What`s next? A guide to an architectural career.


10JUL 2015
# TITLE: What`s next? A guide to an architectural career.

Artemis Sierra studied architecture at the University of Thessaly (UTH). Since 2013 she has been undertaking various creative projects in the fields of architecture, scenography and graphic design. Currently, she is attending a Postgraduate Program in Architectural Design (NTUA) where her research interests concern the production of space through collective processes.

#1. Describe your architectural background with a few words.

During my studies at UTH I was pushed to wonder about the way in which architecture relates to a huge range of creative practices, to experiment with different ways to represent an idea and to dare unconventional design approaches. In the end, it was obvious that I could expand the creative field where I could possibly work in the future. I also participated in various workshops both in Greece and abroad which led to further collaborations and friendships. Erasmus Program gave me the chance to attend classes at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura y Géodesia - Universidad de Alcalá de Hénares in Madrid where I got familiar with different approaches in architecture and urban design and new ways of representation. Afterwards, I worked as an Intern in an architecture office in Athens and later I travelled to Lisbon (Portugal) to work for ateliermob, a local architecture firm where I met very interesting and active people.

Looking back I realize that both my Undergraduate Thesis concerning in-between spaces, supervised by Lois Papadopoulos and my Diploma Project titled `The Suspension of Disrepair – Inhabiting over ancient ruins`, supervised by Aristide Antonas, dealt with issues like public space and social space. My research interests still follow the same directions, currently focusing on the production of space through collective processes.

#2. After your graduation, how did you make up your mind on your next step it? What was it about?

I often think my studies in architecture as a prism that disperses the light in different colors. Surprisingly, I realize that since I graduated I deal constantly with a big variety of projects, but mainly with architectural projects and competitions, scenography and graphic design. Not to mention my M.Arch research part of which I presented at the 9th Global Conference: Visual Aspects of Perfomance Practice last November in Prague. The title of the announcement was `In Pursuit of the Social in Site-Specific Performance` .

Right after my graduation I joined 1ID architects team  and we were awarded with a 1st prize in the Athens Heart Design Award Competition and a 2nd prize for the design of a Natural Stone Wall Radiator. At the same time I started a collaboration with Porphyra Publications, which was a fertile ground to develop my skills in graphic design and visual communication.

Regarding scenography, at UTH I had the chance to attend a scenography course with set-designer Eva Manidaki. I was fascinated by the creative way we approached the play. So when I returned to Athens, the nice memory of that course along with my general interest for the theater, made ​​me search for other scenography seminars. I attended one by set designer & artist Katerina-Christina Manolakou with who I share since then both professional collaborations and friendship. We have worked together for three theatrical plays (What Men Live By by Leon Tolstoy, Garden Ashes: Experience of the Performance and Brothers Karamazov: Experience of the Reading by Elias Kounelas) of which the last two were presented at the Athens Festival in 2013 and 2014. We also worked together for the short film Medea Melea,directed by Ch. Karabelas, presented first at the Festival of Drama (2014) and then at the Cannes Film Festival (2015).

#3. What were the difficulties you encountered and the opportunities that came along with your choices?

Thinking about the things I`ve done, I honestly believe that opportunity is the other side of difficulty! In this short route until now I have learned to look for creativity in redefining and managing difficulties, restrictions, challenging parameters and insuperable obstacles. Inside all these there is an opportunity to transcend the limits, to derive the maximum, to take nothing for granted, to close your eyes enjoy the headwind and be creative! But also generally speaking, I think that responsibility, good will and smile is an effective triptych to overcome difficulties and to welcome new opportunities!

#4. What is your current occupation and in what way is it an asset to your professional life?

Is it close to what you imagined architectural practice to be? Currently I am working on set design proposals for three performances that will be presented next winter in BIOS and Michael Cacoyannis Foundation. I am also working on a small renovation project that will be completed in autumn and at the same time I design corporate identities, book covers and advertisements. I have a shortage of free time and a surplus of creation requirements, but I feel satisfied, happy and optimistic! Whereas previously I wished to settle down to a single creative field and to give all my energy to that, I realize now that this is practically impossible for me. First, because none of these areas is sufficiently lucrative during this period and secondly, because I have learned how to manoeuvre in the space between them and to use their common denominators. I realize that these parallel routes more and more converge rather than diverge and actually I am thinking about bringing even more different areas in the game!

#5. What piece of advice would you give to someone that would like to follow your steps?

I sincerely believe in the endless energy and creativity of the people around us and this constitutes for me a great inspiration. So, I would say to let ourselves enjoy an unpredictable dérive that will bring us closer to other people, groups, landscapes, cultures, new means ​​and ideas. Let`s give ourselves some space to grow in their own personal way and find people to talk to, to work and dream with. At last, I would say: Never stop seeking challenges!


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