Have you ever wondered how people who trained with you at the WSA look now? Would you recognise them? And they you?
And have you ever thought it would be good if you could all meet up again? Apparently many people do. Few actually do it. But we did!
How did we manage it? Through luck and persistence. Despite a small-scale practice run last autumn, we began to run out of momentum this spring. Luckily, John Fjeld - our erstwhile 'year organiser' - picked up the reigns and drove the process through to completion. (Thanks John!)
Our year graduated from Part 2 in 1973. The earliest we were eligible to get on the Architects' Register was 1975. So, over the weekend of the 9th and 10th of July, we had a '30 years in practice' reunion. There were originally 35 in our year. In July 2005, 37 of us met up, coming from as far as field as Norway, USA and Australia. Of course, not everyone was able to come. So our numbers were made up by a sprinkling of spouses. Just as well too since ours was almost a completely male year - the sole exception being Patsy Edwards. Happily Pat came to the reunion. So too did Malcolm Parry and Bob Tranter who had been our second and third year tutors.
We started with lunch at the WSA. Wayne Forster, originally a few years below us, is now Deputy Head of the School. He corralled us into the tiered lecture room and gave a hilarious slide lecture on changes in the WSA between 1975 and 2005 - focusing, for instance, on the disappearance of beards and perms, amongst male members of staff. Then we recreated the School Photo of 1970 (thanks Barry Mayled!) before trekking off to the WSA End of Year Show. We felt OK about current standards in the School until we were informed that what we thought was 5th Year work was actually produced by 3rd Year students. Sobering!
Next we took a guided tour of Cardiff Bay, ending up back stage at the recently opened Welsh Millenium Centre between performances of Miss Saigon. In the evening, we gathered for a garden party out at Tim Worsfold's house in Lisvane. (Thanks Tim and Jo!) Finally, many of us joined each other for a hotel breakfast on Sunday morning.
Was it worth the effort? Undoubtedly yes! Our reunion was a genuinely life affirming event - an entirely positive moment. Nobody was interested in what you had done but just in relating to each other as friends who had shared a common and very formative experience.
Should you do it? Judging from our experience, you shouldn't hesitate. But plan early. It took us 12 months to deliver from the initial idea. Contact Annie Golledge for help: GolledgeA@cardiff.ac.uk. And get e-mailing now!