APM Student Profile: Samantha Onyemenam

To me, being a mentor was an opportunity to give back to others by using my experiences and the things I learnt to motivate and help others through their time in the Kent School of Architecture.

I currently have one mentee, in the first year, who I have meetings with fortnightly. Similar to when I was in her position, she initially was a bit confused about what skills she needed to possess, what she needed to do to achieve brief requirements and how to prepare for crits. This prompted me to think about my time in first year: what I wish I knew, what I know now, what I wish I had done, the most effective ways I found to prepare for crits and seminar presentations and how those can help my mentee.

Fortnightly, we begin our meetings by going over the feedback from my mentee’s tutor and brainstorming ways that the feedback can enhance her design while considering ideas inspired by a wider range of precedents. Afterwards, we discuss aspects which my mentee is unsure about, such as particular terminology or ways she could effectively represent some of her ideas.

I believe that the mentoring scheme has not only been of benefit to my mentee, but also of benefit to me as it causes me to reflect on what I know, improve on my communication skills and be inspired by both old and new precedents, concepts and ideas that can enrich my designs. I will recommend this scheme to anyone who is considering being involved in it and I would be pleased to continue participating in it next year.

By Samantha Onyemenam
Stage 2, BA (Hons) Architecture

MA Architectural Visualisation students exhibit in Greece

The MA Architectural Visualisation course’s ‘Architectural Photography’ module taught us the fundamental principles of photographic creation and processing. Through this module, we were able to attain a comprehensive knowledge of light, exposure and color, and their application in architectural photography. The result is that we are now able to choose a photographic composition that maintains a balance of all the key parameters.

As part of the MA Architectural Visualisation programme, we had the opportunity to participate in the WEDO exhibition in the Athens School of Fine Arts with a selection of our digital and analogue photographs. WEDO team presents the collective art project GIVING, based on an idea of Panagiotis Siagreece and Athanasios Bathas, organized and curated by Maira Stefou and with the participation of 218 artists. The project was presented as a parallel event of the Platforms Project, at the Former Libary of the Athens School of Fine Arts, Piraeus 256, 17-20 May 2018.

CONCEPT: The universe is a unified unit consisting of the same material, governed by common rules and communicating energetically and dynamically. The lack of awareness of this treaty by man has led him to social individualism and psychic isolation. The philosophy of “I” instead of “we” invalidates the possibility of individual happiness that can only be achieved through the happiness of the whole of which the individual is an integral part. In an effort to comment on the above, we artists-individuals are united in a group, creating a collective unified work that we offer to the public, as a deposit of time (10 days) and as a product of this deposit, wanting to symbolically contribute in the union of the whole, reacting to the social and cultural collapse, catalyzing the classical elitist relationship between the artist and spectator and abolishing the restrictive economic transaction. Coexistence and co creation implies an action with artistic diversity and with the integration of identity as a difference (personal, style, name-anonymity, age) in a context of a shared aim, elements that are not common practice in group art events.

PROJECT: Each artist participates with 10 artworks 25cm x 25cm that have been attached to 25cm x 25cm styrofoam cubes, forming a single installation. Each cube includes works of different artists. During the project’s exhibition, a sum of money will be collected from those who receive works and from the public, which will be offered to the Center for the Training and Rehabilitation of the Blind.

By Rafaella Siagkri, MA Architectural Visualisation student

APM Student Profile: Giorgia Golzio

I am both a mentor and mentee, thus experiencing both sides to the Academic Peer Mentoring (APM) programme. I did not have a mentor in first year, however, I had heard a lot of positives about having one. This is what motivated me to become a mentor myself, as I knew how beneficial it could be for mentees, especially first year students who are completely new to the course. My experience as a mentee this year has also been extremely useful, so I would obviously want to be able to help someone else in the same way.

Mentor meetings are mainly a great opportunity to discuss anything you were not sure of or did not mention during design tutorials. Receiving multiple opinions is fundamental in Architecture as it offers you different angles in solving a design problem, and in turn broadening your creative mind. Mentors are different to design tutors as they share the struggle of the same or similar projects, meaning mentors have more of an insight into the demands of the course due to this prior first-hand experience. They also know the tutors much better than younger years and exactly what they are looking for in your designs.

I mentor four students in first year and I meet with them once a week for about an hour to discuss anything they need guidance with. An example of this could be how to develop floor plans or concepts. It is always interesting to see what ideas people in the year below you will come up with for the same projects you once did before as it opens your mind to ways of thinking that are different to your own, further improving the skill to be able to tackle design problems in multiple ways. Being a mentor is therefore great exercise for your own mind as you are constantly practicing and even developing your architectural skills.

The mentoring programme is also a great social opportunity. A feature that I love about the Kent School of Architecture is that the years all tend to mix and, as a result, I have made many friendships that I would not have anticipated if it were not for the environment at the school. The social aspect of APM also means you can work with people from the other years and exchange ideas or simply find inspiration out of conversations! This is so motivating as you are always surrounded by ideas bouncing back and forth, making the whole experience of the course much more engaging as you can bond with others about interests you share, in this case Architecture.

Whether you are a mentor or a mentee you can always benefit from APM, as it enhances your creative and social skills, both essential in the world of architecture for not only in terms of studies but also in the workplace itself.

By Giorgia Golzio
Stage 2, BA (Hons) Architecture

Dr Nikolaos Karydis: Lectures in Oxford, Athens and Paris

On Friday 11 May, Dr Karydis gave a lecture at Trinity College, University of Oxford. Entitled ‘Visualising Justinian’s Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople’, the lecture presented Karydis’ work on the church of the Holy Apostles, which will be published in a forthcoming Dumbarton Oaks volume. Other lectures Karydis delivered during this academic year included a paper on Early Byzantine Architecture at the Institut National de l’Histoire de l’Art in Paris (30/10/2017), and a lecture on 19th-Century, Greek Revival Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens (12/1/2018). A video recording of this lecture can be found through the following link: http://www.blod.gr/lectures/Pages/viewspeaker.aspx?SpeakerID=4982

 

Postmodern listings – A Turning Point in Building Conservation

Historic England has announced this week that a number of major postmodern buildings will receive listed building status, thus preserving this important period of British architecture for posterity. Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, CREAte member and deputy chairman of the Twentieth Century Society which campaigned for the change, hailed this as a major event in architectural conservation history.

Dr Brittain-Catlin said ‘The Twentieth Century Society sees this announcement as an important turning point. Many of these buildings were at serious risk, and some were already being damaged or destroyed. This decision by Historic England comes as a result of a long campaign by the Society to draw attention to the monuments of British postmodernism and the risk they are at. We were the first to organise a major symposium on the issue, we made a presentation at the RIBA with a group of highly influential speakers, and we have organised walking tours and sell-out lectures to spread the word. It is important when making the case to protect buildings that show that there is wide public interest in them.

‘We won an important battle to protect James Stirling’s No 1, Poultry in the City of London from mutilation, and this latest decision shows that we were in the vanguard of the movement to protect Britain’s best postmodern heritage.

‘We supported the successful campaign to protect Sir Terry Farrell’s Comyn Ching development in 2016. KSA and the CREAte research centre value very greatly our connection with Sir Terry and we are delighted to be playing this an active role.’

Architectural historians Elain Harwood and Geraint Franklin from Historic England recently published their book on post-modern buildings in Britain in collaboration with the Twentieth Century society.

Image: Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Charles Jencks’ Thematic House has been listed at Grade I.

KSA partners with the British Council on Venice Fellowships Programme

Kent School of Architecture is delighted to announce a partnership with the British Council on the 2018 Venice Fellowships Programme which forms part of the British Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. KSA will support three students to spend a month in Venice, conducting independent research and invigilating the exhibition, Island, curated by Caruso St John Architects working in collaboration with artist Marcus Taylor.

Students from the School of Architecture are given an exclusive opportunity to spend a month in Venice during one of the world’s most significant art and architecture exhibitions organised by La Biennale di Venezia, which will run from 26 May to 25 November 2018. They will be invigilating the British Pavilion and undertaking independent research projects while in Venice.

The Venice Fellowships Programme offers our students, graduates and researchers the opportunity to become actively involved in La Biennale di Venezia and gain first-hand experience of the British Pavilion, this year’s curators and their vision. We have selected some of our brightest students or most motivated researchers to Venice to embark on a unique personal and creative experience.

Professor Don Gray of Kent School of Architecture said, “Our students have benefitted from taking part in previous Biennales, and Kent School of Architecture is delighted to once again support the scheme and our talented students.  The experience of stewarding the pavilion and undertaking independent research projects is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Laura Broderick, Venice Fellowships Programme Manager, British Council said, “The Venice Fellowships programme is a fantastic international experience for students and graduates – with bespoke training in London, skills development opportunities at the British Pavilion, and a chance to expand networks across the UK. The Fellows are involved in research and the production of creative responses to the Biennale and Venice itself. This is key for our UK partners engaged in improving outward mobility and employability. For the British Council, it is very important to support emerging artists, architects, curators and researchers – and to place informed stewards at the heart of the British Pavilion .”

The British Pavilion at Biennale Architettura 2018, commissioned by the British Council, will be represented by the work Island from Caruso St John Architects working in collaboration with artist Marcus Taylor, with the construction of a new public space on the roof of the pavilion building.

Throughout Biennale Architettura 2018 the Pavilion of Great Britain will programme a unique series of events including poetry, performance, film and architectural talks and debates in response to Freespace and ideas raised by Island. The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion in Venice since 1937, showcasing the best of the UK’s artists, architects, designers and curators to an international audience.

The Fellowships programme was initiated in 2014 by the British Council to strengthen the British Pavilion contribution as a platform for ideas and research. This programme aims to educate and enrich the exhibition, making it a reference point for universities and arts institutions. The Fellowships offers a way of viewing and experiencing art and architecture that provides a new outlook on issues of public and private space, artistic process and display.

Sustainable Museums through the reuse of historic building services

Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt has been invited to speak about his current research project at the UK Spring Conference of the International Association of Museum Facilities Administrators (IAMFA), which is held at the Natural History Museum, London, on 3 – 4 May 2018. For the full list of speakers, see here.

He will be taking part in the main plenary session entitled‚ ‘The Technology Challenge Modernising Estates’ Systems‘. The event will be attended by 70 delegates, which include facilities managers from most major museums in the UK and Henrik will be will be exploring how findings of his current research project at the Houses of Parliament could be used to address questions of sustainability in historic museum buildings. The project investigates how far historic principles of ventilation could be reutilised and integrated within a modern sustainable system. As many museum buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth-century followed similar approaches to ventilation and as such the research can offer potential lessons for their refurbishment. Can the reuse of historic principles provide an alternative to the installation of completely new technologies?

Former MArch Student publishes paper in Health Environments Research and Design Journal

Former MArch student, Megan Catt, has published her paper, ‘The Reality of Wellbeing-Focused Design in Dementia Care – A Case Study of Acute Dementia Wards in the UK’ in the Health Environments Research and Design Journal (HERD), a USA based journal, supported by Kent School of Architecture’s Dr Giridharan Renganathan.

The paper studies the design of dementia wards in NHS hospitals, looking at wellbeing-focused design, an approach that considers the effects of the built environment on an occupant’s physical and psychological health. Dementia is a pressing health concern in the UK, with a high psychological care requirement. The potential for the built environment to reduce the impact of symptoms is significant, with an established body of research proving that by making even small adjustments to spatial design (with considerations for light, sound, quality of space, promoting social interaction and independence, maintaining privacy and dignity and triggering memories) improvements to patient health and care outcomes can be achieved, such as reducing falls, time spent in hospital, or blood pressure and stress. Design concepts for achieving these and other health improvements were analysed in the paper, and compiled into a framework of criteria that could be used to test for evidence of a ‘good’ dementia environment. The framework was used in several case studies, at wards which had recently undergone wellbeing-driven refurbishments. The observations, staff interviews, and testing against the framework, carried out during these visits highlighted successes and failures of the projects, showing where further progression is required in the creation of wards that passively assist health.

The research for this paper was originally undertaken for Megan’s MArch dissertation at KSA, where she looked at the design of wards for both dementia and maternity patients, two very different patient groups, each with specific psychological care needs. Since graduating in 2016, Megan has continued her research into the subject, focusing on design for dementia, with continued support from Giridharan Renganathan, who has helped me to develop the paper for publishing.