Design process of a KSA architecture student

So you’ve been handed your design brief, now what?

Step 1

You dig right in! Start reading the brief and dissecting and understanding the demands of the ‘Client’. After understanding what your ‘client’ wants, you jump right into finding finding inspiration and precedents to help in explaining and developing your ideas. The default platforms for finding such inspirations are Pinterest, Archidaily and Dezeen. A personal favourite of Architecture students is Pinterest, with its ‘mood board’ set up and has the ability to create as many boards as you like. It’s easy to really understand what aesthetic you begin to work with on your design and helps to hold your ideas in once place.

Step 2

The next step to the design process involves a simple pen and your sketchbook. Drawing as your ideas run through your head is the easiest way to make sure nothing is missed out. Whereas Using computer programmes are helpful in creating ‘realistic’ designs, they are often harder to interpret your ideas through and limit your ideas to being realistic or not as crazy as you want them, when you first begin.

Step 3

Usually this is where the process in developing your ideas can differ, as some students will move on to Auto-cad in order to create Orthographic drawings. This can also be used in creating ISO/AXO drawings as well as any construction details you are required to produce.

Some will move on to using Sketchup Pro, to create models of their designs, which can be helpful to understand what the overall building will look like and if the overall design works, as well as providing you with the opportunity to capture perspectives and Isometric projection of your structure, as well as Sections and elevations.

Some students will use both programmes at the same time, which can be beneficial in creating plans and models that work together. You can also use Sketchup to capture different projections and translating it into Auto-cad can help to produce drawings that appear more professional.

Step 4

The next step is to render the final drawings. There are plenty of platforms available that produce good results, but the go-to is always Photoshop. It is crucial to render your drawings; this can take a simple design and completely change the way your client experiences it. Although there are many platforms to help in rendering your designs, Photoshop is the safest and most popular.

Step 5

Putting the drawings together for your Critique; the go-to can either be Photoshop or InDesign, followed by Adobe Acrobat to complete the presentation. There is not a lot of difference when it comes to choosing a platform to create your presentation. However, InDesign is specific in creating layouts, titles and presentations and therefore can offer a little more than Photoshop.

By Kirn Karn
Stage 2, BA (Hons) Architecture

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



Stage 2 Form and Structure Submission

As part of their Form and Structure module, our Stage 2 students were tasked with designing a roof and its supports. The roof is to cover an area of at least 400 square meters, and within this area, there must be no internal columns or supports. The images below show some of the great final submissions from our Stage 2 students!


Stephanie Davies


Akmaral Khassen


Meera Badran

KSA Foundation Chair Crit

The students involved in our Foundation programme had their crits on Thursday 31st March in the KSA Digital Crit Space. Our students were asked to design and create a chair made entirely out of cardboard. There were two design clauses: students were not allowed to use glue, and the chair couldn’t be at a 90o angle. Students tackled the brief using different approaches such as folding, slotting and rolling all to produce a variety of interestingly designed chairs. It was great to see other students from the school getting involved in testing out the different chairs to see if they held their weight and tested out the comfort level. Great work from all our foundation students!





Conservation as an approach for tomorrow

Good architects should all be conservationists. As architects, we understand the vital importance of context. Unlike artists, architects never initiate a design process with a blank canvas. Good design is always informed. Architecture is possibly the only profession that create its own problems and solutions.

To clarify, conservation does not necessarily require a conservative approach. To take a conservationist approach is to first recognise the existing value, past value, then to try and preserve those values whilst making appropriate additions to create future value.

Let’s begin with recognition. What do we mean by value? How does anyone identify something worth protecting? The answer may be found in the, somewhat snobbish, words of John Ruskin, “Any work, over which educated, artistic people would think it worthwhile to argue at all”. Today, we may expand on this notion by including disciplines other than cultural, to include social and environmental aspects as well. Much like Max Dvorak’s “conservation not restoration”, Ruskin makes a clear distinction between restoration and repair. In the views of Ruskin, to restore is not only destructive, but it is completely impossible. For any new rendition, no matter how accurate, ‘is a false description of the thing destroyed’. To Ruskin, value extends beyond form to the very matter which created form itself; new stones do not equate to the work of old craftsman.


This conservative approach is not always practical however, as in the case of the Neues Museum, Berlin. Cue sensitive conservation. The aftermath of WWII and soviet occupation left the building in ruins and not much to be conserved. David Chipperfied recognised the past value of the very matter that made up the ruin itself and the current value of the wrecked form of the former building as a reminder of the historical event of war. He also recognised the future value in restoring the building for use by the general public as a museum once again. The building was sensitively restored. Instead of a complete restoration, the new elements were muted interpretations of the original. This way the building managed to maintain the scars from war as well as embracing restored volume.

But what if none of the original building envelope exists?

In July 1902, San Marco Campanile, Venice, collapsed completely. The decision was taken to entirely rebuild the tower using the same materials and method as prior to the incident. The justification in this case is that the symbolic value of the bell tower is integral to the identity of St Mark’s and the square which cannot be sensibly represented in the form of the rubble that remained, thus it had to be rebuilt. In fact this is not the first time that the Campanile has been restored. It went through multiple restorations to finally resume its current shape in 1511 with minor alterations up until then. The tower today is able to symbolically retain its past even if it may not be physically authentic.

In one example, symbolical value is placed above physical value. Ise Grand Shrine, Japan, is rebuilt every twenty years alternating between two sites. While on the surface, this may seem to be counter intuitive when it comes to conservation. However, the rebuilding serves as a way of passing building techniques from one generation to the next. The shrine is rebuilt with exactly the same materials, dimensions and methodology. Matter is not conserved here but cultural, historical and social heritage are definitely preserved.

Today we must recognise the importance of the existing cultural, historical, social and environmental heritage. Architects mustn’t brashly design for tomorrow without any regards for the past. Equally it seems irresponsible not to contribute anything for future generations. We must take responsibility for our legacy and do so by being good conservationists.

By Aut Angpanitcharoen, Stage 3