Digital Architecture Open Lecture: Milad Showkatbakhsh

The next DARC (Digital Architecture Research Centre) will be given by Milad Showkatbakhsh with his talk titled, ‘Evolution as a Design Model’ on Tuesday 11 February at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Evolutionary Algorithms have been used extensively in recent years to mimic the principles of evolutionary science to solve common real-world problems through search and optimization procedures of single or multiple objectives. Ranging from the fields of economics to politics and music to architecture, evolutionary algorithms have proven to be an efficient problem-solving technique to find multiple trade-off solutions for problems that possess multiple design objectives that conflict with one another. Precedence for the application of an evolutionary model as a problem-solving strategy dates back to the early 20th century. It has since developed into a model that has been applied in a multitude of different fields to provide solutions to problems that required objectivity, optimality and efficiency. Within the design field, applications of biological evolutionary principles have been seen through the work of many architects/planners/designers throughout the second half of the 20th century (Batty, 2013; Coates, 2010; Weinstock, 2010; Marshall, 2008; Frazer, 1995; Steadman, 1979).

This lecture expands on the theory behind evolutionary computation, its foundation in biological evolution and its significance as a model in design. The lecture will culminate by presenting the application of evolutionary computation as a design methodology in a range of scales and complexities using Wallacei, a robust evolutionary multi objective optimisation engine.

Milad holds M.Arch. from Pratt Institute in New York, where he graduated with the Sidney Katz award for design excellence in 2015. He is currently a Doctoral candidate at the Architectural Association researching under the directorship of Dr. Michael Weinstock. Milad has worked for several architecture and design practices in Tehran, New York and Shanghai. Alongside practicing, he has been a fellow researcher in different computer-aided design research projects which were culminated as published papers in peer reviewed journals and conferences, posters and robotically fabricated installations. Milad has been actively teaching in academia in graduate and postgraduate courses and international architectural and computational workshops. Milad is currently teaching in the EmTech program at the AA and is also the co-director of the Istanbul branch of the AA Visiting School, where he is using his knowledge of evolutionary principles in the design and development of architectural projects that range in scale and function. Among many professional and academic activities, He is the Co-Founder and Co-Developer of ‘Wallacei,’ an evolutionary multi-objective optimisation engine with an embedded analytics engine that allows users to have full control over their optimisation problems in Grasshopper 3D. Milad’s current research focuses on the application of biological principles of evolution and morphogenesis into the design processes. For complex design problems, the priority should be given to how to formulate the question rather than finding an answer.

All welcome!

CREAte Open Lecture: Adam Richards

The next CREAte Open Lecture will be given by Adam Richards with his talk titled, ‘Playing with time – fiction and history in recent projects’ on Tuesday 18th February at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Adam Richards will talk about the ideas and themes that have informed some of his recent projects, including Nithurst Farm and Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft. Adam Richards is a British architect whose work has encompassed architecture, interior design, furniture and landscape design. Adam Richards Architects is an award winning practice recognised for its work on a range of arts, heritage and cultural projects including the Ditchling Museum of Art and Crafts. The practice has a particular interest in architectural history and cultural continuity within contemporary situations.

All welcome!

Interested in Postgraduate Study? Join one of our Google Hangouts to find out more

Kent School of Architecture and Planning are pleased to announce we will be hosting a series of Google Hangouts for prospective students and current applicants interested in our postgraduate courses. These events are free, and will be held online, hosted by our respective programme directors. The full list of dates and times are below:

To book your place on any of our online Google Hangouts, please email ksapadmissions@kent.ac.uk with the Google Hangout(s) you would like to attend, and the email address you would like your invitation sent to.

KASA Open Lecture: Jamie Fobert

The first KASA Open Lecture of 2020 will be given by Architect and designer, Jamie Fobert with his talk titled, ‘Art and Architecture’ on Tuesday 4th February at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Since he established Jamie Fobert Architects in 1996, Jamie has consistently produced innovative and inspiring architecture in projects ranging from individual houses to high quality retail and significant public buildings for the arts. The practice has won a number of major public commissions for galleries including Tate St Ives in Cornwall and Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and the present major development of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Jamie Fobert Architects has grown into a substantial architectural practice with an outstanding reputation and has garnered several awards including the RIBA and English Heritage ‘Award for a building in an historic context’ and the Manser Medal. Tate St Ives was awarded the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year and shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2018. In 2019, Jamie Fobert Architects was chosen as ‘BD Architect of the Year’ in recognition of the practice’s work on public buildings. Jamie was appointed CBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours in 2020.

Jamie has developed a very careful language of form and materiality that responds with great specificity to every project and its place. He makes architecture that is built with and around light, driven by functionality, ease of use, and the sociability that architecture can foster. Through intense and careful consideration of these issues, he is able to arrive at an architecture of practicality and beauty.

All welcome!

Postgraduate Research Seminar: Iliona Outram-Khalili

The first Postgraduate Research Seminar of the year will be given by Iliona Outram-Khalili with her talk titled, ‘Unity within diversity: Masonry, method and analogy in the Byzantine Church of Hagia Sophia, Thessaloniki’ on Wednesday 22 January from 4 – 5pm in the Digital Crit Space.

This PhD thesis proposes that load-bearing masonry architecture contains analogies for timeless, metaphysical truths, experienced with all the senses. How can one prove this if the mason-builders of the great historical cathedrals, mosques, palace precincts, and temples never wrote it down? There aren’t any masons who wrote, “while I was setting up the central compass I was meditating on God as the unitary source of all being, and then I started to build the dome in a circle and I thought, yes, the circumference depends on the centre but the centre does not need the circumference!”. Therefore, how can one show that the poetics of building could be an initiation into a holistic, creative meditation, and a journey to mature consciousness?

This thesis selects the typical 7-8th century Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia Thessaloniki, to compare the ritual actions and iconography with the masonry architecture; it is a unique example of this Byzantine dome-in-cross ‘typos’ because it has the core of its original mosaics, and in it the early liturgies are still celebrated. My research finds analogous themes in all three disciplines, enabling me to propose intention by the master masons to transmit such timeless and metaphysical truths through the architecture. This helps us to re-discover a language of architecture that guides humans to being in harmony natural environment, much needed at a time that humans are destroying the earth. The thesis also seeks to rediscover creative hands-on work as a healing for the individual and the community. It is to be hoped that the conclusions of this research are transferable to modern architecture and sustainable arts and technologies.

By Iliona Outram-Khalili, PhD Student

Invitation to MSc Bio Digital Architecture Google Hangout

Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) are pleased to announce we will be hosting a one-hour Google Hangout on Tuesday 3rd March for students interested in finding out about the latest addition to our postgraduate portfolio: MSc in Bio Digital Architecture. This course provides students with the skills and know-how to practice architecture at the cutting edge of digital design. The programme is designed to provide a theoretical basis of Computer-Aided Architectural Design as an academic discipline while simultaneously teaching the use of the computer for analysis of design problems and a tool for the generation of space and form.

Led by KSAP’s Director of Digital Architecture, Dr Tim Ireland, the course is primarily intended for graduates and professionals from a range of design backgrounds, including architecture, interior, graphic and urban design, who wish to develop computational techniques in architecture and gain the ability to use programming as easily as any other form of communication.

If you are interested in finding out more about the programme including course structure, entry requirements, career progression and more, please email ksapadmissions@kent.ac.uk to book your place on the MSc Bio Digital Architecture FREE online Google Hangout on Tuesday 3rd March from 11.00 – 12.00 GMT.

CREAte Open Lecture: John Goodall, Country Life

The next CREAte Open Lecture of the academic year will be given by John Goodall, Architectural Editor of Country Life, with his talk titled, ‘Under a spell: Gothic 1500 – 1700’. The lecture will take place on Tuesday 21 January at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

It is often supposed that the course of 16th century England abandoned its medieval traditions of architecture. In fact, medieval buildings continued to be admired and to shape English architecture. This lecture will explore some of the ways in which medieval architecture was preserved, imitated and understood prior to the Gothic revival in the 19th century.

All welcome!

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin to speak at University’s Roundtable on Heritage

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin is one of the speakers at the first in a series of Roundtables on Heritage, organised by the University’s Centre of Heritage under the direction of Dr Sophie Vigneron, Reader at Kent Law School. The event will look at the significance of historic buildings as cultural symbols, and how to address the problems and ethical questions that surround their restoration; i.e. who plays a role in the process? What kind of decisions are they making?

One of the central issues is that of the historical recreation, sometime referred to as ‘pastiche’ architecture, and this came to the fore particularly in the aftermath of the recent major fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Dr Brittain-Catlin will speak on the theme, ‘There is no such thing as pastiche’. He will be joined by the Surveyor to the Fabric of Canterbury Cathedral, Jonathan Deeming who will be speaking about ‘Challenges of preservation for the Cathedral of Canterbury’, Dr Emily Guerry from the School of History on the topic, ‘The history and identity of the Gothic cathedral’, and Andrew Edwards from Canterbury Cathedral Trust who will be finishing the evening off with, ‘Giving for a good cause, why give to heritage?’.

The first roundtable will be on Monday 20 January from 6pm – 8pm in the Moot court room, Widoger Law Building. The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception.

Interested in studying MArch? Sign up to one of our events!

Kent School of Architecture and Planning are hosting two upcoming MArch open events:

  • MArch Open Afternoon from 14.00 – 16.00 on Tuesday 3rd March 2020 in Studio C, Marlowe Building on the Canterbury campus.
  • For any international or overseas students interested in studying on the MArch programme, we will be hosting a Google Hangout on Wednesday 4th March 2020 from 12.00 – 13.00 GMT.

If you are interested in studying on the MArch programme, or have already applied, and would like to find out more information about the course structure, unit system, entry requirements and would like an opportunity to speak with the MArch programme director, Michael Richards, please email ksapadmissions@kent.ac.uk to book your place on either the MArch Open Afternoon taking place at Kent School of Architecture and Planning OR our virtual online event taking place on Google Hangout.

CASE Open Lecture: Kristen Guida, London Climate Change Partnership

The upcoming CASE (Centre for Architecture and the Sustainable Environment) Open Lecture will be given by Kristen Guida, manager at London Climate Change Partnership with her talk titled, ‘From Science to Policy – adapting London to climate change’ on Tuesday 28 January at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Adapting to climate change requires good evidence-based policy and interventions. That means making strong links between science policymakers, and practitioners across different sectors. The London Climate Change Partnership exists to facilitate those links and ensure that those responsible for making the city climate resilient have the best evidence at their disposal and the capacity to use it.

Kristen has been working for nearly fifteen years on climate change adaptation, currently as manager of the London Climate Change Partnership, and previously as director of Climate South East and Chair of Climate UK. Her major interest is in convening partners from across sectors and helping them work together to respond to the social and environmental challenges presented by climate change. In particular, she is interested in the social justice issues raised by climate change and the need to incorporate equity in adaptive planning. In her previous life, she worked on human rights, as a Senior Researcher on political rights, civil liberties and press freedom at Freedom House in New York.

All welcome!