I have found that as I have progressed through architectural education, however, that certain architects, styles and theories reappear in my influences more than others.
My fascination has recently turned to the work of the ‘un-built’, to which I wrote my dissertation of ‘Utopianism in Contemporary Architecture’, looking at the utopian, visionary and fantastical architecture which is often unbuilt and in many cases unbuildable and how this can further the way we design and plan for the future.
The main influence I have gained from this is the use of ‘scenario creating’ as a way of architectural synthesis. These scenarios tackle issues of urban agriculture, global warming and other large scale events and a future timescale to create proposals that combat these increasingly prominent issues.
Can you tell us about your final year project?
For my final year project, I have looked heavily into the relationship between urban and agriculture and how we, through architectural intervention, can address the issue of increasingly urban environments.
For first term, I created a scenario where a run down building in Catford, London, had become derelict and allowed to become overgrown over time. When buildings are left unattended, nature begins to reclaim the building but it does it in a way in which it co-exists with the structure, growing on, up and around it.
The aim for my project was to therefore to create a intervention that would mimic the way in which nature coexists with the derelict structure. The intervention would nurture the nature that had already grown, but allow the building to be reclaimed and reused.
The concept was a Natural Reclaimation Pod, which would be placed on the structure, training the plants off the walls but also contain a hive to help pollenate the plants and supply them with water.
For the second term, I wanted to take this further and consider how we could use nature in cities to give it a purpose. The Ravensbourne River runs through the centre of Catford and has slowly been left to become polluted by waste. The biological diversity has therefore reduced and it has become overgrown as a result.
The project revolves around one of the plants that remains, the Stinging Nettle. The project is Catford’s Nettle Factory, a factory which grows and harvests nettles through aquaponics and processes them into fabrics. Each stage of the production process is extracted and considered how it may be able to be integrated with nature to help rejuvenate the river environment.
How have you found studying at Brighton?
My time at Brighton has been great. The course has been a large learning curve but at the same time has been extremely rewarding. Studying a course like Architecture where we are so immersed in a studio culture has meant that we are able to learn and work with course mates furthering the experience I’ve had as we push each other forwards. Brighton has also been an amazing city to study in. Having lived here for several years now, it’s going to be hard to leave.
What are your plans after graduating?
I am excited to continue with my architectural education. I will be looking for Part I jobs, either in London or Brighton, but I am looking forward to learning more about practice architecture and hopefully becoming a more rounded architect in the process.