5th July 2021

Year 5 Computing – Architect Visit

Year 5 Computing – Architect Visit

We arranged the session linked to our computing topic ‘We Are Architects’ and wanted the children to have the chance to hear about what an architect really does, how they problem solve, what considerations they have when building a gallery and to inspire and broaden future career ideas. Matthew Whittaker is co-founder of the firm Whittaker Parsons.


Matthew has worked for a host of highly acclaimed architectural practices in the UK and abroad, such as Maccreanor Lavington Architects, Caruso St John Architects and Seung H Sang, in South Korea. Matthew was an Associate at Jamie Fobert Architects, where he worked on a range of projects from private houses, high-end retail schemes and the refurbishment to Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. Most notably, Matthew led the £20million extension to the Tate, St. Ives, which won the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 and was shortlisted for the RIBA Sterling Prize 2018.


Matthew discussed his role as an architect with the children and how every project starts with ‘What is the problem?’ and how it is his job to solve this within the budget of a client.


As the children are designing galleries, Matthew focused on the Tate project he led. From early ideas, to excavation, layout and design. He encouraged the children to think that galleries had two users: the public and the artwork. One wants bright lighting and space and the other needs dark and quiet.  


Matthew discussed the local art community, which developed in Cornwall after WWII and shared work of artists which inspired many fine details, such as Bernard Leech’s pottery and the tiles he chose to reflect the light of the coast.


The children had the opportunity to ask a plethora of questions, building on their knowledge from across the curriculum, such as the impact of coastal erosion on a build that close to the sea. There was lots of good discussions about space and lighting and we hope the children will take some of this knowledge into their final SketchUp designs this term.