Architect-in-training sees national lockdown as a new opportunity to educate and engage.
Nadia Everard is certainly one to watch. Like many young architects, Nadia is the product of an educational system that she claims “gave very little attention” to traditional architecture. However, despite the odds, Nadia is now tutoring her contemporaries and other aspiring architects to be and has set up a successful forum in which enthusiasts and students can discuss and attempt to resolve issues relating to the built environment in their local area.
Nadia graduated from the Sir John Cass School of Art and Architecture in 2018 with a Masters in Art and Architecture. In July 2019, she attended the Engelsberg Summer School in Classical Architecture, where she met architects, teachers and students who shared her passion for classicism. It was here that she was able to learn in more detail about the classical architectural language and how to apply these principles to contemporary projects of her own.
After Engelsberg, Nadia went on to finish her studies, graduating in Architecture at the Cass in June 2020. Though aware that her university tutors were not inclined to support her desire to practice traditional architecture, for the first time in her studies, Nadia says she “felt free” and had the confidence and conviction to continue with her final project.
“I finally took pleasure in drawing after Engelsberg. During my final year, I mostly worked by myself, using books and taking inspiration from the traditional architecture in London. I decided that my final assignment was more about the process than achieving a perfect outcome. I enjoyed using the traditional canon and applying this poetic living language of expression in my project. I also came to the realisation that I am, and always will be, in the process of learning, which was really satisfying.“
Since graduating, like the rest of us, Nadia was faced with the peculiarities of lockdown and working from home. She quite quickly became aware that she could use the increase in virtual communications in this global pandemic to her advantage. Through online platforms and her Instagram account, Nadia has gone on to inspire many others and she has started educational initiatives of her own, balancing her job with running a forum that is dedicated to educating students interested in traditional architecture.
This forum, La Table Ronde, is a group where young enthusiasts and professionals discuss issues pertaining to the built environment in Belgium, focusing on topics such as sustainability, beauty, well-being, harmony between architecture and nature: all looking to change prevailing attitudes in Brussels that favour modernist design.
Nadia has also been teaching a more intense course in traditional architecture to five select students throughout August. This course involved much observational drawing, walking tours, sketching and online seminars: all carried out safely in her local area.
La Table Ronde hopes to continue to organise educational activities during the coming year, such as:
– individual or group classes in urban planning, architecture and contemporary traditional construction
– training courses in traditional construction for Belgian artisans and companies
– study visits to Brussels and beyond and visits to stone careers, artisans workshops, architectural offices
– conferences, talks and public actions
– movie, documentary, videos and podcasts
– eventually another summer school of traditional architecture in Brussels