“I have been through the last three years with a group of diverse and talented people who I now call some of my closest friends. The last year has obviously presented some unique challenges, but also an opportunity to extend my work and identify what is actually fulfilling and what is not.”
Hi Rosa – please tell us a bit about your work and your influences
“My graduate project, ‘Future Ruins’, is an emerging programme driven by the concept that verbal storytelling can be both a method of disseminating information and creating connections within the community. The designed element is that of a prototype ‘Amphi’ nestled within Hollingbury Hill Fort, an Iron and Roman age site in Sussex. Amphi is derived from the word amphibious, which embodies the structures’ ability to change dependent on location.
“The project prototype derives both its material and form from a code, which is formed on four main pillars; to disseminate, preserve, amplify, and to collaborate. Because the code dictates a vernacular and carbon neutral approach to creating these structures, the result on a global level will be a variety of Amphis, each reflecting the culture and material landscape around them. Future Ruins is divided into three phases.
“The first is the construction, local craft experts are employed to both lead in this and disseminate these methods to members of the community. Many heritage craft and construction techniques within the UK have now been added to a ‘red’ list, with most of these being carbon neutral it is imperative that we preserve them for future generations. This phase will also act as a way of connecting the community to the build, creating a sense of collective ownership of the Amphi. The second phase is the storytelling sessions which will occur within the time frame of the Biennale. The community will be invited to come to the Amphi, where they will be prompted by both the materials and the landscape which they came from, to share stories both local and from afar. The final Phase of the Amphi comes after the Biennale, when its roof is dismantled, and the community is free to appropriate it as they please. This could include anything from picnicking in it, to vandalising it.
“The concept is that, over time, these Amphi will descend into programmatic anonymity, much like monolithic ruins such as Stonehenge, people begin to project their own stories onto its supposed use. This continues a culture of storytelling; hence the projects name ‘Future Ruins’.
“I am also constantly in awe of studios that work inside of the parameters of the architectural discipline, but actively defy standard practice in relation to materials and space. Who pursue sustainability with land based materials as well as waste, and don’t hide behind aesthetics. There are a lot of ‘sustainable’ projects that are out there that are actually driven by fad and the appearance or label of sustainability, rather than actually working towards creating something that is.
How have you found your course and your time at Brighton?
“Like a lot of graduates, what excited me at the start of the course differs from the projects I pursued in my final year. Sustainability and the diverse discourse surrounding it, is hugely influential to me. Understanding the different approaches to it, and the way in which it transcends tangible material into social issues, politics, and the community has been a really important learning curve. Having gone from designing concrete structures and casting large quantities of plaster for my models in my first-year projects, to prototyping and creating new land-based carbon neutral ones in my final year, is just one example of my ongoing growth-spurt. A lot of this is thanks to a group of exceptional teachers within the studio and workshop, the latter of which I was initially very apprehensive about but during my time at university became like a second home for myself and others. Likewise, I have been through the last three years with a group of diverse and talented people who I now call some of my closest friends. The last year has obviously presented some unique challenges, but also an opportunity to extend my work and identify what is actually fulfilling and what is not.”
How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Interior Architecture?
“Initially I had no intention of studying anything pertaining to architecture! I had previously started studying graphics in New Zealand and was convinced I would be continuing along this path in Brighton. But I find it difficult to resist the prospects of the unknown, and so turned up with few expectations, and a set of rather expensive rotring pens.”
What are your plans after graduation?
“It would be great to work within smaller studios who perhaps operate within the periphery of architecture, but I am also up for being part of larger practices who are working within the community as well as extending my own practice. Either way I am going to continue prototyping new sustainable materials and methods of construction, aiming to understand how we can amplify existing materials with waste and biproduct. I’ll never know it all, but to continue to learn and engage in things that fulfil me would be the ultimate goal post-grad.”