Lifting the veil for Dreamland

On Sunday 22nd March, Howard Griffin, MA Architecture and Visualisation Programme Director successfully projected onto the side of the old Dreamland cinema building in Margate. The Painted Veil, starring Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall and George Brent was the first feature film to be shown at the original cinema, which was built after the success of the Dreamland Amusement Park and was opened to the public on the 22nd March 1935.

Howard said “The aim of the installation was to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Dreamland Cinema building by projecting the first feature film to be shown in 1935.  The projection of The Painted Veil onto the facade of the cinema, rather than a simple canvas or screen, allowed the building itself to become an ‘actor’ in the display.  Seeing the brickwork ‘breathe’, coming alive with light of Greta Garbo was a gratifying experience and one which I hope was a fitting tribute to both film and building.”

Howard is also currently working with The Dreamland Trust to produce a series of time-lapse videos which show the restoration work being undertaken at the park, including the restoration of the Scenic Railway.

To view Howard’s other work and find out more, please visit

Research on Houses of Parliament featured in The Conservation

A new article by Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt was published by The Conversation and illustrates that the Palace of Westminster is actually a highly innovative building – despite its ‘crumbling fabric and antiquated network of environmental services’. The article, entitled How the Palace of Westminster gets rid of all that hot air in the House of Commons, goes on to explain that ‘the stack system which provided ventilation for the debating chambers for more than 90 years is one that is now being widely considered as a model for low-energy, sustainable ventilation in large public buildings’. Quite possibly to the extent ‘that the past could potentially inform the current renovation in a sustainable manner.’

To read article go to:

Immersive architecture

Imagine that in front of you stood a door, and I told you that on passing through this door you would be transported 160 million year into the past to the age of dinosaurs, you would say that I have lost my mind wouldn’t you? However, Renzo Piano would disagree with you, and so would I.

I have always been fascinated by immersive experiences, the Eden project in Cornwall being a fine example, and it would seem that one of the aspects which make them so enchanting is their collaboration with superlative architecture and interior design. The Eden project consist of two vast biomes designed using the concept of bio-mimicry which gives them their distinct bubble shape. This focus on bio-mimicry has facilitated a huge saving in weight and cost due to resource efficiency, in fact the resulting superstructure of the biomes weigh less than the air they contain. Because of the lightweight nature of the ETFE membrane used to create the hexagonal panels, the steel frame was therefore smaller meaning that the resulting structure as a whole let more light in. When viewed from the ground, amidst the dense rainforest and humid air, the relative ease in which your mind gets lost in this enchanting world is astonishing. The only reminder of the outside world coming when your eye is drawn upwards by the towering trees to a gap in the canopy which shows a fanciful hexagonal pattern soaring above you, for some reason the Hunger Games springs to mind.

When people ask me what form truly brilliant architecture comes in I tell them that for a piece of architecture to be truly brilliant, the form which it assumes is extraneous, more importantly therefore is a buildings ability to invoke emotion and feeling; something which when done well can have a profoundly personal effect on those who visit it. Which is partly the reason why I believe architects such as Daniel Libeskind have received so much recognition for buildings such as the Jewish museum in Berlin, a building which cannot possibly be understood from its external appearance, but by the ineluctable emotional connection with the buildings interior spaces. In my opinion a utilitarian building designed solely for either financial or practical reasons cannot possibly be classed as architecture, this distinction should be reserved for buildings which are designed with the primary intention of provoking feelings in those who visit them. This is the reason for my appreciation of immersive architecture.

JurassicaSaying this, due for completion in 2021 is what will be the worlds largest immersive Jurassic experience, known as ‘Jurassica’, designed by Renzo Piano. Unlike the Eden project, the environment contained within this space is not a replica of an already existing global ecosystem, but a replica of an ecosystem unfamiliar to the human race, that of the Jurassic period. A huge roof structure will cover a 250,000 cubic metre quarry in Portland England, and beneath this roof will exist a Jurassic world complete with animatronic moving replicas of the fauna from this period, on both land and in water. The location of Jurassica will be ideally located in close proximity to the Jurassic coastline, a place where much of the research and collection of prehistoric fossils currently operates, and will provide a much needed visual aid to assist in the education and experience of this fascinating period of time.

Jurassica 2

The aim of the project is to not only to create the largest Jurassic experience, but to ensure that it is also the most accurate representation of this long lost time. The project has already attracted many distinguished figures in support such as Sir David Attenborough.

Immersive architectural environments can be very easy to achieve on a small scale, it is however far more difficult to achieve on a larger scale. The Eden project is a fine example of how immersive environments can be extremely captivating places to experience because the architectural forms employed are intended to focus our attention on their contents, while producing an external appearance which draws us in. Jurassica certainly seems to tick all of the boxes in this sense, which promises that we may soon be experiencing a truly magnificent immersive space not only because of its educational nature, but also because of it’s fantastic architectural prowess.

I look forward to the day when we can all pass through the door standing in front of us, and immerse ourselves in history.

By Edward Powe – Stage 2 BA (Hons) Architecture

Image credit – Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Jurassica 2014

Lifting the veil for Dreamland

Howard Griffin, MA Architecture and Visualisation Programme Director will be projecting at Dreamland Cinema this Sunday 22nd March from 7pm. Please come and show your support!

painted veil

Dreamland cinema, having closed in 2007, is currently a monument to a glorious past. This installation aims to celebrate that glorious past by invigorating the façade, reminding the public of the purpose of the building.  The projection will begin at 7pm and run the full length of the film (85 minutes).

The Painted Veil (1934)Dreamland Cinema was built as a fitting tribute to the success of the Dreamland Amusement Park and opened on the 22nd March 1935.  To celebrate 80 years of the cinema at Dreamland, Howard Griffin, from the University of Kent, has produced a projection installation.  The Painted Veil, starring Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall and George Brent was the first feature film to be shown at the new cinema.  To celebrate this occasion, the same film will be projected onto the cinema building, 80 years to the day, during the evening of the 22nd March 2015, together with information about the film, its cast and production company.

MGM Productions

Directed by Richard Boleslawski Starring Greta Garbo

Herbert Marshall George Brent

Dreamland Press Release, Friday 20th March 2015

Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt gives talk on Houses of Common at Queen’s College, Cambridge

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt is presenting recent findings of his research into the historic stack ventilation system of the Houses of Commons at the Second Annual Construction History Society Conference 2015. The paper is entitled ‘Reid’s short-lived ventilation system for the Permanent Houses of Commons, 1847-54’, and explores the original ventilation system that was designed and implemented by the Scottish physician David Boswell Reid between 1847 and 1847. Between its inauguration in February 1852 and its full destruction by German air raids in 1941, the ventilation system of the Houses of Commons underwent a series of transformations. The original system by Reid was only used for fourteen months before it was radically transformed by another physician: Goldsworthy Gurney. The design of Reid’s short-lived ventilation system in the Houses of Commons has not previously been studied by historians, but the research has revealed that its design was distinct from those Reid had deployed in the Temporary House of Commons or the system by which it was replaced in 1854. It was a highly sophisticated system, designed to overcome some of the limitations of the simpler stack ventilation system previously tested in the Temporary House. Over two years, the ventilation had been continuously monitored and subject of numerous scientific studies, yielding detailed insights into its performance and the political and technical difficulties that led to its fall in 1854. This is the first study to reconstruct the design and performance of Reid’s design for the Permanent House of Commons and the influence of the Temporary Houses.

This paper presents a brief overview of the findings of a larger research project undertaken by the author, entitled Inquiries into the Historic Ventilation System of the Palace of Westminster, 1837-1924

Schoenefeldt, Henrik, (2015) ‘David Boswell Reid and the Permanent Houses of Commons’, in Proceedings of the Second Annual Construction History Society Conference 2015 and International Colloquium on Construction History, 20-21 March 2015, Queens’ College Cambridge, Paper 15.

Cross-section of Houses of Commons Ventilation, 1850-54 (Author: Schoenefeldt)

Dr Schoenefeldt has written an article about his recent research for The Conservation. To read the article, please click here.

Student Profile – Srimathi Aiyer

shrimpySrimathi Aiyer

5th Year Master in Architecture (MArch) Student

I was brought up in Stratford, East London, with a family originating from South India. I discovered I was into illustration from an early age and I still draw cartoons as a hobby to this day in my spare time. I get most of my inspiration for anything creative I do from film, animation and world travel.

Why did you choose KSA? 

I am impressed that KSA has increasingly gained recognition both in the league tables and general word of mouth as a school with a wide curriculum that covers design, technology and cultural aspects. I feel the modules being taught covers the essentials needed, without it completely focusing on the artistic or theoretical side alone; therefore that broad range of teaching is what convinced me to join KSA. Canterbury is also a beautiful place to live in and there are easy travel links toLondon and other neighbouring towns in Kent.

What are you currently working on? 

I am working on my final Masters thesis project, where the site I picked is in America. I always have had a fascination for America, so to focus on historical and contextual interests from that country that influence my project is incredibly motivating and I am excited to see how my scheme turns out. I am currently designing a spa centre that revolves around the spiritual journey and thermal sensations of the four elements: earth, wind, fire and water.

shrimpy 2Tell us about your study period abroad 

Doing my Autumn term in Virginia Tech, USA as part of my 5th Year was an experience I will never forget. I got to immerse myself in new ways of teaching and approaches to design. Furthermore, I got to interact with tutors and students, not just from America but all around the world too. It was intense, but everyone helped each other in an enthusiastic studio environment. Washington DC was within close proximity, so I ensured I was on top of work before travelling around the city and other states in the USA. I think I got more of a reverse culture shock when I got back to the UK, rather than when I first arrived there!

How would you describe your architectural approach?

What I have discovered is my designs are simplistic on the outside, but I then attempt to break lines of symmetry inside and focus more on key moments or views as you turn a corner or generally move around a building. My proposals prioritise user experience, so there will be some moments where movement is controlled or slowed down and other times when it’s more open and free. Then the architectural language will be structured around that user approach and use.

What advice would you give to someone embarking on an architectural degree?

This is coming from someone who, at the age of eighteen, had stage fright, struggled with time management, had so mind blanks when searching for ideas and followed the crowd who would tell you that they never sleep or eat. It took time, but I have found myself in architecture and you can too if you put your heart into it. I can now say I have grown to a point where I do manage my work much better, I handle presentations a lot better and I do a lot more research and reading (and sketching too!) to get ideas. And you concentrate better in good health. It’s primarily two things: confidence and self-belief. And those are two qualities that don’t get graded but are celebrated a lot more in the end.

Student profile – Luísa Pires



Luísa Pereira Pires

2nd year bachelors


I am from Lisbon, Portugal and lived there for 15 years. I then moved to Bonn, Germany and then came to study here in Canterbury. I developed my love for architecture since I was very young, Lisbon is full of beautiful architecture and I am fascinated by it. As I grew up I developed an interest for Arts, Science and History, it became evident to me, at the age of 13, that I would want to become an architect some day.

– Why did you choose KSA?

I chose KSA because it is well located geographically , it is international and has a good reputation.

– What are you currently working on?

Currently I have just finished a proposal for the competition of the Eliot cloister garden which I did in collaboration with Aut. Our aim was to create an interactive structure that also delimited the public and more private spaces. We did this by designing an ellipse composed by timber slabs at different progressive angles that allows for shelter sitting and leaning. I am now working on my proposal for the Collective Dwelling module , for the town of Faversham as well as on my Form and Structure proposal for a roof.

louisaa-Which building or architect has had the greatest influence on your work?

I feel like it is still too early to define what architect or building greatly influences my work. Although I very much admire contemporary works such as “A placa” by Siza and works by Calatrava I also find traditional and historic buildings, such as Cologne Cathedral, inspiring. For me it is a matter of defining a context and circumstances and then look for inspiration by taking those into consideration.

– What advice would you give to someone embarking on an architectural degree? 

I have an advice given by Frank Ghery : You are the expert in your own work.  My own advice is you need to be able to handle criticism well enough to not let it affect the confidence you have in your work. You need to believe in yourself and not give too much importance to the grades that you get but pay close attention to the feedbacks because those are the ones that help you improve. Also you will learn that you are unique in the way you do things and that good Architecture is a subject almost always based on opinion.


Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin and Tim Fox-Godden to speak at the Graduate Student Research Forum

The third annual Graduate Student Research Forum, hosted by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain is being held on Saturday, 11th April 2015 at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin from the Kent School of Architecture has been invited to speak as part of a group of experienced practitioners, based on his recent book, Bleak Houses: Disappointment and Failure in Architecture, about alternative ways of writing architectural history. Joining him, will be one of our postgraduate students, Tim Fox-Godden, who will be presenting his research on ‘Sites of Memory Beyond Mourning? Remembrance and place in the war cemeteries of the old Western Front’.

Included in the panel of expert practitioners are Richard Anderson (University of Edinburgh), Kathryn Ferry (Freelance writer and scholar), Hannah Malone (Magdalene College, University of Cambridge), Chris Miele (Montagu Evans) and Olivia Horsfall Turner (V&A + RIBA Architecture Partnership), all of whom have vast experience in the fields of architectural history, conservation, and curatorship.

The practitioners will participate in panel discussions based on each postgraduate student’s ten minute presentations about their topic of research in a sequence of ‘Lightning Round’ talks. The idea of the Forum is to break away from the traditional conference atmosphere, and to create a lively and responsive environment where students, academics and professionals can freely discuss and exchange relevant knowledge and experience. To close the event, there will be a keynote address by Professor Iain Boyd Whyte from the University of Edinburgh.

For more information, please visit:

Architecture Careers Day


Our annual Careers Day event took place this Thursday 5th March in the Marlowe Building. Primarily aimed at final year undergraduate students, the aim of the day was to enlighten our 3rd year students on life after graduation, and what they may come to expect from working in the industry, along with some useful hints and tips from a wide array of practices.

The first part of the day was held in MLT1 where we had a series of practicing architects discuss their practice’s portfolios along with a brief discussion as to what they look for in potential applicants. The second part of the day was held in Studio A where the students got to ask those niggling questions about their CVs and portfolios, which created a lively and incredibly helpful workshop for all involved.

We’d of course, like to say a big thank you to all the architects who kindly attended our event from CDP Architecture, Lee Evans Partnership, Guy Holloway Architects, Clay Architecture, Prime Building Consultants, Bond Bryan Architects, Hazel McCormack Young and PRP.


Student Profile – Benjamin Nourse

Benjamin Nourse

Second Year BA (Hons) Architecture Student


– Tell us about yourself (Background etc)

I grew up in a rural region of North Essex. I’m fascinated in environmental and cultural conservation and finding new means in which to express interesting ideas. Architecture is our opportunity to make a spatial difference to the world. Architects and engineers are the creators of the future.

– Why did you choose KSA?

Canterbury has the perfect balance of world famous architecture and beautiful natural landscape. It is a completely awe inspiring place to live and work. The studio is a vibrant non-stop hub of ideas bouncing from all directions. The KSA itself, compared to other schools, addresses the scale of architecture in a far different way. We are encouraged to think out the box but not so far that the idea of the box no longer exists. The KSA teaches to combine environment, structure and design which fundamentally are the employable skills that can be applied to the real world. The school has a very intimate style of architecture that I couldn’t personally find anywhere else.

– What are you currently working on?

standard quay montage medium

A project based 300 years into the future. My site is based in Faversham with an approximate average of 3m above sea level. Based on future climate predictions made by the IPCC, I have devised a story for the next three centuries of Faversham. Unfortunately, it is a tale of a watery end for most of the land but also a story of drastic cultural preservation, including vast underwater tunnels and floating living developments. The idea is perhaps a ‘Noah’s Ark’ for culture, including many historical and yet to be historical inspirations. This project is a solution to a disastrous story that unfortunately, will happen.

Check out what else I’m up to:

– Which building or architect has had the greatest influence on your work?

Archigram, Kenzo Tange, Cedric Price, CJ Lim, Bryan Cantley.

– What advice would you give to someone embarking on an architectural degree?

Always be humble but as soon as you learn the rules, break them. Personally I’ve found that creativity and playfulness is the best way to approach architecture. It’s such a demanding complex subject, we too often forget to enjoy it.