From Rabbit Houses to New Build Homes, Karoline’s Journey in Architecture
Karoline Koch recently joined our team as our new architectural assistant. Her lifelong love of architecture makes her the perfect fit for DGA, so we sat down with her to find out where this passion began and where she’s going to take it.
When did you first become interested in architecture?
I always knew I was going to be an architect. When I was little, my sisters and I would build dens to hide in, we would design Barbie houses, then houses for our rabbits and I would be constantly remodelling my own bedroom. I was always fascinated with buildings and creating spaces.
My dad’s an engineer and he would take me to building sites and his offices. The draftspeople would be there drawing on the big drawing boards. I loved watching them, sometimes I just sat there staring for hours.
When I was in school in Germany I would intern with architects, then for my BA I went to Leeds Metropolitan University. In September I’ll be going to South Bank University to start my Part 2.
What was it about DGA that made you want to work here?
I had three architectural jobs before this one and the level of the projects here is completely different: high end, detailed, beautiful design. DGA sprung out at me because of the lovely architectural designs they do, rather than just the standard rear extensions and loft conversions.
Another point was that they’re so organised. There’s a real regime here with their structure, it’s so organised. So I was like, yes, finally a bit of German efficiency!
What are your responsibilities at DGA?
I’m an architectural assistant, so I’m mostly helping out Philip with everything from feasibility, to planning, to working drawings, contract admin and so on.
I was thrown in the deep end in my first job so I’m used to taking projects through all the RIBA work stages. I’ve always been able to run my own jobs, now I just want to get fully qualified as well.
Why did you choose residential architecture over commercial?
It’s the one-to-one contact with clients. You get to know them and you form a relationship with them, it’s far more personal.
I’m also far more involved throughout the process. In big commercial practices, you’re just one person who always does just one thing. Here, I work on projects from the earliest sketches, through planning, construction and completion.
My favourite part is the working drawings, that’s when the actual architectural design comes together. You start thinking about how certain details can be realised, how materials work together and how the final outcome will look like in real life.
At the commercial places you never get to think about those details and get to actually realise one of your own designs.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My family enjoys sailing. Last year we went around the Caribbean and we’re currently planning our big trip for next year. They’re still in Germany but we’re all very close; my mum, dad and my two younger sisters.
In London I like to explore and learn about the city, go running and I enjoy long country or seaside walks with my boyfriend to escape the busy hustle and bustle of London, even though I love it here. Most of all I’m a social person, I need my group of friends with me.
At the moment I’m also planning to remodel and extend my own flat.
You’ll be your own client for a bit, perhaps the most difficult client there is!
Yes, it’s so difficult. How on earth do you choose one floor from a million floors? My decision making is awful! How do you know how much you should haggle on each product or service? It really makes me appreciate what our clients go through.
But even if it’s difficult, it’s still so exciting. All we need to do now is knock the first brick out and along we go.