BA Architecture – Student Profile – Vasileios Iliopoulos

What attracted you to studying at Kent?
I first heard about Kent when I was in my first year of the IB Diploma. At that time I had already decided that architecture was what I wanted to devote my life to, so I started viewing schools of architecture in the UK. After finding some information on Kent, I asked my counselor about the University, and more specifically about the School of Architecture. I was then sure that KSA was the right combination of “artistic” and “technical” aspects of the trade for me.

Why did you choose to study architecture?
Whenever anyone asks me this question, I like to rephrase it a bit: “How did you realise you wanted to be an architect”.
Architecture being the creation of order out of chaos and a building being an integrated unit offers an architect the potential to define lives, through aesthetics and functionality. An architect has the power to decide most of our moves. For example, an architect decided that when you wake up, you take five steps straight and then some more to the left to get to the bathroom, and then decided exactly how many steps you have to take to get to the bathtub etc. An architect decided that you live in a home where the living room and the kitchen are separated by walls. An architect looked for the best possible interaction between the structure and the urban or rural environment.
All this creates a fascinating process. My wish to be part of it made me choose architecture -and not just the fact that “I used to draw pictures of buildings” or “build them out of lego when I was little”.

What skills have you already learnt whilst studying architecture?
We have been taught how to produce aesthetically pleasing drawings, how to use sophisticated computer software, how to make beautiful models and how to properly present our schemes. We have been taught how buildings work and stand but most importantly, we have been taught how to think critically, process ideas, interact and work with other people and also to be a team and help each other in the studios.

What do you think about the level of support in your studies?
I think that the level of support from all University staff is excellent. As far as the academic staff are concerned, I believe that the diversity of personalities and opinions is helpful to students, for it guarantees a very wide spectrum of feedback and advice.
Last but not least, the fact that many of our tutors are practicing architects gives us a better understanding of the trade, industry and reality of architecture.

What are you enjoying most about university?
Being independent, meeting new people from all around the world, living away from home, training to do what you have always dreamt of, working really hard, and, occasionally, partying just as hard!

Graduating third year students present their work at The Oasis Academy in Sheerness

The Beachfields Partnership, Sheerness, invited eleven of our graduating third year students to The Oasis Academy Theatre on the Isle of Sheppey to meet with the students and present their work. There will hopefully be a public exhibition arranged by Swale Community Leisure to follow. Thank you to Valentin Abend, Prinka Anandawardhani, Jed Cracknell, Lauriane Hewes, Manveer Sembi, Linda Malaeb, Jamie Griffiths, Nicholas Mourot and Ed Powe for your enthusiasm and participation in this great event.

Sir Terry Farrell opens KSA Summer Show 16

KSA Summer Show 16 opened on Friday 17th June 2016 with special guest Sir Terry Farrell. There were hundreds in attendance to celebrate what has been yet another great year at Kent School of Architecture. As with every year, the degree show is organised by a core team of students; this year the show was led by 5th Year MArch student James Bussey and KASA president, 4th year MArch student Charles Hope who also put together this year’s degree catalogue. To buy this year’s catalogue, click here.

KSA Summer Show 16 will remain open to the public from Monday 20th June – Friday 24th June 2016 from 10AM – 4PM daily.

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt receives teaching award for innovative practice in Architectural Education

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt was awarded this year’s Faculty of Humanities Annual Teaching Prize. The prize acknowledges three major initiatives that Henrik has taken over the past five years to address a series of important challenges in contemporary architectural education and practice. The focus of his initiatives was on introducing students to (1) new practices of sustainable design, (2) establishing a research culture within the largely design-led education of architecture and (3) improving the pedagogical knowledge and skills of architects through a new module in architectural education.

The panel wrote that the three initiatives ‘taken individually and collectively, are outstanding and this is supported by ample evidence from a range of external academic and professional sources’. It noted that they successfully engaged with the challenge of introducing ‘new practices of sustainable environmental design into architectural education’ and demonstrated the ‘pedagogical potential of involving students in collaborative research.’

The 1st Initiative was the development of new approaches to embedding practices of sustainable design within the teaching of architectural design. This was underpinned by a research project funded through a grant from the Higher Education Academy. The objective of the research project, entitled Inquiries into a new model of teaching environmental design in architecture, was to gain a critical understanding of how environmental sustainability and climate change requires students and architects to adopt new forms of practice. The findings of this research informed the development of a new studio model that introduces students to practices of ‘comprehensive design’ as well as two modules in sustainable design and technology for the MArch programme. In the first module, AR546 Sustainable Technology in the Context of Architecture, students undertake critical case studies, reviewing how modern practitioners integrate research into the design process to develop sustainable technological solutions. To gain such insights students undertake primary research, including interviews with practitioners, clients and building users. In the second module AR647-Design-led Research in Architecture, students are required to develop their own approaches to design-led research within their final architectural project, recording and critically reviewing their design methodologies through diaries and reflective essays.

The objective of this initiative was to establish a research culture within the largely design-centred curriculum of architecture, providing an educational environment where students experience design and research as complementary rather than conflicting cultures of learning.

The second initiative, which focused on exploring the pedagogical potential of involving students in collaborate research, followed a similar objective. It was collaborative research project, which was entitled Interrogating the technical, economic and cultural challenges of delivering the PassivHaus standard in the UK and took place between June 2013 and July 2014. The objectives of the project were to (1) bridge the gap between academic research, industry and university-based teaching, (2) enable students to develop an expertise in sustainable design and to (3) involve students directly in original academic research, including the process of dissemination through conferences and peer-reviewed publications. The project brought together practitioners, academics and final years students from the MA and BA programmes with the aim to investigate how the UK’s building industry can achieve buildings complying with the stringent energy efficiency requirements of the German PassivHaus standard. Acting as an alternative to the traditional dissertation, students joined a research team working on a larger research project. It involving case studies of fifteen real-life projects in England and Wales. Through interviews with the architects, contractors, consultants, suppliers and developers the students were able to engage directly with the different professions involved. This offered intimate insights into the challenges of low energy design not only from the view of the architectural profession, but also from a cross-industry perspective. The project culminated in the production of a peer-reviewed eBook and a conference, which was organised in collaboration with Kent Innovation and Enterprise.

The 3rd initiative was the development of a module in architectural education (AR600 Architectural Pedagogy), which provides students in the final year of the MArch programme with formal training in architectural education, covering theory and teaching practice. The module has been running for the second time this year, following a successful first year in 2014-15. KSA is currently the only school of architecture in the UK that offers a taught module in architectural education, combining a formal program of lectures, tutorials and seminars with research projects and teaching practice. Henrik has written an article about his experience with this module in this year’s End of Year Catalogue; click here to view the article.

The panel emphasised that ‘evidence on external impact was considerably strong’. Henrik had received numerous invitations to speak about his work in architectural education. This included the annual symposium of the Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture, held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in April 2015, which also got reported in the Architect’s Journal (15 April 2015).

BA Hons Architecture – Student Profile – Emmanuel Owusu

What attracted you to studying architecture at Kent?
Aside from the great location and the lively city of Canterbury, I found the university campus appealing as all the colleges and schools where close together. This was beneficial as I could take inspiration from the School of Digital Arts and Engineering and the School of Art which were within walking distance from the Architecture Building. Furthermore, Kent also has high employment rate with the architecture graduates. I understood that the school of architecture was relatively young, this was also a good quality of the school as there was greater freedom to explore and experiment.

Why did you choose to study architecture?

I chose to study architecture because architect care! Architects care about the welfare of society, about infrastructure, about nature, about nurturing about the past, present and future.

What skills did you acquire whilst studying architecture?
I acquired a myriad of skills during my time at Kent, from drawing to visualising, organisation to public speaking and presentation. Most importantly perhaps, I grew in tremendous confidence as a person.

Do you believe these skills have assisted you in your career so far and if so, how?
I do yes, it has lead to me finding employment and in particular learning how to present and organise my time effectively has been useful in my career.

What did you enjoy most about your time at university?
Aside from architecture, I enjoyed the array of social activities and the academic facilities on offer. The discussions and debates with people from many nations that are welcomed at the university was also enlightening.

What are you plans for the future?
Completing my architectural studies,continuing enjoying life and appreciating the little things that make it all worth while.

Dr Luciano Cardellicchio participating at International Symposium ‘Reversable Building Design’ in Maastricht

Dr Luciano Cardellicchio has been invited to participate at the International Symposium ‘Reversible Building Design’ held at the University of Twente in Maastricht from the 8th to the 10th of July.

The symposium will focus on the transformable buildings and the creation of the passports for tracing the construction materials. The event will be run by the research consortium named ‘Building As Material Bank’ (BAMB).

BAMB have been awarded with a Horizon 2020 fund in research and innovation. The research aims to improve the circularity of the construction industry introducing the reversibility of the buildings’ components as a key factor for the sustainable development of the built environment. More specifically the BAMB project aims to improve material value for recovery.

KSA Stage 2 Rep wins Course Rep of the Year!

Congratulations to our Stage 2 Rep, Oluwaseyi Sobogun who won the Kent Union Course Rep of the Year Award! Oluwaseyi is also co-founder of our student writing club, Pencraft, who have been regular contributors to the KSA blog.

What it’s like to be course rep?

It has been a very eye opening experience. I’ve had the opportunity to see how much effort goes into making the changes that benefit staff and student in the school. There is a lot of dedication to make things better all-around and I have enjoyed being involved.  I especially liked meeting more staff and students, really engaging with them about things that matter and sometimes friendly conversations. I like knowing the admin that sends out the emails or the tutor that organises my course, they become more than just a name. I can admit it has sometimes been challenging, a little frustrating when you don’t seem to make a certain change and tiring to juggle with work. However, overall I will say it was a delightful chance I was given.

What have you learnt from being a course rep?

I know I have improved my time management and communication skills a lot. I have also found myself needing to be more patient; with the staff and students. Changes take time and I have learnt to wait out some changes and not try and rush them.

Why I think other students should be course rep? 

People may say for your CV. If that’s the only motivation I say don’t do it. You should be course rep because you care, because you see how your voice can impact your year or because you want to be involved with your school. A course rep is not only the face of the year, the voice that speaks on behalf of the year but is also an influential, inspiring person. People look up to you and are always watching you, you have to be ready to be an example, a guide to help navigate some through the course, or a friend for those when the course gets tough. Yes there is the academic part where you make changes on behalf of your year, but I’ve found the greatest impact of a course rep is when you help change your year.

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Diary of an Architecture Student Volunteer in Lesvos: Falafel, Bathtubs and Sass

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Fig. 1 – Shower Architects Leo, Pierre and Louis, photo by Silvia Converso

The day finally arrived when we made Falafel! Our brava mamma Silvia’s goal was going to be accomplished. She is so motivational and sweet, everyone got pumped up to cook Falafel. Jeremy, although having had his foot cooked in the soup in an accident, still managed to bring it together and do his magic tricks in the kitchen with the help of Chiara. Together with Riki and his awesome music   (http://www.rikvanhegen.de/ ) we had a great time. Meanwhile Pierre and Leo developed the shower and bathtub that me and Riki discussed could be controversial for some of the ‘Conservative New comers’ as both men and woman would use it, but proved to be very enjoyable.

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Fig. 2 and 3 – Falafel, photos by Silvia Converso

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Fig. 5 – Pump and water Tank , Photo by Silvia Converso

Later I decided to ditch the over politicized meeting going on that day and decided to help Riki set up more tents for the families that had arrived at the camp throughout the evening. A very interesting part of this experience was to have met Jalal, the head of Adidas Syria, one of his wives and Maya, the smartest 9 year old girl I have ever met, I saw a lot of myself in her so we got along really nicely.

Jalal asked me to get cosy by the fire with all the rest of the Syrian families. He also insisted I would wear his goat skin handmade cape he brought with him from Syria, which was incredibly comfortable. He asked me how old I was to which I replied 20. I then asked him how old he was to which he answered 40. Yet his wife made it clear to tell me that he was lying, ‘No! He is lying, he is 50!’ she said, clearly making fun of him. She was so sassy and she knew English better than Jalal. He showed me some pictures of these 4 beautiful women. ‘Are they your sisters?’ I asked, ‘No they are my wives, do you want to become the 5th?’ he said jokingly. He then showed me some pictures of his baby daughter who was back in Turkey, I believe, with her mother.

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Fig. 5 – The best shower I have ever had

Meanwhile, Riki, Theresa and Maya kept putting up tents for the influx of people wanting to stay around for the night. I was then confronted with a rather panicky situation. This guy came to me and asked me to help him look for a young boy with a red scarf, he didn’t introduce himself so I was suspicious. I told him to wait and left in order to discuss it with Paty. The man soon heard us talk and immediately intervened: ‘I am a translator from Moria, there is a kid who disappeared from the camp and we have been looking for him all around the island. I am sorry for not having introduced myself properly ’, to which I said ‘I am sorry, I had to be suspicious’ then left him with Paty to sort it out. A lot of Children have gone missing and this is very worrying. Some might have fallen to the hands of human traffickers and others have possibly been adopted yet a lot of the information is not clear about what happened to these missing children.

On a more positive note, I had the best shower of my made up of recycled wooden pallets and UNHCR covers. Malik and Louis also took a shower to test it, soon we tried to get more people to try the shower. It worked with a pump made from a recycled plastic box, a storage container that had been insulated with blue foam and a heat exchanger which feed off timber bits on fire.

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Fig. 6 – Making the bathtub, photo by Silvia Converso

Pierre’s bathtub invention was a big hit, all the volunteers were getting their clothes off to get in the bath tub, some more than others felt comfortable enough, to be completely free of any piece of clothing.  So there we were sitting in the bathtub half to completely naked next to a group of conservative Muslim refugees playing music with Jeremy whilst sharing food and snacks with people and admiring the stars in the sky. What a great vision that was to be a part of. Indeed there is hope for a peaceful blend of cultures. We need not to be overly attached to big theories of life, we need nothing but our gut feelings and an open mind as well as sense of humour and empathy in order to connect with people. As Aurora puts it in one her most recent songs ‘Warrior’: “Let Love conquer your mind.”

We should all live by these words.

By Luisa Pereira Pires, Stage 3

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Fig. 7 – Louis and Leo, Heat Exchanger feed on wood
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Fig. 8 – Rik and some of the kids, photo by Silvia Converso

The Students of the MSc in Architectural Conservation Restore a Regency Church at Sheerness

The students of the MSc in Architectural Conservation have worked under the direction of Dr. Nikolaos Karydis on the restoration of the Regency Dockyard church in Sheerness-on-sea. Designed by George Ledwell Taylor in the 1820s, and one of the few remaining historic dockyard churches in the UK, this monument was tragically destroyed by fire in 2001. The students’ work on the restoration of the building reveals its significance and shows how to recapture it.

KSA Staff and Students taking part in ‘Questions of Space: A Festival of Ideas’

Canterbury Cathedral is hosting ‘Questions of Space: A Festival of Ideas’ which will be running on the 20 & 21 June 2016. This will include a series of public talks, walks, sights and sounds. The Festival of Ideas is a partnership between Canterbury Cathedral and the University of Kent.

As part of the Festival, staff and a PhD student from KSA will be hosting their own events at the Cathedral:

Richard Watkins
Hot Air
Experiment
The vast spaces of Canterbury Cathedral hold 100 tonnes of air, continually moving and sometimes creating draughts. Using helium balloons to see where the air goes, we aim to find out how to improve air flow.

Carolina Vasilikou
Thermal Delight
Walk & Exhibition
Thermal qualities – warm, cool, humid, airy, radiant, cosy – are an important part of how we experience space. This walk invites you to help measure and test the different sensory qualities across Cathedral spaces and precincts to understand how they make us feel and why.

Gordana Fontana-Giusti
Bird’s Eye View
Exhibition & Talk
We will be delving into the archives to discover Christopher Packe, who in the 1700s climbed Bell Harry Tower to get a “bird’s-eye view” of East Kent and, with the help of his theodolite (an instrument for taking precise measurements) created a new kind of map.

Tim Fox-Godden
Ypres to Canterbury
Exhibition & Talk
This exhibition is about how we commemorate war thought architecture and monuments. A huge panoramic photograph taken at Buffs Road Cemetery in Ypres, France, brings feelings of loss and sacrifice at the Western Front to Canterbury Cathedral Bastian Chapel.

For full details, including all the events and booking information, please visit: www.kent.ac.uk/publicengagement/questions-of-space.html