Despite the elements being against them, Stage 1 stuck it out and stayed the night in the shelters which they had constructed. On Tuesday morning, it would appear that all the shelters survived the night and the occupants remained safe and dry!
Winners; Joe Oswald, Andrew Warwick and Ed Sutcliff said that their project took quite a long time to plan and design. One of the challenges they faced was that the design used up all the available materials so there was no margin for error. They found that as the construction of their shelter went on, small parts of their design had to be adapted to give them the structure they needed.
Stage 1 Design Tutor, Henry Sparks, commented on the shelter’s interesting design and said it worked very well.
Well done to all our Stage 1 students for the success of their Shelter Project and congratulations to Joe, Andrew and Ed for their impressive end result.
Stage 3 – BA (Hons) Architecture
The first meeting with our mentor took place in the UCA on Thursday 14 November. After the group talk to all participants of the programme each of the mentees had chance to talk to their assigned mentors.
My mentor is an architect based in a London architects firm. He seemed to be very excited to work with us as he used to have external mentors whilst he was a student and thought it was a very valuable experience. He showed us the project that he was currently working on in Camden, London. He brought with him a lot of drawings of the construction starting from general room plans and finishing on the design of tiny details like the sockets. We were overwhelmed by the number of drawings that were drawn only the one family house. I knew before that the work we do at University is only a tiny part of the ‘real-life’ projects. However, this exceeded all my expectations.
Our mentor made a great impression on me and I know I will learn a lot from him.
We arranged the second meeting two weeks later in the London office. Despite the fact that we had to get the very early train to London, and I’m not used to getting up so early, I was very excited for the upcoming meeting.
First impressions of the office was that it was of average size. We were introduced to the whole team and our mentor explained the role of each individual working at the practice. Then he gave us a quick tour around the office. I quite liked the idea of storing samples of materials so that every time you design something or describe your ideas to the client you can use them. Afterwards, our mentor took us to his desk and showed us other projects they do. It was very fascinating to see real projects from conceptual drawings to the photographs of them being realised and inhabited.
I felt that the most interesting part of the visit was about the everyday life of an architect and things they have to deal with that are not necessary connected with architecture. Our mentor told us that he never spends a whole day on designing as he has a lot of different things to do that we’re not taught at school. He showed us that with the exception of CAD and Photoshop we also have to become familiar with other programmes we wouldn’t necessarily have expected to use. For instance, they have to use Excel all the time to keep track of the costs, expenses and earnings of the project. Also he showed us that there are a lot of publications that we can read while struggling with the legal and contractual procedures.
Later we went to the construction site of the house we were told about on our first meeting. The house is located in Camden and is nearing completion. However, the final finishing work is still going on and is due to be completed in spring 2014, with the practice refurbishing and redesigning the whole thing. It was very exciting to see the building after seeing the drawings beforehand. We’ve also now met the owner of the house and the lady told us that it’s a shame we didn’t see the house in the state they purchased it in as it has already changed dramatically. Our mentor promised us that he will show us the pictures as they record every stage of the project. Some parts of the building were built from scratch, for example a beautiful sculptural staircase which will become a central and focus point of the house. I liked it a lot. We were shown some interesting details and were told a couple of stories about the construction of the property.
After the site visit we went to the nearby café to talk about what we had just seen and got to ask any questions that we had. Our mentor spoke in more detail about his experience of first starting in practice and gave us a lot of great tips and advice for the future. The next meeting is arranged for after Christmas break.
Kent School of Architecture (KSA) recently hosted a visit (16 October) by prominent figures from leading architectural institutions in China.
Organised by the British Council, Beijing, the delegation was led by Professor Zhu Wenyi, Vice President of the Architecture Society of China and Dean of Tsinghua University’s School of Architecture. He was accompanied by 10 colleagues from five other Chinese universities, who were interested to discuss long-term collaborations with KSA. These discussions included opportunities for staff and student exchanges, as well as research collaborations.
This was the second stage in a collaboration that began with an invitation to KSA’s Professor Gordana Fontana-Giusti from the British Council, Beijing, earlier in 2013. The collaboration, which involves partners from the Architectural Society of China, one of the most important professional organisations under the Ministry of Housing and Rural-Urban Development of China, involves six prominent Chinese universities well-known for their architectural departments and four selected UK universities with interests in UK/China higher education collaboration in the areas of architectural, urban and industrial heritage design.
Professor Fontana-Giusti, who is Director of CREAte (Centre for Research in European Architecture) at KSA, said: ‘On behalf of the School, I was delighted to welcome students and colleagues from China. The students have taken part in seminars and lectures at the School of Architecture that enabled them to learn more about the education in the United Kingdom, while our discussions with Professor Zhu Wenyi and his colleagues helped us to identify areas of further exchange and research collaboration.’
Also welcoming the Chinese delegation were Deputy Head of KSA Professor Gerald Adler, KSA’s Director of Research Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, its Director of Internationalisation Dr Manolo Guerci, Director of Learning and Teaching Michael Richards, Dr Nikolaos Karydis and representatives from the University’s International Development Office.
Over the summer, our new Stage 1 students were given several tasks to complete before the start of term. One of these tasks; Collected History asked students to decorate a shoebox and present a collection of memories that they felt defined them and the environments which have shaped and positioned who they are so far.
Design Tutor Rebecca Hobbs was particularly impression with student Ben Nourse’s box.
Commenting on his box, Ben said:
My aim for the box was to convey a three dimensional memory map/collection, leading to my current position in life. I focused the composition around, what I consider one of my key memories, building my treehouse with my dad. The treehouse in particular opened various doors for me which are now vital to my life. Creating the box has allowed me to reflect on my journey, from a naive five year old boy, to a first year at the KSA.
The first year students on the BA Architecture course at the University of Kent will camp out on the grass adjacent to the Marlowe building in shelters that they have designed and made on the evening of Monday the 28th of October 2013.
The project is aimed to give the first year students an insight into the practical side of real live building. They have to design the structure to withstand wind and gravity and also organise the waterproofing. They have to do this with only a limited palette of materials which tests their ingenuity.
The shelters have to survive for one night then the materials are recycled as far as is possible, some parts ending up in architectural models later in the year.
This is a project, which has been run for several years, always proves to be great fun for all (even if the participants do get wet!). There is a prize awarded the following morning (Tuesday) by the head of Kent School of Architecture for the most innovative and successful shelter.
The shelters will be erected during the morning and afternoon of Monday the 28th of October and you are invited to visit the construction site.
Stage 3 – Student Mentoring Scheme
Due to its success in previous years, we will again be taking part in the RIBA mentoring scheme. The scheme is offered to third year undergraduates to support them during their studies and to help prepare them and provide guidance for their forthcoming year out.
The first meeting between the mentors and the students is due to take place mid-November, with continued contact throughout the academic year. The mentors are usually RIBA Chartered Architects with a wealth of experience in practice around the UK and/or abroad. The role of the mentor is to provide the students with an insight into the business of architecture and the experience of practice (for example site visits). Mentors may also help with advice on issues such as portfolio presentation, interview techniques, CV writing and presentation techniques to name a few.
We have had continued positive feedback from our students that have been involved with the scheme in the past. Many have commented on how the scheme provides invaluable advice for architecture students in their final year who are preparing for their year out. The site visits have been highlighted as being particularly useful for seeing a project develop through its various stages.
MArch Student Srimathi Aiyer is currently taking part in the 4th annual Exhibition run by the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust entitled ‘Growth’. This exhibition contains work from the Trust’s bursary scholars and shows how these individuals have achieved both academic and professional success.
‘The sub-theme behind this year’s exhibition is based on the idea of ‘Growth’. After three successful exhibitions at Scott Brownrigg, we decided that the message portrayed this year should reflect our growth and maturity within architecture. Our common interest is the built environment; we pursue ways to improve on it, to ignite excitement and inspiration in the next generation of designers and architects’ (Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust).
The exhibition will be running from the 7th October to the 29th November 9am-6pm at Scott Brownrigg, 77 Endell Street, London WC2H 9DZ.
Exhibitors: Oscar Barnabas, Osita Nwachukwu, Kirk Morisson, Srimathi Aiyer, Nichelle Channer, Marcus Brown, Andrew Osula, Lisa Basu, Adam Malekzadeh and Yinka Danmole.
Dr Richard Watkins was invited to give a lecture to MSc students at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Machynlleth, Wales on 20 September 2013. His talk, “Climate change and our built environment – what’s going on and what do we need to do?” was timely as the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”) was about to publish its fourth assessment on global warming.
The students of CAT’s MSc course “Renewable Energy in the Built Environment” were presented with the theory and the evidence behind global warming and its attribution to mankind’s impact on the troposphere. The impact of the UK’s emissions of about 0.5 Gt CO2/year were put into perspective with the global emissions of 30 Gt/year. However, much of the UK’s emissions have been “exported” as much of our manufacturing is now carried out overseas in countries which often have poorer pollution control and less efficient power generation. It’s important for the developed countries to set an example in reducing the environmental impact of their built environment and their economies in general – unless we want the rest of the world to attempt to adopt our energy profligate ways, which would have devastating consequences.
Students were also given an insight into how the elevated temperatures of the urban environment (urban heat islands) should be viewed in relation to the current projections for future rising temperatures. Overall, the audience was advised to adopt a prudent approach and to design our future buildings to cope with a four degree rise in external air temperature this century.
The first review and presentation event related to the collaborative research project ‘Interrogating the technical, economic and cultural challenges of delivering the passivhaus standard in the UK’ was held on 2 October. The review was chaired by the PI Henrik Schoenefeldt and the reviewers which included; Keith Bothwell, Patrick Osborne (Lee Evans partnership) and Tanisha Raffiudin (Passivhaus Trust).
The research presentations were based on the findings of preparatory research conducted over the summer of 2013. There were 9 MArch Stage 5 students and 3 BA (Hons) Stage 3 students who were involved with the research. Each presentation focused on one of the 13 case studies of the project and outlined some of the specific themes and research questions to be explored at the next stage of the project.
The presentation were followed by feedback sessions and group discussions, investigating some of the specific aspects of each case study as well as some of the overarching themes. The day allowed all the researchers involved to share their findings with the rest of the team, to have discussions about some of the common themes and to identify areas that will become focus of the research at the next stage.