Diary of an Architecture Student in Lesvos: Boat arrivals, fake vests and papers, Registered NGO camps vs non-registered NGO camps

Fig.1 – First boat I saw arrive. Photo by Silvia Converso
Fig. 2 – Aftermath of a boat arrival in the clothing tent

The first boat I saw arriving was a challenge for me, being the overemotional person that I am. Somehow I managed to overcome my feelings, distance myself from the situation and help in any way I could. As soon as I arrive at the camp in the morning, Jacopo tells me, ‘Grab as much clothes as you can, a boat just arrived on a beach nearby’. We then get in the car and he drives skilfully like the good Italian driver that he is. The first thing to do as a boat arrives is to get everyone changed into dry clothes and get wrapped in foil blankets to avoid pneumonia. The boat trip normally takes between 4 to 6 hours; this means you can get soaked in the cold water and you are prone to getting pneumonia. We then give food and help people to move to the bus that will take them to the main UNHCR registering camp – Moria.

After the bus left we got together with some locals and started organizing clothing and separating it between dirty and wet. Our other allies – the hot Spanish Bomberos from Proem Aid http://proemaid.org/  – were dismantling the boat after they had rescued everyone in it. The Bomberos were a group of water-specialized rescuers who came all the way from Spain to help. Their intentions were as good as their looks. I learnt later that these well intentioned young men had been arrested under the claim of human trafficking, by the Greek coast guard, as they were rescuing people from a boat at sea that was sinking. They stayed in prison for a week and even after losing most of their funds to pay for the bail, they remain active on the island.  Many of the life vests are fake. They do not prevent drowning thus immediate action is needed, especially in cases where children are involved as they cannot swim.

Fig 3. Free Market in front of UNHCR Camp

Following the arrival of the boat, Silvia, Jeremy, Chiara, Jacopo, Rik, Julie, Justine and I went for a trip around the island to visit other camps. The UNHCR camps had a clear separation between volunteers and refugees, barbed wire and fences all around the camps. Although people seemed to be helpful, there was still a sense of coldness that was not found in camps such as the lighthouse where colour and warm materials like timber took over and the only barriers one can see is that of the sea horizon and the beautiful vines. The prefabricated Ikea houses and the barbed wire made the UNHCR camps look like a concentration camp whilst the lighthouse camp reminded me of a scene from a children’s book. The free market was starting to take over as you could see vending machines and stands right in front of the UNHCR camps selling food and goods to the refugees. Gypsies were also benefiting and making good money out of the whole situation, since they were infiltrating camps in order to get food and clothes as well as selling things.

Fig 4. UNHCR vs Lighthouse Camp
Fig 5. UNHCR vs Lighthouse Camp
Fig 6. Dirty Girls Tent at LightHouse Camp

When we got to Moria we were even more shocked. Moria used to be a military base that has now turnedinto the main refugee registration camp on the island. Thanks to the work of the individual volunteers the camp had been modestly transformed with a sense of warmth, with some paintings here and there. What was incredible to see was the tents for the already-registered refugees. On average, the waiting time for registration was about 4 days. Once registered, you have to leave the camp to get yourself a ticket to go to mainland Europe on the ferry. Where would you stay between registering and getting a ticket? In the tents next to the camp in the middle of a muddy vineyard or in other camps and squatted places if you were not lucky enough to find a generous Greek family to take you in or to have enough money to get a place to stay at a hostel.

Fig 7. UNHCR Camp Moria from the outside

We enjoyed the best tea ever from the British group called Wild Lemon Team operating in the muddy field next to the tents, and talk to some of the volunteers working at Moria. I met little Abdul and his friend who saw me taking pictures and insisted I recorded their friendship. They were about 9 years old and were just wondering around the camp alone. I then asked one of the volunteers what happens to minors arriving alone at the Island to which she replies, ‘They normally stay in a special camp for minors for 3 weeks until something is sort out for them, but I never report them as I believe that the minors’ camp is awful and they are much happier staying here’.

 

Fig 8. Vineyard outside Moria UNHCR tents, Jacopo Corsini’s photo
Fig 8. Abdul and his friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One other thing we noticed was that there was a special allocation of people depending on their nationality, the reason for this is still unclear to me.

Fig 9. Moria Camp map

When talking to Dr. Heather Johnson and photographer Iva Zimova about the issues behind the system for registration they both mentioned one very important thing – the system is too complicated for a newcomer to understand, and adding to this, there is a big language and communication barrier. Iva told me about a 16 year old whose uncle lives in the UK. His uncle had offered to pay for everything, his trip and his schooling but because he got denied asylum, he had to do the crossing illegally through the boats. The main aim for now is to privilege war and political refugees seeking asylum, yet a lot of new comers seek better economic and political standards. People as young as me or even younger get sent over through the financial support of their families for it is their family’s belief that this is the best option for their sons and daughters to get a better life. When the EU tightens policies for migration and registration this causes people choose illegal methods such as fake papers to get into Europe. Why are people being forced to have to make such decisions? Very often if they are not able to get registered and eventually get deported, they get arrested and put into prison back in their country of origin as the country of origin has to pay for the deportation.

Fig 10. Yamaha Fake Life Vests laying by LightHouse

No borders is a rather radical view on the whole issue but open borders is a different matter. Yes, there are borders and indeed we all belong somewhere, at some point, but given the circumstances and according to the basic human rights everyone has the right to seek asylum, no matter where they are from.

On another note, The scepticism of some citizens of Europe towards newcomers, in my opinion, is as a result of the fear of loss of identity and tradition as well as economic possibilities. Economically Europe would benefit from these hardworking people coming to produce and consume our goods and services. Like Nick Hanauer explains on his banned TED talk, “consumers create jobs, not the less taxed super rich”. Refugees and migrants are consumers; they do not steal jobs, and they promote the creation of jobs. Also the wave of refugees now arriving on the shores of Europe are those who have the money to pay for the 4000 euros per person for a boat trip. In terms of cultural loss what people do not realise is that cultural change and transformation has happened infinitely amount of times before. Take the Portuguese: there were the Celtics and the Iberians which merged into the Celt Iberians, later came the moors and to this day we have words deriving from Arabic such as Oxala (deriving from Inshallah) which literally translating means ‘hope to God’ (in Arabic) and ‘hope for something to happen’ (in Portuguese).

There is indeed a cultural clash going on but we must not show hostility towards each other and both sides must compromise in order for this to be a temporary or permanent (who knows) pacific progression of culture. A New comer will most certainly have to accept and practice the values we have for so long established in the West, the values of freedom so many of us take for granted. We also mustn’t assume freedom comes in a superficial form of cultural habits and what they integrate. Freedom relies on having the possibility to choose. In a case like this, one needs more empathy than sympathy. When moving into Germany, I realised Germans do not kiss on the cheeks when meeting someone new, and I thus learnt to shake hands instead. This does not mean I am not allowed to do this with those of same cultural background as me.

Like Gerda Taro and Robert Capa (war photographers from the 20th century), people continue to risk their lives to bring the truth to the surface. However, sadly media still spreads the fear and too many of us are foolish to let them do so. The attacks in Cologne, for instance, were used as a catalyst for the right wing to promote anti-refugee attitudes although only 3 out of the 54 attackers were refugees. [1] My family lives in Bonn and I often go to Cologne for parties, the sort of behaviour that happened during New Year’s was already familiar to me. During Carnival fests, about 5 years ago, also in Cologne by the Hauptbahnhof and Cathedral, we had been approached and assaulted by various Caucasian German and English speaking men. This is not a race-related problem, for race doesn’t actually exist, it is a made up concept that is used to separate and stigmatize. Sadly, due to the fact that so many people believe in race, one has to consider intersectionality when it comes to such issues. As architects we have to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and consider their background in order to produce something for them, yet at the same time we have to deal with our egos and persona. This is, for me, the most important thing one can learn from Architecture in practice and it is a lesson that can and should be applied outside practice.

[1] Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/cologne-only-three-out-of-58-men-arrested-in-connection-with-mass-sex-attack-on-new-years-eve-are-a6874201.html#gallery

By Luisa Luisa Pereira, Stage 3

Dr Carolina Vasilikou wins Fantastic Feedback award

The Kent Union Teaching Awards proved a success for the Kent School of Architecture, as Dr Carolina Vasilikou was awarded a prize for Fantastic Feedback. Carolina is an architect specialising in urban design and sustainable architecture and is an Associate Lecturer at the Kent School of Architecture, as well as being a former PhD student. Carolina was not the only member of staff to be recognised for her dedication to the students; our Academic Support Officer Ben Martin was nominated for Best Admin/Technical Staff award.

The Teaching Awards are chosen by the students, and awarded to those specific members of staff that students believe have made a ‘positive impact’ on those they teach or assist. The award ceremony was on Tuesday 22nd March, and attended by members of staff and students.

Academic Peer Mentor – Srimathi Aiyer

Stage 5 – MArch

After having had some experience delivering lectures and becoming a Teaching Assistant to First Years, as well as being on the panel for design crits, I wanted to develop my leadership and communication skills up a notch via academic peer mentoring and actually giving one-to-one feedback on students’ work, from design projects to essay writing and presentation skills. A lot of knowledge and guidance had been passed to me from tutors, but then I felt that it would be most rewarding to then help younger students in return and give them motivation that if I can get through a course as challenging as architecture, then others can too. Plus, mentoring has been a plus in terms of employability; during some of my recent job interviews for Part 2 roles, the mentoring has come up as a highlight that has impressed employers.

I mentored both second and third year undergraduates, with occasional sessions being in pairs or groups. The common topic that came up was how to go about presenting CVs and portfolios for jobs, as well as the procedures for applying. Often, the students approached me with questions on design work: what would be the best way to visually represent work, which work communicates the project best and how to explain the development process effectively during a crit. Carlota Susino, who will be going into third year in September 2015, only started mentoring sessions with me about a month before her final second year design crit, but during that time I gave her guidance on how to pan out her tasks before the crit without leaving them to the last minute, and how to tie in her conceptual ideas to her final outcome. I always reminded Carlota and all my other mentees that I could only give suggestions, as do tutors too, but they are responsible for making their own decisions as long as they are able to fully justify their intentions, and architecture is a chance to be expressive and create a style that works for them. After all, employers want to see individuality, creativity and confidence in trying new techniques and ideas that students understand and are comfortable with.

Having said that, mentoring has helped me become critical in my own design work and giving everything a second glance over, before I am sure that I am ready to present my ideas to my own crit panel. I would say to anyone reading this, who is keen on the idea of peer-to-peer learning and teaching, academic peer mentoring is a fantastic scheme that the Kent School of Architecture has engaged with and it has its rewards to both mentors and mentees alike. Likewise, I recommend mentees to seek out an older, experienced student to help you along the way, as you’ll get a whole new perspective and a second opinion to keep you on track.

Mentee: Carlota Susino

I have only got good words to describe my mentor, Srimathi. In spite of starting with her almost at the end of the spring term she has helped me a lot, and I believe that because of her I have changed my attitude towards work. Most importantly she has taught me: don’t do things for others but for myself. And with that in mind, I think I have improved my presentation skills and my time management.

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin gives talk as part of Think Kent series

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin has contributed a short talk to the University of Kent’s Think Kent series on You Tube. These talks are introductions for a general audience to subjects that researchers at the University are currently working on.

Dr Brittain-Catlin’s talk is entitled ‘Architects as Failures and Losers’, and takes up a theme he introduced in his book Bleak Houses, published by The MIT Press in 2014.

Outreach – Drop It! Event at KSA

Following on from the success of last year’s View Finders outreach project, this year KSA has been working with 5 partner schools (Canterbury Academy, St Anselm’s, Folkestone Academy, Brompton Academy and Community College Whitstable) on a project entitled ‘Drop It!’ with over 70 students and 15 KSA student ambassadors. The previous year we worked with 6 schools and approximately 60 students.

As with last year’s View Finders project, the aim is to introduce school students to architecture and to encourage them to be aware of the built environment as a possible future profession. This year’s brief is to design a box that can be dropped from an aeroplane into war zones or countries that have experienced a natural disaster. The box will open up, parts connected and assembled to form a number of ‘buildings’: a clinic, an orphanage or a dwelling. Students were asked to draw their ideas and make models over the course of the 6 weeks. The first of six sessions with our KSA student ambassadors began on Monday 25th January, and ran until Monday 14th March 2016.

On Wednesday 16th March 2016, students from five schools within the local area arrived at Kent School of Architecture (KSA) to test their tower building skills and find out the much anticipated results of the Outreach Drop It! challenge. Pupils, teachers and parents alike filed in to the Digital Crit Space at KSA for a warm welcome from Rebecca Hobbs, Outreach Project Officer, where they were briefed on the itinerary for the day. Thanks were given to all those who were involved in the project.

IMG_4147

Patrick Crouch, Design Tutor at KSA, quickly put the budding architects to the test with his challenge to build a “Tower in an Hour”. Armed with copious amounts of art straws, sticky tape and other materials, the teams set to work and built some impressive structures with guidance from Kent School of Architecture’s student ambassadors. Each group had a different approach to the tower but all had the same goal in mind: build the sturdiest, tallest tower in just 60 minutes. St. Anselm’s sought victory with their unique approach to the tower (which included a ball of string as decoration at the tip).

After refuelling with some much needed snacks and refreshments, Rebecca and Patrick announced the proud winners of the Drop It! Challenge. Student ambassadors had been working at the schools to help the pupils to design a box that could be dropped from an aeroplane into war zones or countries that have experienced a natural disaster. The resulting models were displayed in the Digital Crit Space, showcasing the different approaches that each school had taken. The winners, St Anselms, proudly accepted their prize from Rebecca Hobbs and as the event drew to a close, the students were left feeling truly inspired by their visit to Kent School of Architecture, the ambassadors they had met and the challenges which they had approached with vigour.

 

Diary of an Architecture Student Volunteer in Lesvos: Food, Clothing, Muscles and Rebels

Fig 1. View from the camp. Photo by Jacopo Corsini

“There are people out there who are suffering and there’s very little they can do about it”…“Sometimes I feel guilty when I’m happy because I know that these people are hurting. How can I be happy when I know that people are being forced to live in refugee camps and ghettos, while women are being sex trafficked and millions of innocent people are suffering? So as I sit here and look at my life, I feel grateful, but I also feel confused.”
– Stephen Swartz author of Crossfire

Once I got to Lesvos, Silvia tells me, ‘Everyone is taking a break today’. There had been a storm the previous night, which had destroyed the tents and soaked everything. Everyone’s mood was down, so we decided to down a couple of Ouzu shots – the best alcohol to go with Chamomile tea and honey as I found out later that night. Seeing all your work getting destroyed was not easy but getting there on such day made it possible for me to get to know everyone. I got to talk with Dervla, this cool motivational Irish lady which gave me great advice. Silvia, the star of the falafel group, and I got some sober drinks and talked, the mood was starting to go up. I got some very good advice from Andreas our Greek man on how to help when the boats arrive. I then met Dani, a 30 year old cool metal head Syrian newcomer who is also a tattoo artist as well as a volunteer in Lesvos. Soon enough I started making connections and sharing experiences. The same situation was being lived differently by different people. We were sharing moments and having fun while going through chaos.

Although it did not become evident to me at first, a lot of the people were involved politically which is crucial but I came to realise that this ‘stand’, if not done pragmatically, can collide or even work  against the humanization and the solidarity that is so needed given the circumstances.

Leo had sign me in for the Lunch Shift. I did a bit of everything: cooking, sorting out clothes and just get to know people. I had the chance to put my French to test.

Fig 2. Omaira and Ella sorting out clothes

The clothing tent was extraordinarily difficult to manage; we had to sort out clothes and separate wet from dry from dirty as well as men’s from women’s from children. Socks had to be pinned together into groups of 3 pairs. Omaira, Ella and I spent the day sorting these out into bags to be sent to the ‘Dirty Girls’. The Dirty Girls are a group of women which gather most clothing from the camps, wash it, dry it and send it back to the warehouse which will then be distributed to all the camps across the island on list of demands made by each camp. Camps would cooperate with each other alot of generous donations came from locals. However chaotic the situation was … somehow things seemed to be working out.

After a while I started making all the shifts for the Clothing tent. A major issue was the fact that the tent had been damaged from the storm thus clothes had gotten wet. On top of this, we had stray dogs coming in and out leaving that wonderful dog smell on the clothes and blankets. I took on the task of sorting things out, fixing the tent and put the clothes on the top shelves for limited and practically impossible canine access.

Fig 3. Sassy Young Man at the Camp on New Years. Photo by Silvia Converso

Soon, I had my two habibis, Mohamed and Mohamed Saeed helping me out in the tent. As the camp, at the time, was mostly made up of sassy young men with a great sense of fashion they were the most appropriate to help.  Mohamed and Mohamed Saeed were Algerian, both with beautiful brown eyes always down to help out and make jokes amongst us with broken French, Arabic and English. Malik joined us a couple of times and he was so tired one day Ella found him sleeping like a baby in the blanket tent. Chiara joined us later on and she was by far the greatest contributor to this task, always motivated and focused.

 

Fig 4. Undocumented migrant Malik from Algeria adjusts his hair. Photo by Iva Zimova January 8, 2016
Fig 5. Silvia and Jeremy the Chefs

Meanwhile in the kitchen Silvia, Jeremy, Riki and Lulu kept busy making vegan food and distributing it. Leo and Louis kept fixing bits and pieces of the structure they had started to build in the previous weeks. Together with the help of Riki and Jacopo they started expanding and reinforcing the existing structures by using some reclaimed wooden pallets and covers recycled from the rafts and from some donations of the UNHCR. At this point Pierre was developing his project in the Greek man’s workshop.

Fig 6. Louis and Leo fixing the main tent

The collaborative spirit between volunteers and newcomers was a great thing to be part of. All these men and women put their muscles and brains to good use and helped Leo and Louis building the front reinforced cover for the kitchen. Men have just as many collaborative and multitasking skills as women do. I got to meet the most awesome male feminists and they took over the role of helping in the kitchen, cooking delicious things for everyone and making great contributions towards the construction of  infrastructure.

I was told I reminded someone of their mother, I could see how much he must have missed her. I got some speakers and we got a party going and interestingly enough I found out that I wasn’t the only one to obsess over Kuduro from Angola, which was so refreshing since no one around here seems to know what it was.  Everyone gathered in front of the kitchen listening to some Arabic or Portuguese lyric music, it was great. At some point the music stopped and someone had taken the portable charging device from the speakers. Surely they will give it much more use than I ever would!

Fig 7. Jeremy and Rik in the kitchen. Photo by Silvia Converso
Fig 8. Lulu cleaning the dishes. Photo by Silvia Converso

The collaboration in the building and management of the spaces was crucial in order to engage in conversation with the refugees instead of distancing volunteers from refugees. The political engagement of some of the volunteers we partnered up with was, for me, too extreme and not useful. Having had to spend hours and hours in meetings where my voice was ignored was frustrating as I would much rather be outside looking at the stars and dancing with the rest of the people. Our over politicized meetings sounded to the people outside like a ‘football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid’ – a quote from Malik’s friend.

Fig 9. Chiara and extra helpers in the kitchen. Photo by Silvia Converso
Fig 10. View from the Camp. Photo by Jacopo Corsini
Fig 11. View towards the port. Photo by Jacopo Corsini

Although the camp was managed throughout the day with the collaboration of everyone, for some reason only on one occasion did we have one of the newcomers present, the most linguistically intelligent young men I have met – Abdul. Abdul spoke Spanish, Arabic, Italian, French and English and he was a peace maker trying to help everyone, he translated so much for us! His voice and that of some of the other newcomers had not been heard during the meeting which infuriated me. It seemed to me that some people we had partnered up with had good intentions yet their blindness led them to make wrong decisions. Decisions that contradicted their own beliefs of freedom and of kindness, and obviously put everyone else at risk.

Fig 12. Kitchen tent Preparation for the Storm

When the next storm was brewing Abdul said to me, ‘As long as we have dry clothes and blankets to change to in the morning we will be fine.’ This seemed reasonable to me, yet some people decided to take some of the migrants, who had not get registered, to a ‘safer place’ – the hospital. One of the nurses had to inform the police and let’s just say that had they not had their hands full at the time they could have gotten those people into big trouble. Some guy also said, ‘Why would I go to the hospital and sit if I can lay down here?’ Indeed why would you sit inside a building that stinks of death when you can lay down outside looking at the stars and at the views.

It seems to me that some volunteers were only interested on being the ‘good guy’. Being a rebel, an activist and a volunteer has become trendy and ‘cool’. Going along and accepting all rules can be damaging, yet rebelling against them for the purpose of being a rebel can be even worse, and in all honesty, stupid.

The original definition of ‘Hero’ in ancient Greece, and for Brazilians, is that of someone who has the great ability to get themselves into a lot of trouble and get out of it in the most possible ‘badass’ way, that is pragmatically and ‘in the moment’. The two examples of real Heroes I know of is Ulysses (Greek) and Macunaima (Brazilian) and yes those young men (refugees) are the one and only real authentic definition of Hero, the volunteers are nothing but the secondary characters of each and every Odyssey of those heroes.

By Luisa Pereira Pires, Stage 3

 

KSA Outreach Project hosts Drop It! Event

Following on from the success of last year’s View Finders outreach project, this year KSA has been working with 5 partner schools (Canterbury Academy, St Anselm’s, Folkestone Academy, Brompton Academy and Community College Whitstable) on a project entitled ‘Drop It!’ with over 70 students and 15 KSA student ambassadors. The previous year we worked with 6 schools and approximately 60 students.

As with last year’s View Finders project, the aim is to introduce school students to architecture and to encourage them to be aware of the built environment as a possible future profession. This year’s brief is to design a box that can be dropped from an aeroplane into war zones or countries that have experienced a natural disaster. The box will open up, parts connected and assembled to form a number of ‘buildings’: a clinic, an orphanage or a dwelling. Students were asked to draw their ideas and make models over the course of the 6 weeks. The first of six sessions with our KSA student ambassadors began on Monday 25th January, and ran until Monday 14th March 2016.

On Wednesday 16th March 2016, students from five schools within the local area arrived at Kent School of Architecture (KSA) to test their tower building skills and find out the much anticipated results of the Outreach Drop It! challenge. Pupils, teachers and parents alike filed in to the Digital Crit Space at KSA for a warm welcome from Rebecca Hobbs, Outreach Project Officer, where they were briefed on the itinerary for the day. Thanks were given to all those who were involved in the project.

Patrick Crouch, Design Tutor at KSA, quickly put the budding architects to the test with his challenge to build a “Tower in an Hour”. Armed with copious amounts of art straws, sticky tape and other materials, the teams set to work and built some impressive structures with guidance from Kent School of Architecture’s student ambassadors. Each group had a different approach to the tower but all had the same goal in mind: build the sturdiest, tallest tower in just 60 minutes. St. Anselm’s sought victory with their unique approach to the tower (which included a ball of string as decoration at the tip).

After refuelling with some much needed snacks and refreshments, Rebecca and Patrick announced the proud winners of the Drop It! Challenge. Student ambassadors had been working at the schools to help the pupils to design a box that could be dropped from an aeroplane into war zones or countries that have experienced a natural disaster. The resulting models were displayed in the Digital Crit Space, showcasing the different approaches that each school had taken. The winners, St Anselms, proudly accepted their prize from Rebecca Hobbs and as the event drew to a close, the students were left feeling truly inspired by their visit to Kent School of Architecture, the ambassadors they had met and the challenges which they had approached with vigour.

CREAte Open Lecture: Preserved Gaudí

The next CREAte Open Lecture will be given by Dr Josef-Maria Garcia-Fuentes on Tuesday 22nd March at 6PM in MLT1.

Preservation, as it does architecture, creates new interpretive frames that alter the reception of the cultural meaning of buildings. This is why to preserve a specific architecture is not just to create the illusion of keeping its material authenticity but it inescapably involves to change the way this architecture is perceived.

These entangled relations between architecture and preservation are explored in depth through the careful analysis of the preservation process of the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, which has given rise to a significant alteration in the way his architecture is perceived and valued along the 20th century. This is a move from original bold national and strong religious postulates of his architecture, embodied in an historic architect who was not a sweet architect and man, into a radical modern visionary of technic and gentler architect that suits better his current touristic imaginary and the –economic, political and cultural– exploitation of his works. Yet this is a process that has not just altered the way Gaudí and his architecture are perceived but that has literally reshaped important elements of Gaudí’s architecture in a material way.

Ultimately, the case study of the preservation of Gaudí’s architecture challenges the established conceptualization of heritage and preservation and poses the need to rethink the current preservation paradigm towards a more flexible and creative one grounded on architecture.

Dr Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes is Lecturer in Architecture at Newcastle University (UK) and Fellow of the Catalan Observatory at the London School of Economics (UK). His research interest focuses on the history of architecture, heritage, preservation and history of the ideas. He has been previously Assistant Professor at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya–BarcelonaTECH (Spain) and Vice Dean of International Relations at the School of Architecture of the Vallés-Barcelona at the same University.

He has been awarded with the First National Prize of Spain for university graduates (2006) and with research grants by the Government of Spain (2007–2011), the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for the Society of Architectural Historians (2011) and the Santander Bank (2014).

Josep-Maria is also a registered and practising architect, is the author of a different projects and has collaborated extensively with prestigious architects like Juan Navarro Baldeweg and Josep Llinàs.

Dr Nikolaos Karydis speaks about Development in the Historic Environment

Dr Nikolaos Karydis gave a lecture on “New Design within the Historic Environment” in the conference “Interpreting Historic Folkestone”, organised by Townscape Heritage Initiative and Canterbury Archaeological Trust in Folkestone on 4 March 2016. The lecture investigated the design methods and practices for the adaptation of new buildings to historic towns, with particular emphasis on Kent. This forms part of a series of research outreach activities that aim to inform the future development of Folkestone.

KSA Careers Event

On Thursday 3rd March, we held our annual careers event whereby we invited local practitioners to present themselves to our Stage 3 students, and spend time in the studios conducting mock interviews, advising on CVs or taking Q&A sessions on their practice. The aims of the event are to create links between the school teaching staff, students and architectural practices, to offer guidance to graduating students on how to maximise their chances of employment and also to provide a forum for local practices to discover potential future employees in person in an informal setting. Below are some photographs of the event!