School of Architecture and Design praised for tackling environmental and social issues

The University of Brighton’s School of Architecture and Design is one of five schools picked out by the Architects’ Journal for its approach to sustainability.

Writing for one of the UK’s leading architecture magazines, writer Rob Wilson said the university has been ‘progressive in incorporating concern for the environment and sustainability into their teaching’. The feature was part of the publication’s annual student issue, which also includes nominations for the AJ Student Prize.

The online End of Year Show was reviewed for the magazine by Diana Dina, Head of Sustainability and Regenerative Design for Haworth Tompkins, the award-winning architectural studio whose work includes the rebuilding of the Young Vic Theatre in London.

Commenting on the virtual exhibition, Diana praised how ‘topics related to environmental awareness and social justice permeates’ throughout the work which was being showcased and applauded the School for ‘encouraging its students to challenge the established ways of thinking and to find creative solutions to current environmental and social issues’.

Andre Viljoen, Deputy Head of the School of Architecture, said: “It was really heartening to read Diana’s comments about our school, especially in these times when the issues of colonial legacy, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic are throwing a spotlight on what is really important.

“In teaching and learning, we try to balance the qualitative and quantifiable aspects of our disciplines of Architecture and Design, underpinning this with insights from our research; reviews like this encourage us to redouble our efforts.”

Two University of Brighton students are up for awards in the third edition of the AJ Student Prize, which features work from 54 schools across the UK.

Manal Omar’s ‘Fun Town and NOT Old Town’ project, which aimed to create a space, environment and atmosphere in Catford for its elderly residents, is nominated in the undergraduate category.

Speaking about the nomination, Manal said: “Being nominated is genuinely an achievement that no words can truly explain. I would like to thank my tutors Anuschka Kutz, Ian Bailey and Alex Arestis, who have not just made a special effort for quick reactions during the Covid-19 crisis, but in addition have been amazingly helpful and supportive.

“Likewise, I want to thank the University of Brighton for nominating me. As a young black female who migrated from Somalia during the war, I never thought going to university – yet alone being nominated for awards like this – would be conceivable. For them to see me and my project is really an excellent thing. I am humbled and grateful.”

Jordan Whitewood-Neal is highlighted in the postgraduate category for ‘The Cascade Environment’ project, which set out to develop a proposition in order to grow and extend a new, accessible woodland infrastructure set in 2040.

Jordan said: “The AJ Student Prize nomination has provided me with an amazing opportunity to express my final project, and the research interests it includes, further afield than would usually be possible. I’m very thankful to the School of Architecture and Design for selecting my project amongst a year of student projects that would have just as equally been worthy of the prize themselves.”

The winners of the AJ Student Prize will be announced at the end of September.


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