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 3 students take part in ‘Client Feedback’ for Urban Intervention project

Six of our BA (Hons) Architecture Stage 3 students took part in a ‘Client Feedback’ session for their ‘Urban Intervention’ design projects, organised by Stage 3 Coordinator Chloe Street Tarbatt on 20th February.

Urban Intervention is a design project which takes place in the Autumn term of Stage 3. The module engages students in the re-design of an existing urban centre or locality in two parts, beginning with a master-plan and public realm study, and moving on to the design of a detailed building design adapting and/or extending the existing building fabric. Urban design is the practice of designing towns and cities. This is architecture approached at an urban scale, ranging from a neighbourhood to an entire city. The adaptation and extension of existing buildings for new uses is also a staple of architectural design practice, ranging from unobtrusive to the complete visual overhaul and updating of an existing building.

The brief for this year’s project was based at the University of Kent’s Medway Campus, which straddles the Pembroke site (shared with Greenwich and Canterbury Christchurch Universities), and The Historic Dockyard, Chatham. The School of Architecture was approached by the Dean for the University of Kent Medway campus, Professor Nick Grief, who showed interest in collaborating with KSA on developing proposals for improving circulation links between the two sites, and upgrading the quality of public realm.

Several students signed up for the design charette in Spring 2017, which kick-started the School’s involvement with the project, introducing the unusual qualities of the area, and the potential to be involved in developing ideas for the future development of Chatham Historic Dockyard. The advantages of working on this type of ‘Live Project’ are significant in providing students with a network of real clients, an insight into the complexities of development, and the ways in which society at large, shapes our role and agency as architects / designers.

Six students were asked to present their final design projects for ‘Urban Intervention’ in a ‘Client Feedback’ session at the Sail and Colour Loft on the Chatham Historic Dockyard site to Professor Nick Grief, Bill Ferris, CEO of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and Duncan Berntsen from Medway Council. The ‘clients’ involved expressed great enthusiasm for the work presented, and noted that the professionalism and confidence exhibited was outstanding, and their presentations both inspiring and hugely impressive in all respects.

Image credit: Urban Intervention; ‘Existing Site’ by Andrew Caws

Academic Peer Mentor Student Profile: Mary Villaluz

I was first introduced to the Academic Peer Mentoring scheme in my first year at the Kent School of Architecture, and was assigned a third year student to be my mentor. As a first year student, new to the school, my mentor helped me gain confidence in design by going through his own techniques and by talking to me about his own experiences as a student.

After learning so much from my mentor in my first year, I then decided to pass on what I had learned to the next year’s intake, so I applied to become a mentor myself. As a mentor, I would arrange to meet up with my mentees to discuss any issues and problems they would have regarding the course. The mentee-mentor relationship works well as mentors can advise and guide the lower years on their projects since they studied the modules previously.

Mentors are on hand to offer assistance throughout the entire design process from initial conception to final presentation and help with project management techniques like time management, computer program literacy and presentation techniques. Being able to explain the whole project and design to an external person not involved in the module can be very helpful to bounce ideas off and to see the project and design with a fresh set of eyes which can lead to the discovery of a flaw in their design or areas of potential improvement.

Being both a ‘mentee’ and a ‘mentor’ for the past two years has allowed me to build connections in the studio with students from years above and below, as well as enabling me to improve my own critical analysis skills which I subsequently use on my own designs to further improve them.

The mentoring program is an invaluable resource that shouldn’t be underestimated by students in all years and should be fully utilised as a resource that the Kent School of Architecture offers.

Mary Villaluz
Stage 3, BA (Hons) Architecture

Graduating third year students present their work at The Oasis Academy in Sheerness

The Beachfields Partnership, Sheerness, invited eleven of our graduating third year students to The Oasis Academy Theatre on the Isle of Sheppey to meet with the students and present their work. There will hopefully be a public exhibition arranged by Swale Community Leisure to follow. Thank you to Valentin Abend, Prinka Anandawardhani, Jed Cracknell, Lauriane Hewes, Manveer Sembi, Linda Malaeb, Jamie Griffiths, Nicholas Mourot and Ed Powe for your enthusiasm and participation in this great event.

KSA Careers Event

On Thursday 3rd March, we held our annual careers event whereby we invited local practitioners to present themselves to our Stage 3 students, and spend time in the studios conducting mock interviews, advising on CVs or taking Q&A sessions on their practice. The aims of the event are to create links between the school teaching staff, students and architectural practices, to offer guidance to graduating students on how to maximise their chances of employment and also to provide a forum for local practices to discover potential future employees in person in an informal setting. Below are some photographs of the event!