Alexia finds her passion in architecture

Alexia Baikie moved to Melbourne from Launceston to study the Bachelor of Environments and stayed on for the Master of Architecture. We caught up with Alexia to hear about her studies, her passion for health care and education architecture, and her hopes for the future.

If you're a future student, you can speak to us at upcoming events, including one-on-one consultations in Tasmania on May 18.

Which degree are you studying at Melbourne School of Design?

I'm studying the Master of Architecture. I wanted to pursue a career that engaged with my interests in creativity, art, sociology and protecting our natural environment. Studying architecture has allowed me to develop and engage with my passion for art and design, learn theories in spatial environments and adapt them into my design projects. It has been balanced with the in-depth study of historical architecture, applied technologies and constructional practices. I find the discipline is very versatile. When you study design you have the chance to create in a range of areas and through different ways of expression within our environment.

What was your favourite subject in the program to date?

In the Master of Architecture, it was Innovative Spaces and Pedagogy. I enjoyed the collaborative side of subject learning and working alongside Master of Education students. The site visits, analysis of space and the assignment structure allowed me to excel and learn in great detail about the process of design for education buildings.

In the Bachelor of Environments, my favourite subject was Human Behaviour and Environment in the School of Geography. This elective is an eye-opener into the environmental psychology field, and how and why humans inhabit certain spaces. I still use the research to influence my designing and research projects within my masters degree today.

What are planning to do when you have completed your studies?

I hope for my design career to be a continuous learning experience, where I hold the same passion I have for architecture now. I am hoping to use my passion for health care and education architecture and create spaces that promote wellbeing for both the inhabitants and the environment. I have a particular interest in environmental psychology and sustainable design, and I'm excited to study this further in my studio thesis.

What advice do you have for students thinking of studying at Melbourne School of Design?

A quote by Robert Swan, a polar explorer and environmentalist: “the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Based on this, my advice is to be involved in the shaping of your future. Studying provides you with so many learning opportunities, information and chances to engage in everyday topics in the wider community. Be passionate about what you are designing and presenting in studios. It will show to the audience, you will get a lot more out of the subject and it will make your degree more enjoyable.

Extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities add so much value to your degree and provide a great opportunity to meet industry professionals to hear about their work and experiences.

What trends do you see being important to the future of our built environments? What do you hope built environment professionals will achieve?

In my opinion, the most important trend in the future of the built environment involves technological opportunities and mixed-disciplinary approaches. A mixed-disciplinary professional approach allows for critical thinking on how the built environment develops. While the biggest threat to the built environment is itself, the move towards a more environmentally sustainable approach is imperative. I hope the future of built environments can explore, discover and adapt its approaches to provide communities with homes and spaces that can be enjoyed while also considering the natural environment, the entire urban plan, and the inclusion of all humans and the longevity of our species.

What’s your favourite place on campus?

I love the Wednesday farmers market. Food stalls, coffee and organic green grocers set up just outside Melbourne School of Design for a couple of hours and provide everyone with lunch. Don’t miss out on getting a Very Good Falafel, I know the line is long, but it will be worth it! You can even get some strawberries while you wait – they are 10/10!

What would you like people to know about architecture?

Architects play an influential part in society; they can shape the spaces we use and interact with every day and how we feel. I believe architecture has the special privilege and opportunity to design spaces for people, where they can form connections, build communities and provide the backdrop to someone’s memories. I believe good design has the ability to improve a person’s wellbeing and health, allowing them to be more engaged and happy within a space. I believe the difference between architecture and great architecture is what we do with this opportunity.

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