I set my mind on first class from day one, worked hard, achieved it – Ogundare, CU architecture graduate


imageFaith Ogundare, who studied Architecture at Covenant University and graduated with first class honours, speaks to TOLUWALOPE KAREEM about her academic feat Would you say it was easy having a first class in Architecture? Getting a first class in Architecture required a lot of work; so I won’t say it was easy.It required me making a lot of sacrifices, especially with the fact that I had to unlearn and relearn a whole lot of things.I initially was very focused on architecture as science from my secondary school.However, I soon realised it had an art part which I then had to develop.However, having my support system – family, friends – made the journey easier.

Did you set out to have a first class or was it just by providence? I entered school with the mindset of graduating with a first class.

I was aware of the work it required, so I knew work was necessary to achieve it.I worked for it and I achieved my goal.What was the particular thing that attracted you to Architecture? I remember the first home I ever built was a snail house my friends and I did during the holidays at age seven.We found Peak milk tins and put some vegetables in it.

I had then suggested we add windows so they could breathe and I was quite heartbroken the next day when I realised that all our snails had escaped.This experience, I believe, was one of my first direct interactions with design.I also really loved the house I grew up in.During my secondary school, I was the best student in technical drawing in my class and I actually enjoyed the class.All these factors are things I believe influenced my attraction to Architecture.

Could you highlight your experience studying the course? Architecture anywhere is quite a crazy course.I literally had to work 90 per cent of the time.Having a social life was almost impossible.

You have to go out of your way to create a social circle outside Architecture students, so you mostly see Architecture students in packs.A lot of the lecturers were very helpful and open.

Majority had an open-door policy which meant you could ask any questions as they arise.

It is one thing to have questions and another thing to have someone answering them.Most of my lecturers wanted to be lecturers.This made it easier for them to impart knowledge and make impacts.Jury was the day! The day you splurge on chicken and chips and sleep properly for the first time since the semester started.

Jury is the panel submission of the semester’s project and was the main determinant of the Architecture student’s mental health.Any bad reactions to your design on Jury Day meant an extra year.Design is quite subjective and so there’s always someone with a better design.The splurge at the end of the day was more like our “I cannot comman kill myself” moment.I also had a support system in the form of family and friends.

I remember a day I was so frustrated I was crying.I had to call my (secondary) school father, Patrick Nwafor, that day and after just talking about my doubts in myself, how I felt other people were doing a lot and my challenges with painting, etc.I actually felt better.So having a support system was very important for me.Architecture is generally very interesting but also challenging.

I had people in my class whose parents forced them to study the course.I don’t think anyone should be forced to study any course, especially not Architecture because the person will just be sad and unhappy.This will also affect the student’s ability to be productive due to a lack of interest.I enjoyed the classes, the creative design process, the creating solutions for the environment and all of it only because I was actually interested in the course itself.Would you like to practise the profession or you have interest in other things? I intend to practise.

I am committed to achieving sustainability through design and materials to achieve an improved and much-evolved lifestyle for humans.It appears there are more men in this field than women.

What was your experience among the guys in your class? The guys knew we were better than most of them (laughs).Honestly, it was just a normal experience.

Have you always had this kind of excellent performance before university? Not necessarily.

My academic excellence started in Primary 4 or thereabouts.Prior to that, I used to come 23rd or 25th in a class of 26 but I was very involved in debates and all.Then I started reading and started coming first all through primary school to secondary.

I attended Baptist Model High School for my junior school and had the best result in the whole of Lagos State.I graduated with straight A’s and went to Command Secondary School, Ipaja and also graduated as the Best Student in Technology.Many Architecture students spend most of their time in the studio, how was the experience for you? It was quite a lovely experience, all the Architecture students were mostly working and so we had this sense of family kind of relationship, compared to students in other courses.What was your typical day like in school? I spent most of my day in the studio.So, typically, I got to class around 8am for lectures, which would last till around 3pm.I worked in the studios till 7pm, and then went to the hostel to decompress for the day and do other things.Were there times you slept in the studio? No, I had a drawing board in my room; so, sleeping to work in the studio wasn’t a part of my life.Was there any pressure from your male colleagues? I wouldn’t say I was pressured by my male colleagues.

How sociable were you in school? I started a business in my second year and ran for the financial secretary of our association in my third year and so I had to develop a social life.I had friends from other departments and tried to be involved in social programmes as much as possible.Which of the architectural masterpieces around the world do you find inspiring? I have quite a lot so there’s not necessarily a favourite.I love the Pyramids, The Hagias Sophia, Falling Waters, the Makoko School, the Coliseum, some GT Bank offices, The Civic Centre, to name a few.

To me, they’re all masterpieces and I honestly can’t name one as a favorite because each has a specific meaning that makes it unique.The kind of design we have here is quite different from what we have in other countries.Why do we have such lavish structures? Generally, it is very expensive to build anywhere in the world.The costs however vary depending on the project.I would perhaps say the reason we may perceive buildings to be expensive is because some people travel, see something and then want to replicate the same thing here.

In trying to adapt the building to our climate, we incur more cost as compared to creating a structure that is fitting for the climate from the scratch.However, I honestly think one’s home is one of the most important investments a person will ever make in life, except the rich that can invest in a yacht, buy an island, etc.I think over time, building costs will reduce as the industry itself improves.What are your aspirations in life? On the top of my life aspirations is to work with people to create a nation that works.I plan to work with people in communities in Nigeria to raise agents of change which would, in turn, transform the nation and collectively achieve the system that we desire.I also hope to influence the architecture space in Nigeria.I have an interest in materials – how building materials influence the environment, sustainability etc.

So, my aspiration is to bring all these together to create impacts wherever I find myself and by extension, the world.What is your advice to students aiming for first class honours like you? My advice to students is to take things one day at a time.They should dedicate at least an hour a day to that final year project and it will be ready for submission.We tend to leave things till the last minute and this hurts our work most of the time.I say we should dare to dream, remain students of life and cultivate a mindset of positivity.

What do you feel about the advent of AutoCAD unlike the days of manual drawing? AutoCAD has definitely made the profession easier.

New tools like Revit help to simulate the building in the environment before any construction even starts.This has made building way easier and also reduces the margin of errors.Copyright PUNCH All rights reserved.This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.Contact: [[email protected]](/cdn-cgi/l/email-protection#baced2dfdfded3ced5c8facacfd4d9d2d4dd94d9d5d7).

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