Dr Nikolaos Karydis presents new discoveries in Byzantine Architecture at the University of Munich

Dr Nikolaos Karydis has been invited to present his recent work on the building phases of the church of St. Mary at Ephesus at the international conference: Transforming Sacred Spaces: New Approaches to Byzantine Ecclesiastical Architecture from the Transitional Period. The conference is organised by the Byzantine Institute of the University of Munich, and will take place at the State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich from the 13th to the 16th of May.

Virtual Heritage in Penang

Howard Griffin, Programme Director of the MA Architectural Visualisation, travelled to Penang, Malaysia to present his work on Virtual Heritage to members of the Georgetown Heritage Inc. and staff and students of the Universiti Sains Malaysia. The presentation looked at different aspects of digital integration in heritage work, including 3D site scanning, 3D animation and the use of CGI in the film industry.  The presentation also highlighted the work of the MA Architectural Visualisation students and English Heritage to ‘re-create’ St. Augustine’s Abbey and monastery in Canterbury using games engine technology.

The use of games technology to recreate historic buildings is seen as a key component in the dissemination of heritage knowledge.  Howard Griffin explained that the opportunity, “…for people to not merely view the past, but participate in it, is an important development.  We have seen this with games, such as Assassin’s Creed, in which the player is able to navigate the streets of ancient cities.”  Howard also went on to present the work to the students and staff at the Fakulti Senibina Perancangan & Ukur (Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Kuala Lumpur.

The initial phase of the St. Augustine’s Abbey project is due to be completed in May, when a second phase of evaluation and feedback on the immersive effects of the game will begin.  It is hoped that further collaborations on Virtual Heritage will be possible in the future.

Prof Raphaël Compagnon from the Ecole d’ingénieurs et d’architectes de Fribourg to visit KSA

Prof Raphaël Compagnon from the Ecole d’ingénieurs et d’architectes de Fribourg (EIF) University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland (HES-SO) will be visiting the Kent School of Architecture to work with Prof. Marialena Nikolopoulou, Director of the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment (CASE) and Christina Chatzipoulka, PhD student on 18th – 25th May 2014.

Prof. Compagnon is an internationally recognised expert on lighting and solar modelling of urban environments.  The collaboration with Kent will focus on the analysis of solar penetration in different urban textures in central London, an essential parameter for assessing the environmental performance of urban blocks.  During the visit Prof. Compagnon will provide his bespoke simulation tool PPF, which enables the solar analysis of urban models, with intensive training for the purpose of the project.

The visiting expert will also give a research seminar for post-graduate students and staff and will be involved in further meetings with members of the Kent School of Architecture, the Digital Humanities Group and the University.

The visit is funded by the Kent Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities (KIASH) and the Kent School of Architecture.

PassivHaus Conference 2014

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Delivering the PassivHaus Standard in the UK, and meeting its technical, economic and cultural challenges.

Date:  Friday, 27 June 2014       Time:  9.00-17.00

Venue:  Kent School of Architecture at the University of Kent,  Canterbury

A  one-day conference aimed at industry practitioners (contractors, architects,  consultants, and manufacturers particularly SMEs), planners, policy researchers  and academics. For more information, please visit our website.

This conference is jointly organised by the  Centre for Architectural and Sustainable Environment and the University of  Kent’s Environmental Innovation Network (E-iNet).

Please click here [1] to register for the conference.

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Spring Term crits end on a high

The final week of the Spring term in the Kent School of Architecture was in full swing with both intercrit and final crit assessments. Students from different year groups were scattered across the studio spaces in Marlowe building with either pinned up sheets, models or digitally presented drawings, in order to get useful feedback on the work they had produced so far.

The week began with the BA (Hons) Stage 1 final crits for the module ‘Building Design’. For their brief, the students designed an art gallery based in Barcelona, and it was a culmination of the basic skills they picked up over the first year of their architectural journeys. From using pencils and drawing boards to present their ‘shelter’ projects at the very beginning of the year, it has been a fantastic progression to see students going out of their comfort zone to use mixed media, colour and textures to ultimately give them extra sufficient material for their portfolio assessment in the summer term.

At the same time, MArch Part II Stage 4 students received intercrit feedback on their ‘Design 4’ projects. The four Units spread out over Monday and Tuesday, and each Unit got the opportunity to not only explain their up-to-date schemes with their own tutors, but tutors from other Units contributed to the crit panel too. This enabled fresh new perspectives, especially for other tutors who were curious to see what the other Units have been up to. There was even an appearance from the Head of School, Don Gray, who assessed Unit 3’s project based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Thursday proved to be a buzzing day for crits with both Stage 5 Technology intercrits and Stage 2 final crits for the module ‘Collective Dwelling’. Stage 5 were expected to have drilled down the technical aspects of their design projects and all received specialist input from technology and structural tutors, as well as being given an indication by Unit design tutors on what they need to push for before their final assessments in the summer term. Stage 2, on the other hand, had completed their schemes to design student housing blocks aimed for an urban development site near the River Stour in Canterbury. Design tutors collaborated with volunteering MArch students as crit panellists in the Digital Crit Room, and then pinpointed the potential in the projects and see whether the students started to get to grips with construction details and considerations given to lighting, views or other contextual analysis.

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KSA would like to wish everyone a well-deserved break during Easter and all the best to students preparing for final marked submissions in the summer term.

Srimathi Aiyer (MArch)

Community College Whitstable win the Stage Makers Competition

Students from Whitstable Community College have won the Stage Makers inter-school competition. The competition ran for three months and included teams from Abbey School, St Anselms and Community College Whitstable. The participating students were given a brief to design a building within their school site which could be used for performances.

Ambassadors from Kent School of Architecture led 5 workshops within each school and provided the students with materials for designing and model making. After introducing students to plans, sections and elevations, it was over to each group to decide what space they wanted to make for their school. There were certain things that the space had to include: a green room, WC and shower, storage, a stage and a space in which the audience would sit or stand.

On Thursday 3rd April, students, parents and staff were invited to Kent School of Architecture for an afternoon of activities and a presentation of prizes. Fine artist Patrick Crouch and the KSA ambassadors took the visiting students outside in the sunshine to design and build towers with some very impressive results.

The competition models were displayed in the Digital Crit Space which is where the judging took place. All the judges agreed that the Year 9 students from Community College Whitstable were the winners with their model – The Oyster.

Academic lead Rebecca Hobbs said: ‘All the pupils from the participating schools showed a great level of commitment and each group came up with some lovely ideas. The winning team used the oyster shell to generate the form of their stage. They encouraged and supported each other throughout the five workshop sessions. They worked together to produce a simple and elegant scheme illustrating their thought process in a very mature way’.

All students were presented with a Stage Makers sketch book and have been offered a place on the Architecture Summer School which is happening in July. The winners each received a copy of Phyllis Richardson’s influential book Big Ideas, Small Buildings and the afternoon ended with refreshments and a tour of the school.

Sonya Connell from Community College Whitstable commented: ‘The students thoroughly enjoyed the process working alongside the University staff and the student ambassadors and are thrilled to have won the competition. It was very interesting to see the University in action and the students really enjoyed seeing the work of the architects that they had been working with. The students are really looking forward to the Summer School and we are happy to support the project again next year’.

Mary Woodfine from Abbey School said: ‘Our students really enjoyed the workshops and meeting the ambassadors. Problem solving and team working skills came to the fore but over everything else the students really enjoyed the experience and as a result, are considering both the Summer School and Architecture as an option’.

We are looking forward to seeing the students again in July for the Summer School and would like to thank them again for taking part in our first Stage Makers competition.

Timothy Brittain-Catlin launches new book

Bleak Houses – The Book Launch

Tonight : 01.04.14

Architectural Association School Life 2013-2014

AA Bookshop, 32 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES at 6.30pm

Thursday: 03.04.14

The Department of Art History, New York University

The talk is entitled: Towards a theory of failure: architectural history and its losers.

Read more on Timothy Brittain-Catlin and Bleak Houses by visiting the Times Higher Education website where Bleak Houses made book of the week.

CASE and the architects of Richard Dudzicki Associates collaborate in post-occupancy study

The Architect Richard Dudzicki Associates (RDA) collaborates with the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment (CASE) at the University of Kent in a two year post-occupancy study of a PassivHaus certified property in Camberwell, London. No. 5 Stories Mews is designed as a flexible 3-bedroom house with an artist studio. The study is conducted by MSc and PhD students under the supervision of Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt. A three-month pilot of the monitoring was started in mid-February 2014 with the aim of gathering some initial data on air quality, indoor climate, energy consumption and user satisfaction. The objective of this post-occupancy study is to develop a comprehensive understanding of energy consumption, the indoor climate and air quality and how these are affected by changes in user-behaviour, weather and interior activities. The study covers three main areas, which are (a) energy consumptions, (b) occupant behaviour and satisfaction and (c) indoor climate and air quality. It is based on a methodology developed by Dr. Schoenefeldt as part of his research at the Universities of Cambridge and Kent, which integrates quantitative, qualitative as well as participatory research methods. These include environmental monitoring, electricity metering, interviews, questionnaire-based survey and focus groups. The project has been shortlisted for this year’s green build awards and an outline of this post-occupancy, produced by Dr. Schoenefeldt, has been included in the submission: http://www.greenbuildawards.co.uk/. Stories Mews will be used to test and refine this methodology, which is to provide a model for the post-occupancy evaluation of RDA’s forthcoming PassivHaus projects.

The press release by the architects:
http://www.rdauk.com/news/current-projects/

Useful advice on finding accommodation whilst studying in Paris

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The prospect of studying abroad can be rather daunting, especially when you need to sort out your own accommodation. MAUD (MA Architecture and Urban Design) student Tamilore Oni gives some great hints and tips on how you can make this process easier.

I would advise you start looking early, don’t leave it too late the term before, it is best to be prepared. Airbnb is a very good option if you are booking from abroad as there is a good level of security, you are not paying directly to the owner but through the Airbnb platform. You can also make complaints if anything is amiss which is reassuring. There are at least three of us staying in Airbnb accommodation this term and we all have found that it has worked very well. I booked the room for one month and then told the owners I wanted to stay for longer once I had arrived and settled in. Also, it is worth making sure you have internet where you are staying and a washing machine would be great too, although there are quite a few laundry places around.

Other good websites to look on are: pap.fr, seloger, paris expat (although this one is agency run and you will have to pay a fee upfront) and fusac. You can also set up alerts so that you can get to talk to the landlords immediately when a place comes up.

One thing to bear in mind is that if like me you are an overseas student, you will need to have already secured your visa in order to get accommodation in Paris, so it is best to be prepared early on.

For further information on what you can study in Paris, please visit the University of Kent at Paris website.