Lynden Giles (BEDS'05, MArch'07)

Lynden-Giles_360x261Current Role: Architect, Conran and Partners (London, UK)

Grad Year: 2005, 2007

Degree: Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies, Master of Architecture

Nickname: Nothing that stuck.

Dalhousie Alumni Association: Why did you decide to attend Dal?

Lynden Giles: Both my parents are alumni and highly recommended Dal. The campus has a strong community feeling and world class teaching. Ultimately for me, Dal Architecture offered a well-balanced education between conceptual design, theory, and practice.

DAA: Where did you live while you were at Dal?

LG: I always lived off campus. For a while, I shared a large house on Bland Street full of creative people which was a fantastically inspiring place. For a long time, we had a screen printing studio set up on a Ping-Pong table in the front room. There was always something going on at all hours of the day and always something new being created. I remember it was close enough to Sobeys that you could put bacon in the pan, run out the door to buy eggs and get back before the bacon burned.

DAA: Favourite place to study while at Dal?

LG: There is dedicated studio space at Dal open to Architecture students 24/7, and it was always busy. With all the materials and tools available, and models and drawings piled throughout the space, it was the ideal place to work. Everyone worked well into the night, and it was in those late hours that the real genius happened. That was also the time when the best pranks were pulled.

DAA: Where could you be found most often on campus while you were at Dal?

LG: Just like the cliché, we worked hard and played hard. I spent long hours in the studio, followed by late nights letting off steam. It’s amazing what a pint or two can do for a creative block.

DAA: What was your biggest distraction while you were at Dal?

LG: I used to teach freestyle skiing at Martock which was a great distraction. In the summer it was all about rock climbing and mountain biking and in the fall, I played for Dal rugby. At the same time I was running a web design company which became too successful, and I had to sell to dedicate more time to my studies.

DAA: What was your favourite cafeteria food on campus?

LG: On Upper Campus, Manchu Wok. Then I graduated to Rogues Roost and finally Tom’s Little Havana.

DAA: What is your favourite Dalhousie memory?

LG: I guess my most and least favourite memory would be graduation. On one hand, I built some incredible friendships with both the students and professors and it was hard to say goodbye. On the other hand, it was the culmination of a lot of hard work and the prospect of things to come.

DAA: How did your Dal experience prepare you for your current role?

LG: Somewhat unique to Dal’s architecture program are the work-terms and the free-lab sessions. Having practical experience when leaving university placed me in a better position than other recent graduates; finding better jobs, quicker. It has allowed me and my fellow graduates to find some amazing jobs, travel to some exceptional places and see and do some incredible things.

The free-lab sessions are an extension of the summer term, which allow student groups to design and build a project, gaining practical experience. We built some beautiful award-winning projects during those sessions that are still in my portfolio today.

DAA: What do you see as the best thing about being a Dal alumnus?

LG: A lot of the graduates have very strong ties to their departments and are welcomed back to get involved with the next generation. For example, many of the free-lab sessions are run by alumni that have returned to share the skills they’ve acquired. I plan on getting involved myself.

DAA: Do you have any words of wisdom for current Dal students – something you wish you had known when you were a student?

LG: Work experience. When you have had a chance to put what you learned in school into practice, employers recognise that, and it makes it easier to get hired by the right people after graduation. It also gives you a chance to travel, experience new things and cultivate your education.

I’d like to end with a note about how the friends you make will be with you forever. I am constantly surprised how often these days I reunite with someone I haven’t seen since graduation. Sometimes it’s someone I haven’t spoken with for seven or eight years. But, the moments you share at Dal make it seem like it was only yesterday that you were staying up all night at CKDU, eating donairs and waiting for your slot to start.