The content of the course is consistently rich, relevant and engaging

Ella MacLeod
Ella MacLeod
Part 1 Architectural Assistant at Hawkins\Brown Architects
BA Architecture and Landscape
2019
Ella had a passion for both Art & Design, Geography and learning about the relationships between people and their environments. Since studying Architecture and Landscape her desire to combine creativity with practicality and problem-solving has been fulfilled.
Ella MacLeod

Why did you decide to study this course?

Before applying to university, I struggled to decide whether to study Art or Design, in the knowledge that I also enjoyed Geography and learning about the relationships between people and their environments. After discovering the dual course at Sheffield, my progression into studying Architecture and Landscape seemed natural as it fulfilled my desire to combine creativity with practicality and problem-solving.

As a prospective student, I was impressed by the studio spaces in the Arts Tower and their expansive views across the city. Having never studied Architecture before, it felt like an inspiring place to learn about the built environment for the first time!

What have you enjoyed about the course?

I have enjoyed being part of a school where there is an emphasis on interdisciplinary working and having a collaborative approach. On the dual course, this is particularly special as everyone's opinion is valued and dialogue is encouraged across all years, most notably in the annual Design Charrette which takes place every November. For me, the event exemplifies Sheffield's lively studio culture and this sense of unity between the dual students helped me feel supported throughout my degree.

The academic staff were also incredibly helpful, willing to go the extra mile to make sure we were taken care of. Many of the tutors are award-winning designers in their own right, involved in cutting-edge projects to transform urban areas in Sheffield and further afield. Consequently, the content of the course is consistently rich, relevant, and engaging.

What skills have you gained while studying in Sheffield?

Studying the course has increased my interest in design and has helped me develop a strong set of creative skills, in particular - graphical representation and model making. Like any degree, the course had its challenges, but learning to overcome them has made me a more resilient and self-motivated individual, developing my confidence as a young designer.


Studying at Sheffield has taught me that having a collaborative approach is fundamental and that the most honest way of producing architecture is through idea-sharing - resulting in designs that are thoroughly tested, critiqued, and challenged throughout the development process.

Ella MacLeod

BA Architecture and Landscape


Did you get involved in any extra-curricular activities, societies or groups? 

At Sheffield, the Students’ Union offers lots of fantastic opportunities to keep up hobbies or try something completely new. I maintained a healthy work/life balance by keeping active with the Canoe Club, volunteering with The Scouts, and even tried my hand at governance when I became the Councillor for Architecture on the Students’ Union Council. Inspired by this experience, I followed this interest further, and more recently I was elected as a Trustee to the National Board of The Scout Association. I attribute this achievement to the more interpersonal skills that I gained on the course.

During my first year, I was fortunate enough to secure a placement at BDP through a contact I made in the studio. I continued to work for the practice intermittently throughout my time in Sheffield, helping on a selection of projects spanning the healthcare and heritage sectors. This included working with the Restoration and Renewal team on the Palace of Westminster. I found this experience an invaluable insight into ‘real world’ architecture and it enabled me to develop skills that helped towards the completion of my degree.

How has your experience helped you in your career?

It’s worth noting that this course is the only one in the country accredited by both the Landscape Institute (LI) the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), so if you're after value for money, look no further! The course is essentially two degrees in one, and this dual educational experience provides graduates with a professionalism and design flair that is highly desirable to employers, setting them apart from others.

How has studying at Sheffield informed the way you think about architecture?

Studying at Sheffield has taught me that having a collaborative approach is fundamental and that the most honest way of producing architecture is through idea-sharing - resulting in designs that are thoroughly tested, critiqued, and challenged throughout the development process.

Having been involved with both courses I’ve been able to develop a holistic approach to design, one that means I can view a scheme cohesively rather than as two separate entities - a building and a landscape. This makes me feel suitably prepared for a career in an environment that is becoming increasingly more conscious of climate change and sustainability.

What are your career aspirations?

I’ve recently secured a placement as a Part 1 Architectural Assistant at Hawkins\Brown and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into studio-life as well as exploring my new home in Manchester. The architecture practice shares similar values of social responsibility taught in Sheffield, and so I aim to use the year as a platform to develop my design approach in a way that encourages me to think more deeply about people and society.

Looking towards the future, I aspire to return to Sheffield to complete my masters degree and eventually seek accreditation in both disciplines.

What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?

It’s impossible to choose just one thing! It’s either the array of cozy pubs, independent businesses or that it’s full of friendly Yorkshire folk - Sheffield has it all.

What advice would you give to a new Sheffield student?

Away from the Arts Tower, Sheffield is a dynamic city that makes for a rich learning and research environment - something that you will discover as you work through each project. I would encourage anybody coming to study here to get out and explore what The Seven Hills have to offer as well as visiting the Peak District, which is right on your doorstep. Visiting Sheffield also comes hand in hand with having a pie at The Notty House - make sure to add this to your bucket list!

Example of Ella's work:

Ella MacLeod work
Ella MacLeod work

After completing her year of practical work experience at Hawkins\Brown, Ella has returned to Sheffield to start her MArch Architecture and Landscape Architecture degree.

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