KSA students design dystopian future as part of AIA Student Charrette 2018

The Kent School of Architecture entered this year’s AIA Student Charrette competition, held at the Roca Gallery in London. The team consisted of Edoardo Avellino, Ben Child, Ines Combalat, Kyle McGuinness, Jake Obichere and  Christine Wong from Stage 3, BA (Hons) Architecture.

The competition saw an array of participants from six universities and with the hope of continuing last year’s success as winners, a different challenge was posed. A daylong event, full of creativity, set the scene for a promising project. Set in Chelsea, at Lots Road Auction House, the brief for the day was split into two parts; i.e. to choose an object within the auction house, in order to describe its journey from the seller to the buyer, whilst imagining the process of the object in spatial and architectural form.

At the Lots Road Auction House, a member of staff gave a short talk about the type of items that are sold and the process of auctioning itself. Particular points stood out to us as we began searching for a concept. We were interested in how the bidding process had changed as technology and the world around had advanced, creating an auction house which worked mainly digitally now. This provoked us to speculate about the future of the auction house and how it may evolve as time goes on. Another interesting facet to the auction house is the bidding process itself and how people spend large amounts of money on items that they do not particularly want or need. This led us try to create a design that would match the drama of the bidding war in its architecture. These influences manifested in an imagined dystopian world where water is scarce and one of its few sources are sheets of ice, imported from the arctic, to be bid on in the Lots Road Auction House. This highlights how an item that is currently taken for granted should have much more value than we attribute to it and plays with the idea of exaggerating the tension within the auction house by bidding on a rare necessity.

In this scenario, we imagine that the Lots Road Auction House begins to sell ‘fresh, pure water from Arctic ice’ to its wealthy clientele, but as the conventional means of acquiring water becomes more restricted, demand increases for the Arctic-water. Due to this increased demand, the Lots Road Auction House moves in to the nearby power station and begins shipping in sheets of ice via the Thames. A shard of ice hangs between the two chimneys of the power station, slowly dripping in to a glass below it. The glass sits on a plinth in the centre of the power station, surrounded by hopeful bidders. Every time the ice drips in to the glass, a bid has to be made and when there is a drip with no bid, the most recent bidder lifts the glass from the plinth and drinks from it, replicating the hammer moment in the traditional auction house. As the bids are made, the new price is projected onto the side of the ice and the number of lights within the power station rise as the bid increases, elevating the tension of the process. From the outside, the city of London looks on as a level in the power station chimneys decreases, representing the ever-diminishing amounts of ice left in the Arctic. This in turn creates panic in the city, making its inhabitants flock to the power station to bid on water, once more increasing its value and adding to the intense nature of the bidding process. We portrayed this transformation of the Lots Road Auction House with various collages, models, sketches and drawings.

Overall, the judges were looking for a more conventional version of the auction house rather than the surreal proposal we developed. In the end, it was the students from the University of Westminster who succeeded to take this year’s title as winners of the AIA Student Charrette 2018. We learnt a lot during this CAD-free event, and it enabled us to be as creative as possible, learning how to respond to a brief through the methodologies of hand-drawing and model making.

We would like to congratulate the winning team and thank Amrita Raja, our mentor for the day, ROCA and Laufen for supporting yet another successful event.

By Jake Obichere and Ben Child
Stage 3, BA (Hons) Architecture

Steve Quartermain CBE to celebrate launch of MA Urban Planning and Resilience

To celebrate the launch of our new MA Urban Planning and Resilience course, Steve Quartermain CBE, the Chief Planner at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is coming to the University of Kent to meet with students on the new masters programme, and to talk about the latest developments in policies in planning.

Steve began his career as a trainee planner having studied geography at Durham University. He took a postgraduate qualification and subsequently became an RTPI member in 1982. His early career was mostly in Development Management in Epping Forest and Dartford, before he moved to Yorkshire to take on the role of Head of Development Control, and in 1988 he was made Head of Planning.

The event is open to all current students, and all who are interested in studying on the new MA Urban Planning and Resilience programme, and will take place on Wednesday 21 November from 10.00 – 11.30 in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1. If you have any queries about this event, or would like to find out more, please email architecture@kent.ac.uk.

Interested in studying MArch? Join our Google Hangout!

Kent School of Architecture are hosting an MArch Google Hangout with the MArch programme director, Michael Richards, on Tuesday 11th December at 12.00 – 13.00 GMT for all current and prospective applicants.

If you are interested in studying on the MArch programme for entry in September 2019, and would like to find out more information about the course structure, unit system, entry requirements and would like an opportunity to have your queries answered, then please email ksaadmissions@kent.ac.uk to book onto this event.

 

PhD Seminar Series: Maria Dimitriou

This week’s PhD Seminar Series will take place in the PGR Hub, Digital Crit Space on Wednesday 14 November from 16.00 – 17.30, given by Maria Dimitriou, a Kent School of Architecture PhD Candidate in Architectural Heritage and Conservation. Her talk, based on her research is titled, ‘Transformation of Industrial Heritage: The Case of Volos, Greece’.

De-industrialization poses a major challenge for the preservation of the heritage of industrial towns in Europe. Volos, an industrial harbour town in central Greece, provides a typical example of this phenomenon. Redundancy and decay of many of the city’s 20th-century industrial buildings threaten the survival of a significant aspect of the heritage of Volos. Infusing new life in these buildings requires the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders as well as the development of new management and conservation strategies. For this reason, the urgent contribution to the European discussion on preservation and future maintenance of such areas will require vital solutions that will save them from falling into ruin.

This dissertation applies an interdisciplinary approach that will seek to identify an innovative model for the strategic management and re-use of the industrial heritage of Volos. It provides new ways to understand preservation theory and management objectives for industrial heritage sites by analyzing existing mechanisms for their preservation through values and practices. In addition, this research identifies characteristics and values aimed at expanding the framework of historic industrial preservation practice. It argues that management strategies based on traditional preservation practices are insufficient for interpreting the complexity of these historic places, and that historical industrial preservation is best served by attending to the range of values and processes associated with the historic landscape and its protection.

 

CASE Open Lecture: Dr Maria Kikira, UK Green Building Council

The next CASE Open Lecture will be given by Dr Maria Kikira from UK Green Building Council, with her talk titled, ‘The role of UK Green Building Council in the built environment: Get involved, stay engaged!’. The lecture will take place on Tuesday 20th November at 6PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

The presentation will cover the five thematic areas of UKGBC such as: climate change, resource use, nature & biodiversity, health & wellbeing, socio-economic impact, and how they are related to the built environment. There will also be an introduction to our Net Zero, Circular Economy, Climate Resilience, Cities and Social Value programmes from the perspective of working towards a sustainable future.

Maria is an architect with a passion for sustainable development in the built environment. She works for UK Green Building Council with the Learning and Development team, aiming to increase awareness and inspire the building industry on issues ranging from climate change, resource efficiency to health and well-being. Maria has a PhD on façade performance evaluation in relation to the indoor environment and extensive experience on European research programmes in the field of sustainability.

All welcome!

PhD Seminar Series: Khaled Sedki

The first PhD Seminar Series of the year took place earlier this week with Khaled Sedki presenting his research, ‘The role of architecture in the urban modernisation and social transformation of the historic city and the representations of time.’

This presentation gave an overview of a dissertation on French architect, archaeologist and planner, Michel Écochard, and his work in Damascus between 1931 and 1968. It focused on the ways in which the architect’s work had influenced the urban modernisation of the city in relation to social and cultural transformations, during this period, and explores, in reverse, the City’s impact over his views on architecture and the development of his concepts and methods. The study relates concepts of time-geography in understanding the role of architecture in the representation of time, and develops a method based on New-Historicism to produce a narrative of history which evades reduction and escapes canons and celebrates complexity and multiplicity. The aim of the presentation was to bring the subjects of this study out of anonymity and to share some ontological concerns about architecture and illustrate some of the methods and concepts used to tackle this and to invite others to participate in this exchange.

Dancing through the Veil: the great KSA debate

On Thursday 22 November, CREAte (Centre for Research in European Architecture) will be hosting a great debate on the direction of design teaching in the School. CREAte have invited four leading guests to join a conversation about the broader aims of the upcoming Stage 3 BA (Hons) Architecture Collective Dwelling and Architectural Design projects.

CREAte’s guests will be Charles Holland, the architect of the House for Essex; Catherine Slessor, critic, and former editor of the Architectural Review; Ruth Lang, design tutor at CSM and historian of public housing in London, and the well known architect Richard Reid, whose Epping Forest Town Hall is one of the great masterpieces of British postmodernism and has recently been listed for conservation by Historic England.

The debate is open to all, and will take place in Grimond Lecture Theatre 1 from 5.30-7pm on Thursday 22nd November, supported by KASA (Kent Architectural Student Association).

Historic Building Services Symposium featured in CIBSE Journal

A symposium held at the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) on 25 July 2018, organised by Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt in collaboration with CIBSE Heritage Group has been featured in an article in the September issue of CIBSE Journal, written by Liza Young, Deputy Editor. To read the full article, please see here: http://portfolio.cpl.co.uk/CIBSE/201809/28/.

The symposium, ‘Historic Building Services in Education, Practice and Research’, explored the value of studying historic building services and how it can inform the practice and education of building service engineers today. Through talks and discussions, the event provided a forum for practitioners, engineers and educators to investigate these questions. Speakers and panel chairs included Professor Dean Hawkes, University of Cambridge, Dr Neil Sturrock, Chairman of CIBSE Heritage Group, Caroline Cattini, Historic England, Phil Jones, Chairman of CIBSE CHP & District Heating Group, Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt, University of Kent, Andrew More, Senior Building Services Engineer, Historic England.

Kent School of Architecture MSc Architecture and Sustainable Environment students, and CASE (Centre for Architecture and the Sustainable Environment) PhD students presented their work at the event, in addition to a PhD student from Cardiff University.

Urban Albedo project hosts workshop at London City Hall

CASE (Centre for Architecture and the Sustainable Environment) organised a very successful workshop at London’s Living Room, City Hall on Monday 15th October 2018, marking the beginning of Green GB week.  The workshop, ‘Urban Albedo: Digital tools for urban resilience and growth’, was co-orgnised with Greater London Authority and the London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP), along with Brunel University and Loughborough University, who are both project partners.

The workshop, chaired by the former President of the Urban Design Group, Colin Pullan, brought together leading urban and building scientists, as well as practitioners from different backgrounds, to inform the impact of urban morphology and materials on urban albedo and its importance for health and well-being.

The speakers from the Industry Panel included:

  • The Concrete Centre
  • Fosters + Partners
  • SWECO
  • IESVE
  • CIBSE Resilient Cities

For further information about the Urban Albedo research project, please see here.

Stage 1 BA (Hons) Architecture students bring Zenobia to life

Stage 1 students on the BA (Hons) Architecture course have brought Italo Calvino’s ‘Zenobia’, from his novel Invisible Cities, to life in their first mini project as part of AR318 Form Finding module.

Invisible Cities was initially written as a travel guide in 1972 in Italian by the Cuban writer Italo Calvino. The book explores the power of words and the imagination; an explorer, Marco Polo, describes a series of imaginary cities to the emperor, Kublai Khan. They are prose poems, probably inspired by Venice, which illustrate many aspects of the city; its culture, language, time, memory and death and through these they offer the reader an insight into the human experience. Over the course of two weeks, the students worked on their interpretations of a passage from the classic novel which describes the city of Zenobia, through illustrations and model-making.

MA Architectural Visualisation student, Olegk Stathopoulos, documented the assembly of their take on Zenobia outside the Marlowe Building and created a great short film which you can watch here.