Ryder Bursary 2017 Winner

Lara Bandoni, winner of the 2017 Ryder Bursary, discusses what the accolade means to her. 

The Ryder bursary was introduced in 1999.  Over the years, Ryder have invested £200,000 supporting over 20 students during their full time studies.  Following a successful bursary, students are offered a two year development contract for graduates to achieve their professional qualifications.  The scope and commitment provided by the Ryder bursary has few equals in supporting architectural education and the profession.

This year, the award was presented to Lara Bandoni.  After joining Al Forbes’ team in Glasgow as a part one assistant, Lara took part in the Erasmus exchange programme, where she spent one semester at the Czech Technical University in Prague and was awarded the GIA student award in her second year of studies.  

I first joined Ryder over the summer between my second and third year of university.  I was ecstatic to be gaining industry experience at a company with such a prominent role in the field, whom I had become familiar with through recent major projects both in Glasgow and across the UK.  The internship exceeded my expectations, I knew almost immediately that not only was the practice producing outstanding work but I was also learning alongside a great team of people.

After completing a semester abroad in Prague, I was delighted to be offered a part one position at Ryder and returning to join the Glasgow team again.

Ryder’s collaborative approach has allowed me to gain experience on a range of exciting projects with support from my colleagues, and even work alongside the Hong Kong team and BIM academy. The opportunities provided have been beyond what I ever expected to receive but the chance to put myself forward for the Ryder bursary has been the greatest yet.

With such a generous offer at stake, the process was never going to be easy.  Applicants were asked to provide a CV and cover letter setting out why we felt we were a deserving candidate.  Then was the process of pulling together a portfolio of university projects and work during our time at Ryder – aiming to demonstrate our development and approach to architecture as well as our future ambitions and goals.

I travelled to Ryder’s home in Newcastle for the final phase of the process.  The interviews were chaired by associate Sarah O’Connor, accompanied by partner Gordon Murray and senior architect Francesca Harrison.  As I was first to present I was slightly nervous, but the friendly faces on the panel made me feel welcomed and at ease.

I have had the pleasure to meet and work with the other graduates across the teams at various events over the year, including Blueprint and the graduate design competition, so I knew there was a vast range of projects and experience amongst us.  The standard of work was going to be extremely high, no doubt making it a tough decision for the judges.

The bursary is an excellent opportunity for any graduate lucky enough to spend their part one at Ryder.  Winning has given me the support and confidence to fully commit to my studies as I go on to complete my masters degree at the University of Strathclyde.

As I delve into the next stage of my architectural education I am excited to put into practice what I have learned during my time at Ryder.  For me the most rewarding part of the whole experience is knowing I am able to return to a business whose ethos align with my own.  I feel extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity and in return I intend to make every moment of it count.