Kent School of Architecture and Planning hosting Virtual Open Day

Kent School of Architecture and Planning are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Virtual Open Day on Thursday 7th November from 11.00 –  12.30 GMT.

If you are interested in finding out more about the BA (Hons) Architecture course at the Kent School of Architecture and Planning, including course structure, entry requirements, portfolio advice, then please email ksapadmissions@kent.ac.uk to book onto our first ever Virtual Open Day in collaboration with KMTV.

The Virtual Open Day will be accessible through You Tube where you will be able to ask questions live, this is the link you will need on the day – https://youtu.be/KLE3pfqc9IQ

This is the perfect opportunity to find out more about the Kent School of Architecture and Planning, and have your questions answered by our BA (Hons) Architecture programme director, Chloe Street Tarbatt, Stage 2 Coordinator, Felicity Atekpe, and CREAte Research Centre Director, Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin who will be hosting the event.

The Kent Historic Buildings Committee announces The Gravett Award 2019 winner

This year’s annual Gravett Award event took place on Friday 24 May in the Digital Crit Space. The Gravett Award, created by The Kent Historic Buildings Committee, a specialist unit of CPRE Kent, is given to a BA (Hons) Architecture student at Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) for the best observational drawing or drawings of existing buildings or structures produced during this academic year.

The award is named after Kenneth Gravett (1930-1999), an archaeologist, who, through his exceptional study and knowledge of historic buildings, has left an outstanding record of Kentish building vernacular. The prize is designed to encourage students to record existing buildings by hand-drawing, either in perspective or orthographic drawings, or sketches. The judging panel for this year’s Gravett award included the distinguished conservation architects Clive Bowley, Ptolemy Dean and Stuart Page.

This year, the competition was carried out as part of the BA (Hons) Architecture Stage 1 module, ‘Ancient and Medieval Architecture’, convened by Dr Nikolaos Karydis. One of the assignments in this module asks students to visit and draw a Norman building in Kent. The following eight students were shortlisted: Victoria Dolfo, Ayako Seki, Felicity Pike, Nuriye Celik, Rebecca Jilks, Alexandra-Stefania Barbu, Matthew Manganga and Michael Zapletal.

The winner of this year’s award is Ayako Seki who will be formally presented with the award at this year’s End of Year Show on 14 June 2019.

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

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).

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.

KSA Student Exhibition ‘Visions for Chatham Docks’

Kent School of Architecture are delighted to present this public exhibition of selected Stage 3 student work from the BA (Hons) Architecture course during 2017/18. The three design projects were all linked and based at Chatham Historic Dockyard on the river Medway in Kent; a site of significant historical interest and of conservation merit. This exhibition presents selected proposals designed to transition the past into the future. KSA worked closely with the Dockyard Trust, Medway Council and the University of Kent Medway throughout the year.

The Autumn term project ‘Urban Intervention’ has two components: The first, to design a masterplan developing a future vision for the site through making proposals for new-build insertions, changes of use to existing buildings, and landscaping. The second, an ‘Adapt and Extend’ project to re-design one of three pre-selected buildings into a ‘multi-generational care facility’ including a nursery and accommodation for the elderly.

The Spring term project ‘Architectural Design’ asks students to design a new-build multi-use building on a site of their choice within their masterplan. The project was entitled “One World Workshop’ and had a programme of rentable, bookable, and flexible spaces.

This exhibition, curated jointly by Kent School of Architecture tutors Chloe Street Tarbatt, Maria Araya and Henry Sparks, publicly showcases a snapshot of these projects. We hope it will serve to increase the awareness and impact of our activities at KSA within and beyond the confines of the university, sparking curiosity and debate with the general public.

The Preview for the exhibition will be held on Friday 13 July at the Chatham Historic Dockyard Visitor Centre from 15.30 – 17.30, with the opening presentation at 16.00. The exhibition will remain open to the public 10.00 – 18.00 daily until 26 July.

Stage 2 student to take part in Critical Concrete Summer School

Stage 2 student from the BA (Hons) Architecture course, Jake Obichere, has been awarded a place at Critical Concrete’s Summer School in Porto, Portugal for three weeks commencing on the 30th July 2018. Jake will be participating in, “The Practice and Theory of Sustainable & Social Architecture”.

“I will be joined with students from various parts of the world, architects, the community, social workers, designers and engineers to design and refurbish a social type housing for a family in the neighbourhood. My interests in architecture are in the sustainable and social aspects of design, and the integration of traditional and modern techniques to creatively shape places.

To a certain extent, my previous credentials have been evidence of my growth in the field of architecture and has encouraged me to participate in this summer school. This year, I was the winner of Gravett Award, a prestigious competition sponsored by CPRE, Kent’s Historic Buildings Committee. In the previous academic year, I was awarded a prize for the Best Design Sketchbook in Stage 2 by HMY Architects, and following on from this, I was given the opportunity to engage in valuable work experience with Corstorphine + Wright Architects, who were the main sponsors of the KSA End of Year Show 2018. Overall, the summer school will enable me to learn a different aspect of architecture, and share the skills that I will gain, including knowledge and techniques, with others,” states Jake Obichere, Stage 2.

For further information about the Summer School, please see here: https://criticalconcrete.com/summer-camp/programme

APM Student Profile: Pinda Atwal

Helping others succeed is something that greatly interests me. Architecture lends itself to a very social environment where the studio culture allows everyone to help one another. Academic Peer Mentoring has allowed me to engage with students from different year groups and share my knowledge of what I have learnt within my degree. Arranging weekly discussions is something that is vital to track my mentees progress, however I am always willing to help whether I am in the studio or having to arrange a time and a place for discussion.

Mentoring has helped me understand that it is possible to learn from students of all years and to keep seeking knowledge. Since completing the extracurricular module Student Mentoring at University I have been able to understand the requirements of mentoring and put them to practice with my mentee. Topics addressed range from equality and diversity, learning styles to even the characteristics required from a mentor.

Overall the peer mentoring scheme and module have helped me understand and experience situations that can also be applied to future careers and real life situations outside of university.

By Pinda Atwal
Stage 3, BA (Hons) Architecture

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

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