ASN Futures Conference Programme Release

The ASN Futures Conference will take place on the 21st of February in Manchester School of Art. The focus will be on the new RIBA Education review and the future of architectural education in UK. If you would like to participate, there is still time to contact your representative or send an email to asn@theasn.org. Attached is the programme for the day. Looking forward to seeing all schools there! programme asn

The ASN: Lines Drawn Press Release 25.03.14

Download Press Release here.

ASN calls for change – students discuss the state of UK architectural education

Students seated waiting for the conference to begin.

70 Part 1, 2 and 3 students included those on their placement years across 22 schools of architecture gathered together to address and unify their voice in calling for improvements to the current pedagogy of UK’s architectural education to reflect a changing society.

The weekend conference entitled ‘Lines Drawn’ took place between 15 and 16 March and was hosted by The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in collaboration with The Architecture Students Network (ASN).

Over the course of the weekend, students were broken up into different workshops discussing the merits and pitfalls of the part 1, 2 and 3 route to qualification, aspirations of a flexible education system, the new EU directive, bridging links between academia and practice and the future of the profession and education system.

The Saturday evening saw Will Hunter, executive editor of the Architectural Review, Oliver Wainwright, architecture and design critic of the Guardian, Pam Cole, head of Portsmouth School of Architecture and Patrick Hannay, CAT tutor take part in an open panel discussion. Chaired by Vinesh Pomal, ASN representative, the panel debated the merits and pitfalls of UK’s architectural education and questioned whether the 5+0 or 4+2 was the preferred route in line with the revised EU directive.

Pam Cole put forward a proposal for an alternative route to qualification in line with the EU directive which prompted a positive response by the students.

‘You complete two years of undergraduate then at the end you decide – or your tutors decide if you are eligible – to go straight through to the masters level qualification. You can also have a placement year after the 3rd year (EU Directive requirement).

‘So 2 + 2, with a placement year after the 3rd year which in effect is 3 + 1 + 1, with only one Part 2 award, and no part 1 (but the 3 is not the Part 1 or degree equivalent). Those who want to exit with a degree would follow a different 3rd year and effectively reroute onto the 3 + 1 + 2 route.

‘The current system complies with the EU directive and we should be looking at what we want education to be within the EU’.

Whilst there was a general consensus amongst the panel and students to reduce the amount of years required for qualification, it was agreed that it should ultimately be about how competent you are in becoming an architect rather than the length required. Students acknowledged that the current route to qualification had some key merits which needed to be incorporated into any new course structure.

Students commented on the fact that ‘the current system has the flexibility to come out of Architecture if you’re not sure after three years but with easy access if you later decide you want to continue to become an architect’.

Ruth Jennings, a student from Sheffield School of Architecture said that there was a constant assumption of being an architect as the end goal, gateway into the profession and not a celebration.

Another student said ‘the course has given me a wide range of skills and the opportunity to apply myself to other aspects of life/ career paths, this is undervalued and should be realised.’

The ASN believes that the course content throughout part 1, 2 and 3 and the length needs to be re-evaluated to reflect the changing needs of the profession, especially with the rise in tuition fees and associated university costs. Students value the flexibility of the different stages and the various opportunities it gives them to diversify, specialise and develop as an individual.

Views were also expressed by students on the importance of practices playing a role in their academic and professional training. Matthew Murnin, a student from Queens University Belfast (QUB) valued the depth of practical experience part time tutors brought to his education. Discussions also lead to students wanting more emphasis on practitioners attending project crits, reviews and tutorials. Students appreciated that whilst this could dampen creativity, a degree of reality needed to be incorporated to help prepare students for practice.

Emily Partridge, a student from Cambridge and former student of CAT echoed the importance of live projects.

Live projects, which are prevalent in many schools of architecture today were seen as a positive step in engaging with the real world although the interpretation of what one was differed across the country. Projects ranged from conceptual projects working with a ‘real client’ to building pavilions and buildings for communities.

Students from the Royal College of Art in London (RCA) are currently engaging in a live project with the London Borough of Brent to design a structure next to Wembley Stadium. They commented that although it has been difficult, it’s made them appreciate and develop the other skills required in becoming an architect; most importantly teamwork.

Projects that allow creativity & imagination while being based in the reality of building and within a context is a key strength of architectural education. It allows people to develop a moral, ethical and social approach to the built environment, an ideal, that is unfortunately often not in practice, while learning how to design a building, the process of making, ’

When the students were asked what they valued most about their education, the design studio and its culture came high on the agenda. Students saw the diversity and talent of their student peers as an inspiring driving force with one-to-one tutorials seen as a good opportunity for critical dialogue and self critical analysis.

I value being taught how to develop an idea. To start a design process and being asked to think in a way that allows you to develop a finished product that has so much integrated in. I value that I am ’

However, whilst the design studio is seen as a place for critical dialogue and sharing ideas, Eleanor Grair, a student from Newcastle University felt there was a real lack of design methodology in architecture schools. Olly Wainwright expands on this.

‘It was interesting to hear how many students felt that the design process itself is so absent from the courses – not that there is a single approach that can be taught, but that the discussion of different design methodologies goes strangely unspoken, with such an emphasis on superficial presentation rather than how to make good buildings and spaces.

It really felt like momentum for change has finally reached a tipping point. I look forward to hearing what will come next and how the ARB and RIBA – and ultimately DCLG – will respond to the collective cry for radical reform. Otherwise, with such brilliant and affordable education available overseas, we risk losing our best students.’

The intense weekend of debates and discussions will be compiled into a detailed report which will be published on the ASN’s website in April. This report will be presented to the Architects Registration Board (ARB), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), The Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (SCHOSA) and other influential bodies within the built environment to ensure the student voice is heard and addressed.

[ENDS]

Lines Drawn 2014 Press Contacts:

Vinesh Pomal, ASN representative and co-founder asn@theasn.org
Zlatina Spasova, ASN administrator asn@theasn.org

Photos from the event can be downloaded below.

Photo Copyright – Vinesh Pomal and Zlatina Spasova

Note to editors:

– Lines Drawn 2014 was hosted by The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales in the Wise Building designed by Pat Borer and David Lea. CAT offers a unique Part 2 qualification where students learn the art of building and materiality through sustainable design. Students attend residential weeks throughout the course. The conference was a good opportunity to showcase an alternative model for a part 2 course.

– The conference was organised by: Vinesh Pomal, ASN representative and co- founder, Architect at Levitt Bernstein Associates; Zlatina Spasova, ASN administrator, Masters student at Manchester School of Architecture and Duncan Roberts, Programme Leader, Professional Diploma in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (Part 2) at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

– The following schools of architecture were represented at the conference: Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Dublin, De Montfort, Glasgow, Huddersfield, Kent, Lincoln, Manchester, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Queens University Belfast (QUB), Ravensbourne, Royal College of Art (RCA), Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, Ulster, West of England and Westminster.

– The Architecture Students Network (ASN) is an independent network of student representatives from schools of architecture within the United Kingdom. It was established in 2011 to replace the former national student society Archaos. The aims of the network are to work to support and promote architecture student events, harness student opinion, and engage with other established, relevant educational organisations both nationally and internationally.

– The ASN works with The Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (SCHOSA) in raising student issues and sit on the RIBA’s Equality and Diversity committee Architects for Change (AfC) committee promoting Equality and Diversity in the profession in both academia and practice.

Full quote from Olly Wainwright, architecture and design critic of the Guardian:

‘Architectural education has stagnated as an arcane, inward-looking pursuit for far too long – a situation now made all the more questionable by the exorbitant rise in fees – and at the ASN conference there was a palpable sense of urgency for change.

It was really encouraging to see such an engaged and articulate group of students coming together from such a wide range of schools to really question the value of the education they are receiving and discuss alternatives for how the current model might be adapted – particularly to make it relevant for a world in which the role of the architect has radically departed from the 1950s, when the three-part system of architectural education was first established.

It seemed there was a general consensus that the length of the course could be considerably compressed, with many frustrated by the amount of wasted and misdirected time, along with a feeling that they were graduating without the necessary skills to be useful in practice. It was interesting to hear how many students felt that the design process itself is so absent from the courses – not that there is a single approach that can be taught, but that the discussion of different design methodologies goes strangely unspoken, with such an emphasis on superficial presentation rather than how to make good buildings and spaces.

It really felt like momentum for change has finally reached a tipping point. I look forward to hearing what will come next and how the ARB and RIBA – and ultimately DCLG – will respond to the collective cry for radical reform. Otherwise, with such brilliant and affordable education available overseas, we risk losing our best students.’

2014 RIBA Aedas Stephen Williams Scholarship

Hayley Russell, Education Projects Coordinator, has provided us with the following information to share with you:
The RIBA is calling for applications for the RIBA Aedas Stephen Williams Scholarship 2014.
The scholarship provides £5,000 to support one student for a period of postgraduate study lasting up to 12 months in the UK or abroad. Aedas will appoint a mentor to the student throughout the period of their scholarship. This year, the remit of the scholarship has been widened to welcome applications from students who will be entering their first year of Part 2, in addition to second year Part 2 students.
Applicants must:
  • have graduated from a Part 1 programme validated by the RIBA in the UK
AND
At the time of application, students must either:
  • be enrolled in, or have been granted a placement offer for, an RIBA-validated Part 2 professional qualification in the UK or abroad
OR
  • be enrolled, or have been granted a placement offer, in a Masters course (non-RIBA Part 2) related to architecture, at a university department that also offers courses validated by the RIBA in the UK or abroad
The RIBA Aedas Stephen Williams Scholarship was established in 2008 thanks to the generous support of Aedas Architects and is offered in memory of Stephen Williams, a past Director of Aedas. The scholarship, named in Stephen Williams’s honour, serves as an appreciation of his tireless devotion to the profession. Stephen was a strong advocate for good design and thoughtful consideration of the built environment. Always committed to promoting education and further knowledge, the award serves to continue his legacy.
The deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 9 June 2014. For more information, visit www.architecture.com/aedasscholarship
Students should contact Hayley Russell (hayley.russell@riba.org 020 7307 3678020 7307 3678020 7307 3678020 7307 3678) for help with their applications.

RIBA Boyd Auger Scholarship 2014

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is now calling for applications for the RIBA Boyd Auger Scholarship 2014. The scholarship aims to support applicants in their personal, professional and academic development within the architectural field by providing them with an opportunity to undergo a period of imaginative and original research and travel.

In 2014, one Scholarship worth £5,000 is available to individuals or groups of students and graduates for a period of international travel (which can also tie in with a period of international work experience). Applications for funding international travel associated with architecture-related work in non-governmental organisations or as part of broader research at postgraduate level (namely towards Masters or PhD/MPhil programmes) are also welcome.
The Scholarship was established in 2008 in memory of Boyd Auger, following a generous donation from his widow, Mrs Margot Auger. Since then, it has funded 9 architecture students and graduates to travel outside the United Kingdom to work or conduct research on topics and in locations of their choice.
The deadline to apply is Monday 2 June 2014. For more information, visit www.architecture.com/RIBABoydAugerScholarship
Students should contact Hayley Russell (hayley.russell@riba.org 020 7307 3678) for help with their applications.

2014 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

The RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has now been launched and is open for applications. A £6,000 grant will be awarded to one student to fund international research on a topic related to the survival of towns or cities. The deadline for submissions is Friday 25 April 2014. Entries will be judged by a panel which includes Lord Foster and RIBA President, Stephen Hodder.

Eligible students must:

  • be enrolled in an RIBA or CAA validated degree programme or in a programme from a specially invited school or architecture centre AND
  • have successfully completed at least the first year of a Part 1 degree.

Each school can only submit one application produced by one student.

For more information, check out the following website.

RIBA Hardship Funds 2013-2014

Hayley Russell, Education Projects Coordinator has provided us with the following information to share to you all:

RIBA are now accepting applications to the RIBA Student Hardship Funds for the 2013/14 academic year. Any architecture student (either studying or undertaking practical experience) in hardship or who needs extra financial support, and meets the eligibility criteria, can apply.  Any grant allocated from the RIBA Student Hardship Funds will be allocated from the RIBA Education Fund and the RIBA Walter Parker Bursaries, but for the 2013/14 academic year, the application forms have been merged to make the process easier.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Applicants should be able to prove that they are in financial hardship when applying to the RIBA Student Hardship Funds. The assessors are particularly looking to support students from low income households or where circumstances beyond their control have meant that they are struggling financially.
  • The RIBA Student Hardship Funds are open to students studying an RIBA-validated Part 1 or Part 2 architecture course, or with RIBA candidate status, in the UK.
  • Applicants should have successfully completed the first year of an RIBA-validated Part 1 course in the UK.
  • The student must have been resident in the UK full-time for at least 3 years prior to the start of their first course in architecture.

Grants can be awarded to students while studying or while undertaking or seeking practical experience. To view case studies of previous recipients, please click here.

Application forms and guidance notes can be found at www.architecture.com/hardshipfunds. Last year RIBA allocated over £100,000 from these hardship funds to nearly 100 students across the UK. For more information, please contact hayley.russell@riba.org.

 

2013 Degree Show listings

It’s that time of year again.

The burnt out haze that directly follows the intense week or two before final presentations and portfolio submissions is making studios up and down the country fuggy as we reprint, trim and label our drawings for our respective degree shows.

 

Thankfully, to save us too much extra effort in our search for inspiration from or comparison to our peers across the country, James Benedict Brown (lecturer at NUA) has complied a list of all the show dates on his otherwise interesting blog.

You can find it here.

 

It seems that only Cardiff is missing from the list, so if anyone there has info on dates or location, do get in touch.

The ASN @ MSSA

The ASN @ MSSA
“A one day event of moderated discussion and debate.”
Manchester School of Architecture
Tuesday 28th May

10:00 – 16:00 ASN @ MSSA (including lunch)
17:30 Before You’re 30

On the 28th of May 2013 the Manchester Society of Student Architects (MSSA) is hosting The Architecture Students Network (The ASN).

The meeting will be the ASN’s first event since the successful ASN Forum in February, but where the Forum brought the issues of students before the establishment (one immediate result being the cessation of unpaid internships at Dezeen), this event will be a round table meeting of students from around the country.

It’s very rare that this happens in UK architecture education. It is the opportunity for the 12,000+ strong architecture student community to come together, to share views, discuss, and to strategise. To get the debate rolling, the day will focus on the double question: Where is architecture [both education and the profession] going, and what power is there in students to define it?

What is it about architecture that you want the ASN to be talking about? What are the issues that will define your career? Do you want to head up a ASN working group to take these issues further? This event will shape the agenda of the ASN for the next 12 months, with attendees defining upcoming events. All discussions and output on the day will be reviewed for the Architects Journal.

Attendees will also be special guests for the final Before You’re 30 lectures.

Attendance is FREE. Please register your interest by emailing c.maloney@mmu.ac.uk . More information on the event and travel will follow for those who do.

Travel costs – The ASN has requested that your head of school pays for the transport for up to two students. Get in touch with them as to how to claim this back. Most will be very supportive, it’s in their interest to have students actively engaged in their education.