Marius wearing his final project, a knitted jumper

Graduates 2024: Marius Moen Holtan: Sustainable Design MA

I’ve benefitted hugely from the support from both Tom Ainsworth and Sally Sutherland during my time on the course. Tom’s constructive disruption and Sally’s deep empathy has inspired me to push and advocate for the value and impact of my work. 

Please tell us a bit about your work and your influences.

My work employs knitting as methodology to explore ways of knowing and the connection between wearers, clothing and cultures. I’m influenced by the relationship between the physical and meta-physical, design narratives and the intersection between practice and research. 

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Matt Reed in the Bognor Regis Time Portal

Brighton graduate’s time portal design boosts tourism at Bognor Regis seafront

University of Brighton graduate Matt Reed is the artist behind a new technology bringing the rich history of the coastal town of Bognor Regis to life.

Beginning as an idea while studying an Architectural and Urban Design MA at the University of Brighton, Bognor Regis Time Portal allows visitors to use their own phones or tablets to get a glimpse of Victorian-era Bognor, with 3D recreations of the wooden bathing machines that once lined the town’s beach.

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Close up photo of Jesse wearing sunglasses

Life at Brighton for prize winning Sustainable Design MA student

Huge congratulations to Sustainable Design MA student Jesse Mugambi, one of two winners of Jägermeister’s #SaveThe Night global competition, which supports nightlife projects around the world. Jesse’s prize is €50,000 to build a music studio and nightclub from decommissioned shipping containers in his native Kenya.

Find out more about Jesse and his time at Brighton in conversation with us here, and discover more about his prize winning project in this post.

What did you study as a first degree?
Architecture BA (Hons) at University of Brighton (2020)

Tell us about your project
My concept is Studio Can-V, a portable space that serves as a studio for musicians to practice and a venue for people to discover new artists. Constructed from a repurposed shipping container and utilising local vernacular design, we aim to foreground contemporary Kenyan identities to create a versatile space that transitions from a daytime hub for young DJs and to a night time club for adult audiences. Studio Can-V centres inclusivity by foregrounding the voices of young DJs from various communities and backgrounds, who represent the future of an equal society. It will help build relationships across the industry and create new gateways for those yet to break into the sector. By empowering local artisans and promoting youth cultural identities, we seek to reclaim our future through music, dance, and connection. Leveraging the global reach of Kenyan artists, it is not only a physical space but a platform for artists to break into new markets, with the scope of scaling up across Africa.

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black and white photo of Jesse Mugambi

Brighton student wins global competition to promote inclusive nightlife

A University of Brighton student has won €50,000 to build a music studio and nightclub from decommissioned shipping containers in his native Kenya.

Jesse Mugambi, who is studying for a Master’s degree in Sustainable Design at the university’s Moulsecoomb campus, has been confirmed as one of two winners of Jägermeister’s #SaveThe Night competition, which supports nightlife projects around the world.

His ‘Studio Can-V’ project beat over 300 submissions from 50 countries to be named joint-winner of this year’s competition, splitting the €100,000 prize fund with a fellow winner from Northern Ireland.

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Matt Read graduate sitting a table smiling at the camera

Space to explore on our Architectural and Urban Design MA

Matt Reed graduated from our Architectural and Urban Design MA in 2023. He tells us about some of the his highlights at Brighton and how he is turning his major project into an exciting installation in 2024.

Why Architectural and Urban Design MA at Brighton?
I had been thinking about a career change for a while and Brighton had a course that really interested me which seemed like it could be an excellent extension to my previous studies – Fine Art intermediate at Kingston University (1993-96) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Glass & Architecture at Central St. Martins (2008-09) – and maybe offer up new work prospects.

I really enjoyed the course, and I highly recommend it, especially for someone looking to do something a bit more experimental within the field of architecture. At the time I started the course it was still during the pandemic, so a lot of the study was initially online. But things opened up gradually over time.

Support and space to explore
I actually took a year out in the middle of my studies. I did the part time route, which was two years, but I took a year out and ended up spreading it over three years. This worked well for me, as it allowed me to do paid work around the course. But, it also gave me thinking space and time to really absorb the material and to apply it to my own creative practice. The university staff were very flexible about this, which was great. The support provided was excellent and they were always happy to accommodate my needs.

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Puzzle hunt team discussing a clue

A puzzling challenge for architecture technology and engineering students

All students from our school were invited to take part in our first Puzzle Hunt this month. Three teams took on the challenge with the winning team picking up SU vouchers as prizes for solving the puzzles in the fastest time.

All teams did brilliantly. Our super sleuths solved a series of puzzles based on pattern matching and work/number associations which took them on a hunt all-round the Moulsecoomb campus. Each puzzle led the different teams to a different room on campus where they found the next clue.

Dr Almas Baimagambetov, principal lecturer and subject lead for computing and maths, organised the event and devised all the challenges said: “The main challenge comes from the fact that clues to solve puzzles are located in different rooms on campus, so before some puzzles can be solved teams will need to visit certain locations. While the puzzles were the same for all teams, the puzzle sequences and most of the clues are unique to each team, so they can’t simply follow each other.”

The Puzzle Hunt was open to the whole school so no specific subject knowledge was needed for this one. Keep your eyes peeled for other, computing-based events Dr Baimagambetov is organising. See below to find out more.

Codefest is an example of a gamified work-based learning method that focuses on authentic assessment and is supported by industry experts. It is delivered as a software development event aimed at helping students to progress and use the latest technologies in the field, as well as promoting teamwork and peer learning through team-based challenges. The team that solves the most challenges wins the event and wins a prize. This is a great opportunity for students to experience the typical day-to-day activities that happen in the industry on a daily basis, as well as to create a strong network of developers.

Game Jam
Game Jam is a similar event focused on students on game development courses. Students form teams and assign themselves roles that mimic the ones used in industry, such as gameplay programmer, visual artist, audio engineer and others.

At the event, each team is given the same keywords that will form an idea for a game and each team develops their own visions of these games. As part of this process, students learn how to manage their own work, as well as how to manage the overall project, as teamwork is key to completing the development within the allocated time.

Internal walkway graphic

Finalist in Urban Design Group National Student Competition

Congratulations to Architectural and Urban Design MA student Rafa Grosso Macpherson, who is a finalist in the Urban Design Group’s national annual student competition.

Rafa’s concept design is based on the need to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies, starting by retaining existing structures and surfaces in an effort to reduce embodied energy from demolition and new building. But it is also an honest celebration of the industrial heritage of the 20th Century, many times forgotten and replaced with ‘anywhere developments’. One of the drivers for this concept design was to activate the derelict site with a network of destinations and hubs that will provide a function to residents, workers and visitors. Overall, the concept design tries to remain realistic but aspirational of a better future for people that feels connected to their place and the landscape.

Researcher to present healthcare carbon reduction plans to MPs and policymakers

University of Brighton researcher Julia Meister will showcase her ground-breaking work to MPs and Peers as a finalist in this year’s STEM For BRITAIN competition.

Julia is studying for a PhD in Computing in the University’s School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering, and is among a group of rising young scientists, engineers and mathematicians chosen as finalists in this year’s STEM For BRITAIN competition, which will take place at Westminster on 6 March.

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Photo of Jordan Whitewood in a wheelchair in a forest

Meet the Brighton activist fighting for disability justice in architecture

Architectural researcher and educator Jordan Whitewood-Neal is leading research, conversation and action for disability justice in building design. 

As Disability Awareness Month begins, University of Brighton architecture graduate Jordan Whitewood-Neal is leading a think tank at London School of Architecture, calling for the retrofit of buildings to better support disabled and ageing communities. “The architectural discipline has in the last few years finally begun to address race and gender inequities, but disability always trails behind,’ he said in a recent interview with the Royal Institute of British Architect’s RIBA Journal.

Having recently completed a master’s degree at Brighton, Jordan has been picked out by RIBA as one of its 2022 Rising Stars. “We can already see him making a difference to the way disability is talked about in projects and within the profession,” said Eleanor Young, one of the judges on the RIBA panel.

Describing himself as an activist as well as researcher, Whitewood-Neal has also co-founded the disability research collective Dis/, drawing on his own experiences as a wheelchair user. Teaming up with James Zatka-Haas and Anna Curzon Price, Dis/ grew out of an event at the London Festival of Architecture in which physically disabled and neuro-diverse creatives shared their experiences of navigating cities – stories Whitewood-Neal said usually remained “completely untold”.  

By leading research and conversation alongside driving action for disability justice in architectural education and practice, he hopes to raise the profile of disabled people within the profession. “A fundamental issue in architectural practice is a scarcity of disabled architects and designers,” he said. 

Dis/ aims to pair disabled architectural researchers with disabled people from outside the profession to talk critically about the city and the architectural needs of people with disabilities – and the struggles many needlessly face. Jordan sees this as not only spurring a consideration of disability as a critical part of the design process, but also a way to challenge the perceived homogeneity of disability – which too often looks no further than installing ramps. 

Jordan said: “After finishing my Masters in Architecture at the University of Brighton I was offered the chance to continue my studies there and expand on my ideas on the Architectural Research MRes. Since starting the course, I have presented my work at various conferences and events as well as undertaken projects including developing a design studio brief titled Retrofit as Reparation that I will be co-leading at the London School of Architecture.

“My research project on the MRes, tutored by Ben Sweeting and Tilo Amhoff, gave me an opportunity to explore novel research methods, alongside more conventional forms of archival research. This research has led to wider work campaigning for more inclusive architectural teaching, as well as founding Dis.”

Follow Jordan Whitewood-Neal on Twitter: @Jordan_WN_