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Claire Bouchard

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About me My name is Claire Bouchard. I am 24 years old and live in Esch-surAlzette, Luxembourg. This year I graduated from the “Université catholique de Louvain” faculty of architecture, Campus LOCI in Brussels-Saint-Gilles, Belgium. Shortly, I will start at an architecture agency and enter the job world. In my free time, I like some quiet time to myself and enjoy staying indoors to watch a movie or listen to music. I also like a good talk with friends and going out to grab a coffee. Moreover, I love sketching portraits, buildings and landscapes.

On my journey of 5 years as an architecture student, I gained a great amount of knowledge and learned a lot about myself. In fact, starting university in a foreign country was a unusual experience for me. Not only did I have to adapt to the new country and learn to live on my own but I also had to integrate the university life. The first years were quite tough for me as I had to learn how to organize myself so I could manage to revise all my subjects and work for the architectural project itself without falling behind classes. Working on the project was very time-consuming so that there was barely any time left to work on the rest of the classes.

This said, I will now explain how the university functioned. We had quite dense schedule and one day of the week was dedicated to the architectural workshops. The workshops, such as most of the classes, were divided into groups. At the beginning of each project, the professors handed to us a detailed program of the project specifying the amount of square meters of every required space. We then continued by visiting the projects area and started the site measurements and analysis in groups. On site, we took some photos and elaborated the first site drawings (plan, section, elevations). Then we returned to the workshop where we continued to research history and develop opportunities of the projects area. In the next phase, everyone was on its own again and had to come up with the first drafts of the location and aspect possibilities of the project. These could be shown in drawing but also (often the preferred version) in architecture models. Once the vast idea was validated, we could proceed with the more detailed version of the project.

Each year was composed of two to three projects with different complexity levels and timings. The first one was usually the smallest and took the least amount of time, that’s why it also carried a smaller grade. In my five years’ experience I created all kinds of projects such as houses, residences, public baths, a pavilion and a fire station.

Apart from the workshops we had other more practical classes teaching us how to draw by hand but also how to use the different programs such as AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Sketchup and Photoshop. The theoretical classes were mostly based on existing projects analysis and structural engineering courses. All in all, it was a great time and I learned quite fast how to manage the pressure but most importantly how to get better at drawing, using programs and, above all, responding to the extensive variety of aspects required for a successful contemporary architecture.

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