Fiona graduates with a blueprint for a fine career

Fiona Thaddeus  is pictured receiving her prize from Bruce Ballance, president of  the ASA.
Fiona Thaddeus is pictured receiving her prize from Bruce Ballance, president of the ASA.

A St Andrews architecture graduate has won a prestigious industry award for the outstanding quality of her university work.

Fiona Thaddeus (24), who graduated earlier this year from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen was awarded the Aberdeen Society of Architects (ASA) Silver Medal at a special prize giving ceremony last week.

It was presented for her final year work on the design of a primary school and swimming pool set in the Old Aberdeen area of the city.

Fiona, a former Madras College pupil and who is now working for Edinburgh-based architecture firm Oberlanders, said: “I am thrilled and surprised to be awarded this medal - it is such a lovely way to end my university career.

“My final year project was for the design of a primary school and swimming pool, and this combined brief was one which struck me as being vitally important in contemporary culture.

“I took an approach to see the two elements of the building function as social facilitators pulling different social groups together in the one building, with an aim to reinstating a sense of community culture, which is so often lost in contemporary society.”

Bruce Ballance, president of ASA, judged the award alongside Catherine McKeown from BMJ Architects, and said: “Fiona’s project delivered a creative solution across a number of levels.

“The functional content of the building and the challenge of integrating a number of large volumes with smaller support spaces was achieved within a bold form.

“The simplicity of the circular form ensured the building provided a public face and facade to the surrounding context and sat surprisingly well with the adjacent St Machar Cathedral, while the level of detailed analysis and development of the scheme deserved to be recognised with the Silver Medal Award from the Aberdeen Society of Architects.”

Mr Ballance added: “The standard of work on show across the Final Year was again of a high standard and the students should all be proud of their achievements.”

In addition, Fiona was awarded the John B. Johnstone prize for the best overall student on the course and has had her work selected to go on display as part of the Royal Scottish Academy’s New Contemporary exhibition next year.

She says her interest in architecture arose from living in different countries when she was younger.

“What struck me was how vastly different the experiences were, and it was significantly through the architecture that I felt this,” she explained.

“I wanted to be a part of how places and buildings take form, and studying architecture was a natural decision.

“The RGU course has challenged me in the best ways, and has brought me confidence in my creative thinking.

The course structure worked well for me all the way through my time here, with its balance of artistic and technical qualities.”