Written by Jacob Coles, Saltash.net, RIO work experience student

From a young age I have always been interested in buildings and their architecture, and this interest has made me want to do my work experience with something that interested me. This is why I have decided to come to RIO (Real Ideas Organisation) to take the opportunity to experience architecture for myself.

I have been given the chance to visit RIO’s latest project the Market Hall which is undergoing restoration to be turned into a digital centre for arts, community activities, enterprise and visitors. With funding now secured the build should begin soon. Not only will the Market Hall provide a new asset to the community, it will also create new office spaces, lab and teaching spaces for surrounding schools and colleges.  I was given the chance on my first day of work experience to go and have a look at the Market Hall. The building interested me as someone who is interested in architecture because of the difference in building structure compared to the surrounding buildings; the Market Hall offers a different aspect to the community which it sits in. Its very industrial architecture brings together old and new and gives a reminder to the community that its history should not be forgotten. Overall the Market Hall gives young architects like me a different look on historical architecture in a local area with a range of history aspects linked to the community.

I was also given the opportunity to visit the Column whist working with RIO throughout my time at my work experience placement. The Column originally was built to symbolise turning Devonport Docks into Devonport as a separate town.  This was due to the Devonport Docks population actually out growing the town we know today as Plymouth. To reflect the town’s importance they petitioned to King George IV to have the name of the area changed to Devonport. You can see the effect this had on the architecture at the time because of things like the Column. The Column was granted in 1824 and the architect Foulston was commissioned to build the Devonport Column as part of the movement of Devonport becoming its own independent town.

As a young person who is interested in architecture, the Column offered a great opportunity to look at how architecture has changed in the last 200 years.  It opened up my eyes into how someone had combined a movement at a time in history and put it into an architectural structure that is still magnificent in the 21st century. I was interested in the column’s link to Egyptian architecture and where that inspiration came from as it is a significant part in Plymouth’s step forward in architecture at the time.

From my experience with working with RIO and getting the opportunity to visit some of Plymouth’s historical architecture it has opened my eyes to what different architecture there is the local area and the history and building structure behind it.