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Interview Learning

Meet the Graduate Panel: Phillip Bigger


Established in 2021, the IAF Graduate Panel offers a discursive and collaborative space to share ideas and an opportunity to link with the IAF’s core programme.

Meet Phillip Bigger, architectural graduate at McCullough Mulvin Architects.


Tell us about the work you’re currently involved in.

I am an architectural graduate working at McCullough Mulvin Architects in Dublin. The projects I work on are predominantly in the public sector. These projects span conservation, projects of civic and cultural importance, and education. Since joining McCullough Mulvin, I have been involved in a number of school projects, which I have found particularly rewarding as I get to see first hand how architecture has the possibility of shaping the minds of tomorrow.


What drew you to a career in architecture? What are your aspirations?

From a young age I knew I wanted to become an architect. I was supported in my pursuit by mentors along the way who helped foster my curiosity. While well progressed along this journey, my aspirations are not yet set in stone. I think part of the excitement of practicing architecture is that things are constantly in flux. There is not time for complacency. I am still formulating how I want to progress in my career, but for the time being I want to continue what I started many years ago, by absorbing as much information as possible!


Why did you decide to join the IAF Graduate Panel? What are your expectations?

I joined the IAF Graduate Panel to meet new people who all have a shared passion for architecture but might bring a slightly different perspective to the practice. By bringing together a diverse group of young professionals and students, the IAF are fostering a sense of community in a field that sometimes puts emphasis on the individual rather than the collective.


What area of architectural practice are you most interested in and hoping to further develop your career in?

I am interested in the interface between buildings and people, learning how people adapt to a space or make a space adapt to them. I think understanding human nature is foundational to the practice of architecture, as what we design has a direct impact on our interactions. I am lucky enough that through my work I have been able to gain some first-hand experience through civic, cultural and educational projects, all of which rely on understanding and learning from these relationships.


Tell us about your favourite contemporary Irish building, or contemporary building designed by an Irish architect(s).

A while ago I was able to visit the GMIT Furniture College in Letterfrack by O’Donnell + Tuomey. The adaptation of typical agrarian forms creates a project that is not only bound to its context but also its use. The project shares a site with a nineteenth-century institutional building which is brought back to life as part of a centre for creativity, education, and freedom of expression, while not detracting from the surrounding scenery.