HomeArchitectureTom McAviney

Tom McAviney

Architect – 9X5 Architects 

What does a typical day look like for you? 

I begin my day by cycling with my 4yr old son to his school and then along the railway walk to my workspace at DJX (St.Brelade). In the morning I try and get all my admin, meetings and emails done. This leaves the afternoon free for design work. This can be sketching, hand drawing, card modelling, CAD design, or technical drawing. I then pick up my son and do something fun, like go to the skatepark. 

How did you get your job? / What training, degree, education do you need? 

I am a qualified architect. The training for this typically involves 3 years at university, 1 year work placement, a further 2 years of full time study followed by a final placement and professional exams. People often focus on the fact it is 7 years in total but most of my friends in other professions are still doing various exams years into the career so don’t let that put you off.  

What are the most important skills needed for your role/job? 

Creativity, curiosity, communication, and the ability to listen to other people’s ideas, opinions, and suggestions to then incorporate them into your own work. 

Are there any future skills you will need to learn for your role? 

There’s always lots of skills that you could learn at every stage of your career. Graphic representation skills in particular on tablets and VR headsets are becoming a lot more user friendly and accessible. There is also a wealth of free knowledge online with YouTube channels providing detailed tutorials.

What is the best part of your job? / What motivates you in this role?

Working with clients who have a similar life outlook or purpose and want to create positive change through design. For example, I am currently working with a local charity who want to convert a church into a skatepark, a charity in Liberia (Africa) who want to build a Surfing Eco-tourism centre and private clients who want to improve the design and energy efficiency of their homes.

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in your profession? 

Gain as much work experience as you can in as wide a range of practices and locations as possible. Visit and explore as many cities as you can. Working on site is equally important as you gain an understanding of how things are built, and by who. Whilst at university I worked on several building sites in Jersey and with local trades such as kitchen fitters. 

Who inspires you and why? 

This is a constantly evolving mix but generally anyone in any field with passion and energy who get projects up and running.

Individuals like Samuel Mockbee of Rural Studio, Architectural studios like Article 25 & Caukin Studio who are building education/healthcare projects in poor countries and finally my old design tutor Paola Sassi who was dedicated to Sustainable design long before it was mainstream!

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