Finally. This is the first time I have had to sit down and write this blog since I arrived in China in September. It was with great joy I opened the email from RIBA Education earlier this summer, informing me that I had jointly won the RIBA Boyd Auger Scholarship 2009. The funding from this enabled me to take up my place as a RIBA Part I intern in the Shenzhen office of Ove Arup & Partners.

This came at the end of a hectic three months of interviews, applications and and inductions. I’m combining the award with a British and Chinese government programme – the UK China Graduate Work Experience Programme. Essentially this means that I get free Mandarin language lessons and support from Shenzhen University (and we even got to study at China’s premier university Tsinghua in Beijing for a couple of weeks).

I’m here in the city of Shenzhen in southern China with three engineers, all working for Arup. It’s a real boom town on the border with the ‘Special Autonomous Region’ of Hong Kong – but it feels like a world away. This is very much mainland China.

I was asked to write a blog following my experiences in practice here in China. I’m only now, however, getting round to doing this. I have never been so busy in my life. It is my intention from this point to try to give an insight into real working practices and to describe the good and bad points of life here. Hopefully, this will be of some use to graduates considering coming out here for work experience in the current economic climate.

So a little about me. I’m James. I graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2008 and didn’t fancy immediately going into practice. Instead I spent the summer studying at university in China and travelling the north west of this massive country. I then enrolled on the MSc in Construction Economics and Management at the Bartlett, UCL. And then… came here.

So. I promise that there will be much more to come. In fact I might start another post right now! ‘Till then.

About James Patterson-Waterston
I was a joint winner of the 2009 RIBA Boyd Auger Scholarship allowing me to work as an Architectural Assistant for Ove Arup & Partners in Shenzhen, China. This placement constitutes my post Part 1 professional experience. I work alongside a team consisting of Chinese-registered architects and engineers in the design process of large transport infrastructure and commercial projects throughout China nd Hong Kong. I hold a First Class Honours degree in Architecture from the University of Liverpool and I am currently studying towards an MSc in Construction Economics and Management at the Bartlett, UCL. I have also studied at the Technical University of Lodz in Poland (Politechnika Lodzka) and both Tsinghua and Zhejiang Universities in Beijing and Hangzhou, China respectively. I am a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and a member of the Royal Society of Asian Affairs.

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1 Comment
  1. Margot Auger

    January 9, 2010

    Dear James,

    I am delighed to learn about your experiences and blog. I feel that my late husband Boyd is proud to contribute and inspire architects lake you. Best of luck,


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