Howard Griffin speaks at Lyon Light Festival Forum

Howard Griffin, Director of the MA Architectural Visualisation programme, was invited to speak about his research into projection mapping at the Lyon Light Festival Forum in December.  The forum, which takes place as part of the annual Fête des Lumières, widely regarded as the inaugural and most famous light festival in the world, was attended by academics, lighting designers, projection artists and festival organisers.  Building on a recent article co-written with Dr Jane Lovell of Canterbury Christ Church University, Howard argued about the importance of understanding the nature of different projected installations and the effect this can have on their evaluation.  The article can be accessed at: https://doi.org/10.1080/19407963.2018.1556674

The presentation coincided with the University of Kent becoming an associate member of LUCI (Lighting Urban Communities International), a network of cities and companies focused on urban lighting and festivals.  Howard is working with stakeholder and partners to develop plans for a Light Festival in Canterbury in the near future.

MA Architectural Visualisation students exhibit in Greece

The MA Architectural Visualisation course’s ‘Architectural Photography’ module taught us the fundamental principles of photographic creation and processing. Through this module, we were able to attain a comprehensive knowledge of light, exposure and color, and their application in architectural photography. The result is that we are now able to choose a photographic composition that maintains a balance of all the key parameters.

As part of the MA Architectural Visualisation programme, we had the opportunity to participate in the WEDO exhibition in the Athens School of Fine Arts with a selection of our digital and analogue photographs. WEDO team presents the collective art project GIVING, based on an idea of Panagiotis Siagreece and Athanasios Bathas, organized and curated by Maira Stefou and with the participation of 218 artists. The project was presented as a parallel event of the Platforms Project, at the Former Libary of the Athens School of Fine Arts, Piraeus 256, 17-20 May 2018.

CONCEPT: The universe is a unified unit consisting of the same material, governed by common rules and communicating energetically and dynamically. The lack of awareness of this treaty by man has led him to social individualism and psychic isolation. The philosophy of “I” instead of “we” invalidates the possibility of individual happiness that can only be achieved through the happiness of the whole of which the individual is an integral part. In an effort to comment on the above, we artists-individuals are united in a group, creating a collective unified work that we offer to the public, as a deposit of time (10 days) and as a product of this deposit, wanting to symbolically contribute in the union of the whole, reacting to the social and cultural collapse, catalyzing the classical elitist relationship between the artist and spectator and abolishing the restrictive economic transaction. Coexistence and co creation implies an action with artistic diversity and with the integration of identity as a difference (personal, style, name-anonymity, age) in a context of a shared aim, elements that are not common practice in group art events.

PROJECT: Each artist participates with 10 artworks 25cm x 25cm that have been attached to 25cm x 25cm styrofoam cubes, forming a single installation. Each cube includes works of different artists. During the project’s exhibition, a sum of money will be collected from those who receive works and from the public, which will be offered to the Center for the Training and Rehabilitation of the Blind.

By Rafaella Siagkri, MA Architectural Visualisation student

fete des lumieres

MAAV Students head to the Fete des Lumieres in Lyon

MA Architectural Visualisation (MAAV) students returned to Lyon following the successful inaugural trip in 2016. The study tour to Lyon specifically complements two modules; AR822 Virtual Cities and AR846 Architectural Photography. The schedule was designed to take advantage of the rich architecture during the daytime, whilst allowing students to explore the illuminations during the night.

The Lumières festival was varied this year, and differed in style and range from the previous year. Highlights of the festival included an animation focused on the history of film and cinema in the Place des Terreaux, many of the references to which, the students could understand from their work in AR821 Film & Architecture.

This year, the trip to Lyon was incredibly important, providing an opportunity for the students to see first-hand the ways in which buildings can be animated through projection mapping. The research was directly fed into their own projection work for AR822 Virtual Cities at the recent Cheriton Light Festival in February. This module allows the students to bridge the boundaries between architectures; the actual and the virtual. The quality of their work was, without doubt, aided by the visit to France.

MAAV student feedback;
“The Lyon trip was a great experience! It developed my technique of finding interesting photographic subjects. As we toured the sites, we came across a lot of buildings that would perhaps be deemed unattractive, but their geometry made for some of the best photographs. It definitely helped me redefine my photographic eye. The Light show was incredibly inspiring and I have not experienced anything like it; I was so inspired by our trip, I am making efforts to recreate something for my local community, whom many may not be able to get the opportunity to experience what I had”
“…A very positive and useful trip toward my technical knowledge in projection mapping, where we had the chance to see real projects which were produced by known professional artists and companies. That experience helped me a lot to know what the real impact of projection mapping on people is, what works well and what is not”
“…This trip helped me a lot to strengthen my relationship with my colleagues, it’s made me feel like I have real friends on my course, which I need as an international student…”

MA Architectural Visualisation Student Profile – Joseph Ling Chuan Sheng

What attracted you to studying at Kent?
Coming to the University of Kent was an easy decision for me as the course was exactly what I was looking for. I previously studied Architecture at undergraduate level in Malaysia but I wanted to go in a more digital direction so the MA in Architectural Visualisation was the perfect choice.

What were your first impressions of Canterbury?
Coming to the UK to study was actually my first visit here. I spent some time in London before heading to Canterbury to start my studies and have found that there is not as many distractions in Canterbury as there is in London making it a great place to study! Canterbury is only a 15 minute walk away and there are lots of nice places to eat and drink. There are a lot of transport links in the city which take you out to the coast and there is also the high speed to London.

Have you enjoyed studying at a campus university?
The Canterbury Campus is full of green spaces making it a great place to be in sunny weather. I live in Woolf College which has a good mix of students from all around the world, the accommodation is quiet, making it a good place to study. There are plenty of food outlets and bars on campus, a campus shop, doctor’s surgery and all the other facilities that you will need.

What are your plans after you have finished studying?
I plan to look for a job in London after I have finished my studies. I would like to ideally get a job in the gaming or film industry in the future.

What have you enjoyed most about the course so far?
I really enjoyed doing the ‘month project’ as it gave me the freedom to choose an area which interested me. My project focused on film animation, the film I used in my project was called Howl’s Moving Castle directed by Hayao Miyazaki. I have found the course quite demanding in terms of workload however I have learned an awful lot already. There is a nice mix of modules on the course and I have made some very good friends on the course.

MA Architectural Visualisation students’ exhibition at The Gulbenkian

Photography is often considered a complementary field to architecture; the two areas inextricably linked through philosophy, theory and practice.  The developments of both forms of art have grown and developed alongside each other.  It is a poetic relationship that goes to the roots of photography.  It is not coincidental that the first recorded photograph included a view of the form and space of and around architecture.  An understanding of the processes of composition, framing and most essentially the control of light are inherent aspects of both disciplines.

Through the module AR846: Architectural Photography, the MA Architectural Visualisation programme at the Kent School of Architecture develops students’ critical awareness of the architectural image, allowing them to apply this understanding to their digitally created imagery and visualisations.  Studied during the autumn term, the architectural photography module provides students the opportunity to learn both traditional film and digital photographic techniques.  The collection of images displayed here is the conclusion of this work. The MA Architectural Visualisation students’ work will be exhibited at The Gulbenkian from 08 February until 31 March 2016.

@kent_Sch_Arch #MAArchVis

Final ‘Movie Mondays’ Screening of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’

As part of the MA Architectural Visualisation, students have been engaged in the module AR821: FIlm & Architecture.  This year, as part of the programme, Programme Director, Howard Griffin along with his students have hosted a number of film screenings.

These screenings include:

  • Koyaanisqatsi
  • Blade Runner
  • The Third Man
  • Play Time
  • Akira
  • Collateral
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Rear Window
  • Inception

In addition to these films, students have also been studying and comparing other films, such as Minority Report, Sin City, Brazil, Wall.E, Dirty Harry and Gattaca.

The final film screening takes place this evening at 5.30 pm, which will explore the architecture of Stanley Kubrick with his iconic film, The Shining (1980).  Please feel free to join us in MLT2 to listen to my students present their research about this and other Kubrick films in the context of architecture.

However, if you are unable to attend this screening, then please take a look at the group’s WordPress site, which contains a selection of the film screening presentations so far.  Please feel free to comment and contribute to the texts.  You can access the presentations at: https://ksamaarchvis.wordpress.com/

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.

Visualising our History

Architectural Visualisation students were treated to an insight into the past when English Heritage visited the school to talk about the nearby St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury.  The archaeological site is the subject of the students’ latest project, Virtual Cities, which redirects techniques and skills typically used to visualise prospective architectural proposals, to reanimate the past.

The project will see students rebuild the Abbey to its former glory prior to the suppression by King Henry VIII in the 1530s.  The virtual model is designed to be fully navigable, allowing audiences the chance to experience the abbey complete with interpretations of the interior spaces and decoration.

Howard Griffin, Programme Director of the MA Architectural Visualisation courses said, “This is an exciting collaboration between the School of Architecture and English Heritage.  Our students have the chance to work with archaeological experts in recreating the past.  Much of the learning students are engaged with on this course is aimed at visualising the future.  However, we can use these same processes and skills to recreate the past as well.  Using real-time games technology allows audiences to navigate their way through a space in a way which cannot be achieved with simple computer animation.”

The project presents new challenges to the students, who ordinarily can rely on accurate architect’s drawings as a source of information.  Most of the Abbey and outer buildings were destroyed and little evidence remains of large parts of the site.  Collections Curator at English Heritage, Rowena Willard-Wright explained, “This project will be like building a jigsaw puzzle, but with only 3 pieces remaining.”

The first stage of the St. Augustine Abbey project is due to be completed by spring, with additional work and detailing to be completed later.