mine have been realized. It's a sense of pride to see to come to fruition your project you’ve been working on for a long period of time.
Are there any challenges you faced as young architect?
I started working for Tractebel during the pandemic and everything had to be done remotely. Fortunately, we adapted quickly and thanks to the many platforms provided by the office, we were able to exchange, communicate and work on projects from home.
Now that things are back to normal, working with my team in the office is much more exciting and fun because a lot of the things I'm responsible for depend on collective exchanges where I share my ideas. Face-to-face discussions are easier and more productive.
Another challenge for me was, as young architect, to find the confidence to speak out and to share my ideas with people that have more experience and knowledge than me. I also had to confront those who might have different opinions from mine and try to convince them of my ideas. Same thing in the other way, I also had to adapt myself and be open to other visions than mines.
What are your career plans for the future?
As a young worker, I have a thirst for learning and I would obviously love to evolve in what I do and learn from my colleagues, experience more, learn from my mistakes, carry out projects on my own and see their implementation.
Do you have any advice for people who want to pursue a career as Architect in Spatial Design?
You have to like versatility and moving around. The tasks are diverse: making plans, exchanging with partners, going on site, etc. The creative aspect is also very important: succeeding in projecting yourself, imagining the result starting from scratch, always being innovative and think about the environment. You also have to be organised to respect the budget and timing defined for each project.
I think it is very important to be committed and passionate about what you are doing, thanks to this, you will enjoy every single day of your work, and you’ll have fun!
But you also have to keep in mind that within this field, projects are very complex and might take long before being actually executed. Many parties are often involved in the decision process, sometimes more studies and time are required to meet all the requirements. Patience is key.
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