Laying the Foundations for Future Architects at Worth School

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Last weekend, I visited the Worth School in Sussex to talk candidly with sixth formers about what it means to be an architect, how to become one and why they should.

Every architect is part of a legacy. We draw inspiration from thousands of years of construction to create buildings that, we hope, will do the same. It’s a legacy to which I owe a great debt, so I try to give back whenever I can.

I opened the talk with my own history. My father was a prolific architect – as a child I was enamoured by the glamour and respect I saw in his work. He would often find me at his desk, copying his drawings and dreaming up my own designs.

Many are intimidated by the required technical training but a creative spirit will pull you through it. My father wanted me to be an engineer but all the maths and science bored me without the opportunity to create.

It’s a spirit I believe people are born with. I was tremendously privileged to be exposed to architecture so early, which of course isn’t the case for most young people. By talking to the students at Worth, I hope I awoke that spirit in them as my father did for me.

As much as I wanted to inspire, I didn’t sugar coat the job. Becoming an architect requires three to four years of intense study for the initial degree, a year of work experience followed by a two year post-graduate course, then yet another year of work.

But the benefits are immense, satisfying and humbling.

As an architect, you produce some of the most significant human creations. Buildings are personal, cultural and historical expressions of how we live. It’s essential that we nurture the talent and ingenuity of the next generation.

In many ways, they are lucky. Modern architecture is riddled with challenges and this is only going to increase, but the minds that will solve them will have access to an unprecedented wealth of information. They’ll be more aware of their place in the legacy than anyone who came before.

The Worth presentation was just one of the ways we try and give back. We also offer work experience and internships for budding architects. Find out more by emailing [email protected].

By John Dyer-Grimes

About Worth School

Surrounded by 500 acres of pristine Sussex countryside, Worth School provides an environment of education, friendship and community for boys and girls from ages 11 to 18.

Guided by Benedictine principles, students are encouraged to discern their purpose in life and “to listen with the ear of the heart”, preparing them to be joyful, successful and to make a positive different to the world.

Find out more about Worth School at