KSA students win AIA UK Student Charrette 2017

The Kent School of Architecture are delighted to announce that the 8 person KSA team consisting of Andra-Lilian Oprea, Andrew Caws, Anna Reeves, Colleen Laurent, Elliot Bennett, Kyle McGuinness, Shefield NG and Zhi Bin Cheah has won this year’s American Institute of Architects Student Design Charrette held at the Roca Gallery in London, seeing off strong challenges from contemporaries at UCA, Ravensbourne, Oxford Brookes, Robert Gordon, Portsmouth and Westminster universities.

The AIA’s now well-established charrette is an opportunity for UK design students to collaborate and compete in teams being mentored by practising architects over the course of a suitably intense (but fun) day of creativity. This year’s brief, set in the Chelsea Harbour area and environs surrounding the Roca Gallery, invited architectural and urban speculations based around the idea of food or beverage production, consumption and distribution of a chosen, or invented, product drawing inspiration from this area of London being the home of the Chelsea bun.

The judges were won-over by the students’ inspired proposal for converting the site’s old power station into a speciality bread-making factory re-establishing a sense of place with a production, distribution and consumption cycle based on the local tide. This was further enhanced by reusing the chimneys to infuse the neighbourhood with the smell of freshly baking breads(!) giving a much needed sense of identity, and more wholesome character, to the this area’s ongoing mix of bland or blingy redevelopment.

Special thanks due to the unwavering encouragement of our mentor Bea Sennewald throughout the day, along with excellent AIA organisation and generous support from Roca and Laufen for hosting.

Feature image by Braima-Edusei Owusu-Nyantekyi. For further information, please refer to the AIA blog and photo gallery. 

Jef Smith – Stage 3 lecturer



Urban landscape

Kick-off of the largest externally funded project the School has witnessed

The School’s CASE Centre has been awarded major funding to carry out fundamental experimental research “Urban albedo computation in high latitude locations: An experimental approach”. A better understanding of urban albedo will provide a powerful method to help mitigate the effects of global warming by allowing more accurate computer simulation of building performance.

The £900,000 EPSRC-funded project was conceived and largely developed by Dr Giridharan Renganathan who along with the rest of the team secured support from major stakeholders, from professional bodies, to local government and industry partners.  The investigators are currently working with Kent Estates to identify a suitable site within the campus for building a large experimental model of specific areas of London.

Dr Renganathan is presenting at the London Climate Change Programme (LCCP) heat risk group meeting and UKCP18 briefings later this month.

[Feature picture by Vladimir Kudinov]

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou becomes the new WIMEK visiting research fellow

The CASE Director, Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou has been awarded the competitive WIMEK visiting research fellowship.  She will be visiting Wageningen University, where she will be working with Dr Sanda Lenzholzer from the Landscape Architecture group, on urban climate and climate responsive design of outdoor space.

They are currently focusing on suitable methods to study the physical and psychological dimension of thermal perception and they are developing a special issue for the Journal of International Biometeorology.

Architecture hosts open lectures for the 50th Festival weekend

On Saturday 5th September, Professor Gerald Adler and Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt will be giving lectures as part of the 50 Festival celebrations. Both lectures are open to all and there is no need to pre-book your place.

11am to 12pm – Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1

Professor Gerald Adler [1] – Fifty years of campus design. The University of Kent’s Canterbury campus index of British architecture.

The 1960s, ’70s, ’80s. ’90s and noughties was a period of unprecedented growth in UK higher education. How was its burgeoning population of students, academics and support staff accommodated? This lecture examines key buildings on the Canterbury campus, and demonstrates how they exemplify the architecture of the British New Universities that stand, more generally, for the changing character of buildings in the UK in the five decades since the establishment of the University of Kent.

2pm to 3pm – Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt [2] – Between Science and Politics How Victorian scientists developed and assessed the House of Commons’ ventilation system

Dr. Schoenefeldt’s new research reveals how Victorian scientists developed the House of Commons’ historic ventilation system, following a process that was not concerned with technical questions alone but was also highly political. Scientists were confronted with the nearly impossible challenge of maintaining a climate and atmosphere that would satisfy all parties occupying the debating chamber.

Please visit the official 50 Festival website [3] for further event details.

Huguenots and Walloons: Immigrants in South-East England

Netherlandish architectural influence was the subject of a paper presented by Alison Charles from the Kent School of Architecture at a local history study day held at the University of Kent Tonbridge Centre on 23rd June, 2015. The event focused on Huguenot, Flemish and Walloon immigrants in south-east England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and highlighted their contribution to and wider influence on, among other things, the built environment. Alison’s paper discussed her research into stranger accommodation in Kentish towns and provided an overview of Netherlandish-inspired buildings in east Kent. These topics are related to the part-time Architectural History PhD she is undertaking in CREAte, KSA’s Centre for Research in European Architecture.

Broome Park - Alison Charles

Image attribution:

Interpretation of a photograph of Broome Park taken by Julie Anne Workman [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Literary Language: An Architectural Design Tool


An architectural PhD is an odd beast; we deal with design, space and physical phenomena and we have to write about it. Yet, in previous stages of our architectural education we draw and model our thoughts rather than construct them with words. This dichotomy is not just a part of the PhD though; it is inherent in all phases of the architectural education. Why write when you can draw? Why speak when you can pin up work and let it do the talking for you? My research examines this and asks ‘Can we use language as a part of the design process instead of pushing it aside?’

In order to discover whether language, specifically literary language, can be used as an aspect of design I have looked at The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake. He created a vast architectural environment for his characters to inhabit. It is not only his fictional creations that exist in this world, however. When you read you become a part of the text, you can explore his spaces because he shows you them. He pauses the events taking place and then describes the space containing them as if it were one of the characters. So these spaces become a reality, an imaginary reality, but still fully formed and ripe for exploration. So much of architecture is personal and created by our imagination: we guess what is behind the next corner, we remember places we have visited and we understand our environment by telling stories. We then describe these experiences with words; we talk and write about them so that we can share them with others.


In my research I want to show that words can form space, so I have taken Mervyn Peake’s description and drawn his spaces architecturally. Using his text and my interpretation of it, I have examined his use of language and shown that space can be shaped from only words. This means that a large part of my PhD is formed of drawings and models (as well as a great deal of writing). From these I show that if language can create space then we can design using language. The visual results of this study are being exhibited in the Studio 3 Gallery from the 13th to the 24th of July so why not come and see these spaces for yourself?

CREAte Symposium – Parallel Motion: Modernism and Dystopia in European Planning ca. 1935 – 1950

CREAte are pleased to announce that their next symposium will be taking place on Thursday 25th June 2015. The event is being organised by CREAte (Centre for Research in European Architecture) as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Kent School of Architecture, and will be graciously hosted by the Twentieth Century Society.

KSA staff and students will get in free with their University ID, others can pay through the 20th Century Society either online or at the door.

Parallel Motion: Modernism and Dystopia in European Planning ca. 1935 – 1950

In the 1930s the field of planning in Europe became established at the regional and even national scales, embracing the drive towards modernisation through the creation of new infrastructure such as highway systems and electrification projects. At the same time, countryside planning and related conservation efforts aimed to protect and integrate historic and natural landscapes. The advent of World War II provided a new impetus to planning at all levels, for it demanded the mobilisation of all forces, not only military. European planners continued to look beyond the end of the War, envisioning a new, more orderly world of the future. As the historian Niels Gutschow recently noted, one British planner referred to the destruction of Coventry as a ‘blessing in disguise’, for it provided a blank slate for new plans.

To register for the event, please visit the Twentieth Century Society website or contact Dr David. H. Haney for further information.