End of Year Exhibition: A School’s Triumph

In its 9th year of running, Kent School of Architecture has gone from strength to strength through its dedication and hard work of both staff and students. The End of Year Show 2014 certainly was a spectacular culmination of the projects the students had been working on during the academic year, leaving staff humble with pride after the amount of support they had been giving the students throughout the year. And what better way to make a statement than the BFA (‘Big Friendly Arrow’) hanging from one of the cranes originally being used during the current construction of the Templeman Library extension! Anyone else around campus who would approach the arrow outside the Marlowe Building would definitely then brace themselves for an exhibition that opens its doors with brimming confidence and finesse. An initial thank you must be extended to the workshop team, Kevin Smith and Colin Cresser, and any volunteers who helped assemble the BFA. It should also be noted that Kevin and Colin had worked tirelessly to put together many of the plinths and other woodwork that made up a lot of the exhibition layouts. The students are certainly grateful for their contribution.

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As the numbers of guests gathered in bulks on the opening evening held on Friday 20th June, Professor Don Gray, Head of School, conducted his introductory speech and distribution of special awards given to students. Amongst these announcements, it is with pleasure to announce that Dr. Timothy Brittain-Catlin (Senior Lecturer & Director of Graduate Studies) has been promoted to Reader, especially after the success of his recently released book ‘Bleak Houses: Towards a Theory of Failure, Architectural History and its Losers’. The student awards are as follows; for which KSA extends their congratulations:

  • Most Innovative Undergraduate Work: Hannah Rozenberg
  • Head of School Prize (BA Hons) : Gulce Onganer
  • Head of School Prizes (MArch): Peter Evans and Rosie Seaman
  • Portfolio Prizes (MArch): Rosie Seaman and Jennifer Bull
  • Hays Prize for Written Work (MArch): Jennifer Bull
  • Stage 3 Architecture Portfolio Prize: Natasha Ho
  • RIBA Kent Prize for Part 1: Zuzana Sojkova
  • RIBA Kent Prize for Part 2: (M.Arch): Sam Ashdown
  • Stage 1 Article Prize: Themba Mtwazi
  • Purcell Prizes for Passivhaus Research led by Henrik Schoenefeldt: Adam Nightingale, Jessica Ringrose, Rosie Seaman, Sam Ashdown, Karl Bowers, Natasha Gandhi, Tim Waterson, Katarzyna Kwiatek, Thomas Hayward, Miguel Peluffo-Navarro, Cordelia Hill and Sam Fleming
Jennifer Bull
Jennifer Bull

The Undergraduate exhibition (Stage 1 in part of Studio C downstairs, Stage 2 in the Marlowe Foyer & Stage 3 in the Digitial Crit Space upstairs) was an impressive display of students starting out their journey in architecture and a pleasing reflection on what they had achieved so far, in terms of acquiring new skills and taking on challenging projects. The Stage 3 projects included Modular (Canterbury student accommodation masterplans) and Urban (School of Arts building proposals based in Rochester). The combination of physical models, drawings and utilisation of 3D BIM software was a perfect example of how the students were making the most of the development of their projects and help prepare their first professional architectural portfolios.

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The MArch exhibition was held in Studio C downstairs and immediately paved the setting for a unit system that created sheer diversity via the range of projects. Unit 1 (led by Michael Richards & Michael Holms Coats) looked at ‘Cinque Ports’: the coastal cities of Kent and it was this space where visitors were greeted by a sea (no pun intended) of delicate, intricate models in the middle of the space, to show these students had thought carefully about how they physically built up their schemes. Unit 2 (led by Ed Holloway & Peter Ayres) looked at the Isle of Portland and the importance of Portland stone. It was interesting to see how the students could take one material and use it to tell a story within their schemes. Unit 3 (led by Corinna Dean & Diana Cochrane) looked at the urban infrastructure and cultural language of Istanbul, Turkey. There was a real burst of culture in the space with a video showreel of observations in Istanbul, as well as a lot of rapid documentation on how the schemes could help the Turkish community. Finally, Unit 4 (led by Shaun Murray & Yorgos Liozos) looked at Canvey Island near Leigh-on-Sea, before designing pioneering villages that reformulate environmental issues. The technical approaches by the students were so bold and complex, very large areas of landscape and topography were shaped and reformed too.

Kent School of Architecture are privileged and grateful for everyone who has been involved with arranging the exhibition; all students who selected work and curated the spaces, as well as academic, administration and workshop staff who all provided exceptional help to the students during the course of the year and leading up to the end of term. The success of the exhibition and the beautifully put together catalogue would not all have been possible without the main co-ordinators, Stage 5 students Rosie Seaman and Peter Evans. Many thanks to the committee and helpers who assisted Rosie and Peter with all the arrangements.

Peter and Rosie
Peter and Rosie

Until next academic year, we wish everyone a wonderful summer and we look forward to our upcoming 10th Year Anniversary, as well as the University of Kent’s 50th Anniversary in 2015.

CASE Launch of PassivHaus eBook

New eBook about PassivHaus has been launched online, based on the findings of a twelve month research project involving practitioners, academic researchers and a team of students from the MArch (stage 5) and BA Architecture (stage 3) programmes.

The UK building industry, compared to their Austrian or German counterparts, has limited experience with delivering the PassivHaus standard, but pioneering efforts over the past eight years to implement buildings of this standard in the UK has provided the impetus for cross-industry collaboration, technical innovation and evidence-based design.

The eBook, entitled ‘Interrogating the technical, economic and cultural challenges of delivering the PassivHaus standard in the UK’, is based on a collaborative research project coordinated by Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt at the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment at the University of Kent between May 2013 and June 2014. This project investigated how architectural practice and the building industry are adapting in order to successfully deliver Passivhaus standard buildings in the UK. Through detailed case studies the project explored the learning process underlying the delivery of fourteen buildings, certified between 2009 and 2013.

Largely founded on the study of the original project correspondence and semi-structured interviews with clients, architects, town planners, contractors and manufacturers, these case studies have illuminated the more immediate technical as well as the broader cultural challenges. The peer-reviewers of this book stressed that the findings included in the book are valuable to students, practitioners and academic researchers in the field of low-energy design and will be further discussed at the PassivHaus Project Conference on the 27th June 2014.

The eBook is available for free online here.

Transforming Cities; Transforming Lives

The British Embassy in Paris will be hosting the Transforming Cities; Transforming Lives event on Thursday 3rd July 2014. The event will consider how evolutions in the urban environment of Paris and London will impact on our daily lives.

The workshops on the day will focus on the themes of community, sustainability and enterprise:

  • How can we create communities that are inclusive, functional and inspiring places to live and work?
  • How can we build a sustainable city that nurtures its citizens?
  • What levers can be used to encourage a positive and mutually beneficial relationship between business and community?

Five students have been selected to represent the school; Caroline Vasilikou (PhD), Giovanna Piga (PhD), Christina Chatzipoulka (PhD), Nil Kutlar (PhD) and Tamilore Oni (MAAC). We will look foward to hearing all about their time at the event in due course.

What can you expect from this year’s End of Year Show?

The End of Year Show involves the whole of Kent School of Architecture from foundation and first year right through to MArch, Postgraduate and PhD studies. The exhibition will be a celebration of architecture through drawing, models, photography and research.

Stage 5 and 4 will be in Studio C downstairs. It’s the second year of the unit system which uses vertical teaching to combine both 4th and 5th year. Projects run for a whole year and range from Kent to Canvey Island, Portland to Istanbul. This year the projects have a wide scope and deal with issues of flooding, pollution, community, regeneration and infrastructure. Each unit has put together its own individual exhibition through the collaboration of the unit leaders and students. The tutors for this year are Unit 1; Michael Richards and Michael Holms Coats. Unit 2; Ed Holloway and Peter Ayers. Unit 3; Corinna Dean And Diana Cochrane. Unit 4; Shaun Murray and Yorgos Loizos.

Stage 3 projects include the Modular and Urban modules. Modular is a masterplan in Canterbury of education building, student accommodation, public housing and a boarding house and ​Urban is in Rochester: a design for a School of Arts.

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‘For the second year running the students have taken control of the Kent School of Architecture Degree Show. Tasked with designing both the exhibition and the degree catalogue, we see the students and staff working collaboratively and on a level playing field, in order to celebrate the diverse architectural expression which manifests itself through various mediums. Our commitment to the Degree Show programme has seen it grow to fruition, from the design of the invitations and graphical identity of the school, to the collation and display of over 200 artefacts of student work. This culminates in a bespoke and extensive catalogue that illustrates the all-encompassing ethos of the school. We hope these efforts will take Kent School of Architecture a step further into the architectural community and wish for a significant turnout to witness the schools progression.’ Rosie Seaman & Peter Evans – MArch Stage Five

The KSA Catalogue for 2014 is now on sale and available to purchase online http://store.kent.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=1&catid=174&prodid=644 or this evening at the Private View from 6pm.

Homeless – Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference

There is under a week to go until the Homeless Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference goes ahead.

The Homeless Conference has been organised by Christopher Chang (School of English), Christina Chatzipoulka (School of Architecture), Luca Di Gregorio (SECL) and Barbara Franchi (School of English) and will run over two days. The two keynotes speakers are Prof Gordana Fontana Giusti and Dr. Marianne Amar.

The conference takes place on the 20th and 21st of June 2014 and is being held in Keynes College, Lecture Theatre 2. For more information please visit the website.

Nic Stamford – Working in practice

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After finishing my final critique for the last project of my Bachelors at Kent School of Architecture in May 2013 I began to pull together my full portfolio of work. I spent about a month getting my work to a level I was happy with before I started to send out applications. This is usually very late to get this ready as many positions in the UK are already being filled earlier in the year, however I had my sights set further abroad in Japan. This worked out well for me since the educational scheduling in Japan differs from the UK meaning that my applications were well-timed.

Working abroad, particularly in Japan, was something that I had been preparing for in my last two years at University. I had always had a great interest in Japanese culture and decided that my Part 1 year out would be the perfect opportunity to both gain experience towards my career and explore this cultural interest of mine. At the start of my second year I began language classes at the University, which I then went on to continue right up until I finished my degree.

I sent out around 20 applications to practices in Japan and within one week had only received three replies. Two of these replies were in full Japanese, which meant that it took me a while to decipher these messages only to find out that they were not accepting interns. The final reply I received was from a small but fairly successful practice based in Hiroshima – Suppose Design Office. I was presented with a 6 month offer to work as an intern, with one catch – interns are not paid. I was extremely excited to receive the offer and they even reassured me that my very basic language capabilities were sufficient which was perfect. The money situation however was something which was a huge decision for me. I had saved money working in a restaurant during my degree but I knew that the costs of living in Japan with no income would take its toll on my savings. In the end, I decided that this was a rare opportunity that would hopefully pay off in the future and took the job.

I began my work in Japan on September 23rd 2013. On my first day I was briefed about the job and it wasn’t until then that I really grasped just how different their culture is. My working hours, which I had neglected to ask before, were 8.45am – 10pm Monday to Saturday. I could not believe this, however before long I realised that in Japanese working culture, the first person to leave the office is essentially deemed the worst worker so I actually ended up working from 8.45am to around 1am, even working Sunday’s every now and then. I resolved to push through it with the mind-set that if I could survive these hours for six months I could survive anything in the UK.

The language was a great struggle at first as it was much faster than I had ever experience in the classes back home, but I knew that I would pick it up as I went along, which I did. I had always been told by others that working in large practices meant you have very little design input and effectively become a CAD-monkey. Pushed by this, when it came down to applying for practices, I approached mainly small to medium sized companies. Suppose Design Office had around 25 staff, so a fairly small office. The claims about working in small practices providing more design input were not true. I was effectively a dogsbody for 6 months. I started off making lots of physical models and then when they found out that I could 3D model and render well, I became the modelling and visualisation minion. All the skills I had learnt in University were definitely put to good use and the hours spent in Japan developing these skills were absolutely not a waste. I had to really push to be involved in a wider range of the design process, such as conceptual work, development and construction-related tasks. In Japan they are not aware of the requirements of the PEDR forms so in a way it made sense that it was down to me to make sure I was covering the range of experience I needed.

In the end I was put on a team with one of the more experienced members of staff on a new project based in Tokyo. My software capabilities meant that I was able to model and develop the complex scheme which no-one else in the office could do. This was great for me and meant that I was forced into a position where I had design input and great amounts of responsibility. I followed this project right up until I left and it gave me a huge amount of experience. The project is now being constructed which I am updated on every now and then by my colleagues.

Approaching the end of my time in Japan, I decided that it would be wise to start looking for jobs before I left, so that I didn’t have much wasted time between working. Working crazy hours for such a long time had really made me proactive about work, so about a month before my last day at Suppose on 25th March I sent 15 applications to English practices. I received only two replies, both of which led to interviews for when I returned. This time I had applied for a range of practices, from large to small, however I targeted ones that were involved in public and cultural projects which I am particularly interested in. I arrived back in England on the 5th April and had my first interview at Make Architects on the 14th. I started work at Make the next day.

Having now been at Make for a month and a half I can see just how contrasting practices can be. My hours are much more regular, which seem a breeze in comparison, I’m being paid and I actually have much more design input and responsibility. My experience working abroad cannot be knocked however because it made me stand out from other applicants and also gave me some interesting things to talk about in my interview. Aside from the career benefits gained from my time in Japan, I had an incredible time in a fascinating and beautiful culture which I will remember forever. It has expanded my understanding of the vastness of the world, which I feel has pushed me as a designer and greatly prepared me for my future in architecture.

I am now looking to either start my Masters course this year, or stay working at Make Architects until September 2015 before going back to my studies. 

Empire Sunset at the Marlowe

The ‘Empire Sunset’ piece is running on screens in the Marlowe building, University of Kent and the Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable as part of the Whitstable Biennale Satellite through to the 15 June 2014.

If you’re on campus this weekend, why not stop by the Marlowe and take a look!

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Two MAAV students win internships at firm Miller Hare

Students on the MA in Architectural Visualisation were given the opportunity to pitch their portfolios to Miller Hare for the chance to work as interns as part of their final 3 month project.

We are very pleased to announce that two of the students have been given the opportunity to work for Miller Hare for 3 months on paid placements. Joseph Ling and Ruben Chitu will be working as Junior Visualisers in the London office. Congratulations to both of you!

Joseph Ling Chaun Sheng
Joseph Ling Chaun Sheng

Retracing the evolution of the Houses of Parliament’s historic ventilation system – 1835-1854

Research Colloquium Lecture – For architecture postgraduate students and academic staff

Speaker: Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt

Up until the 1940s the Palace of Westminster was ventilated by a system of ventilation turrets and towers  that had been originally developed by teams of engineers, architects and scientists in the mid-nineteenth century. These stacks were designed to exploit the natural buoyancy of hot air to drive foul air out of the building. These utilised waste heat from fire places, gas lighting and people, but at times were assisted by coke fires or steam jets.

The talk will show the most recent findings of Henrik’s research into the Houses of  Parliament’s Victorian ventilation system. It focuses on the evolution of the design for the stack ventilation strategy  over the period between 1835, when the physician and chemist David Boswell Reid first proposed and subsequently tested his scheme for a stack driven ventilation system in a series of full-scale model debating chambers,  and the late 1850’s, when a final arrangement had been adopted. This remained in constant use up-until the 1920s. Past historical studies on the Palace of Westminster have focused largely on David Boswell Reid’s original plans for ventilating the Palace, but archival research conducted by the speaker over the past three years has revealed that these plans were never fully implemented.  Instead his original  scheme was abandoned in 1846, largely due to the high complexity of the design process. The project team struggled with establishing a workable system for managing the communication and workflow within a largely cross-disciplinary design team, involving engineers, scientists, and architects. This illuminated the difficulties with reconciling the specific working methods of architects and scientists in 19th century architecture. In 1847 a  new master plan was implemented by Charles Barry, Alfred Meeson and Michael Faraday, which had a significant influence on architectural character of the Palace.  The implemented system was modified again in 1854 under the direction of the engineer Goldsworthy Gurney.

Reid’s proposal, let alone the ventilation system schemes implemented in 1846 and 1854 has not been studied in any great depth before, let alone the role of scientific experiments, environmental monitoring and observation studies in its development. Extensive archival evidence of the historic design has survived, which included technical reports, historic architectural drawings, technical details, and the original project correspondence. The scientific and technical literature of the mid-nineteenth also includes numerous illustrations and detailed written commentaries on the historic systems and the underlying environmental design objectives. This archival material is used to reconstruct (a) Reid’s original ventilation scheme (1840-46), (b) the new scheme implemented after 1846 and (c) the remodelling of the ventilation arrangements in the mid-1850s. This research has illustrated, among others, how the Victorian explored ways of ventilating large public buildings with minimal mechanical aids and the technical and managerial challenges it posed.

The research project:

This talks is based on a larger research project on the Houses of Parliament’s Victorian ventilation system that Henrik has been conducting at the University of Kent since autumn 2011. The primary aim of the project is to develop a critical understanding of the historic system, first by retracing the design development, second by reconstructing its design and third by analysing its actual performance. The latter is based largely on historic measurements recorded as part of the routine monitoring and control procedures, eyewitness reports as well as the numerous observational studies and scientific experiments  based   historic system.  Following the recommendation of the House of Commons Commission Henrik has been acting  been acting as consultant on the Palace Restoration Programme. Henrik has submitted three reports and has delivered several talks at Westminster on the historic ventilation system. The current focus of this collaboration is on ventilation of the House of Lords debating chamber and the River Front. Henrik’s most recent publication on this subject is:  Schoenefeldt, Henrik, ‘The Palace of Westminster and Reid’s architecture of experimentation’, Architectural History, 57- 2014, pp. 173-213.

Kent School of Architecture wins Fellowship at Venice Biennale

Lucky 5th year student Jessica Ringrose takes time from her role as British Council Fellow at the Venice Biennale to pose with Head of School Don Gray and Lecturer Manolo Guerci on top of the ‘mound’ in the British Pavilion.

Jessica is the first of two British Council Fellows at KSA to live in Venice and work and undertake research at the Biennale. Jessica was responsible for helping to set up and man the British Pavilion, working with FAT Architecture and Crimson Architectural Historians. The preview day ended with a party at the Conservatorio di Musica.