The 2017 Welsh School of Architecture – Cardiff and London Summer Shows
The Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University has a long-standing reputation for its high standard of work and the quality of its graduates, reflected in its consistent presence in the top 5 of architecture degree league tables.
At the end of each year, the school opens its door to the public in its Cardiff Show, an exhibition showcasing the work produced by all students: from the experimental explorations of undergraduates in their first year, to the research theses of postgraduates in their final year. However, in the summer of 2017, we are hoping to give life to an even greater event. A team of students at the end of their Bachelors and Master’s Degree are making a joint effort to expand the experience, the curation and the outreach of the Cardiff Show to deliver not just an exhibition, but a celebration of architecture that is truly representative of the schools and students ethos.
Furthermore, this year for the first time, the London Show too shall be different. Until now, the show only exhibited the Master’s Degree theses in a rented venue in the city, but this summer, given the amazing teamwork that is happening at Cardiff, students ending their Bachelors program shall be present too. In doing so, we set ourselves a greater goal, hoping that the shows, together, shall represent both the work produced and the continued professional relationships with architectural practices across the country.
It is important to note how both shows are entirely student led and funded. As it always happens, we work together with the school, especially at the Cardiff Show where we can design the spaces and receive the valuable support of staff members. However, we mainly avail ourselves of the generous support of new and recurring sponsors who have helped us in the past years to make our ideas become reality. This year, we look forwards to continuing and bettering this tradition.
More information about the shows and how to support us, about the developments and about the design units can be found on our website and live updates can be followed from our social media pages listed here below:
Aiste Labeikyte (below)
The unit is exploring the connection between material and place with a focus on the town of Leominster looking at how materials and processes that are currently locally available to that town might influence the future development of that place. Leominster is relatively small market town with new development coming in which would increase the town by 1/3. The town also has a great history of water infrastructure. My thesis focuses on resolving the issues that the new development might cause, through exploration of water infrastructure and existing steel industry in the industrial estate. The thesis will explore properties of water and steel, their connection, which could benefit the town and its community with new alternative energy production and community friendly public spaces for people to gather and interact.
Amelia Mckechnie-Welsh (below)
The existing work represents initial research based around the refugee crisis in Palermo, Sicily. The mappings highlight the key nodes within the historic city center which provide facilities appropriate for the short and long term integration of refugees. Since meeting key stakeholders and creating contacts during the study trip, we were able to masterplan realistic responses to aid the refugee and civilian crisis in Palermo. The masterplan aims to respond to the wishes of the city council, working with the community, local artists and education stakeholders in the surrounding context. The next stage of development is to focus on a strategic building connected to a public space within our masterplan which will be architecturally developed with our design thesis.
Ben Hancock (below)
The thesis explores processes of making which have a positive impact. My initial study was to create two lamps, of a similar form, and compare the environmental impacts of their making processes. Although both lamps are made from timber that would otherwise have been thrown away, they both ultimately involved processes that had a negative impact on the environment. My aim is to identify measures which could allow the environmental impacts of industries to be reduced, largely through ‘absorbers’ which remove harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides form the flue gasses of these industries. My project now aims to culminate in the design of a Quicklime Works in the centre of Bridgend, which will process locally sourced limestone aggregate, into quicklime. Quicklime is a traditional material in the vale of Glamorgan, but is currently no longer made here. By creating a factory based on ecological principles, right in the heart of Bridgend, which also includes teaching, research and public engagement facilities, the intention is to create a publicly visible symbol of the fact that Wales is still a place of industry and employment.
Bianca Ramona Dumea (below)
The concept of the project is the development of a versatile type of architecture, capable to easily adapt to varied musical spaces and acoustics: from the echoed sounds of a gothic cathedral to the clear sounds of a concert hall. My objective is to use and experiment with the current technologies in hand and Venice’s historical past (as the “Republic of Music”) to enhance and promote both traditional and new musical typologies. These actions aim to defend Venice’s position as a city of music, and furthermore, transform the city into a landmark for music.
Daria Baciu (below)
The purpose of this thesis is to research the possibility of an organic structural configuration to create architectural space that can enlighten and uplift the spirit. A building should be about space; architectural space that is designed according to the user specifically and the main focus should be the interaction between the user and the building. Nowadays, with density being dealt with vertically, for mostly lack of space, buildings become stacks of matchbox size rooms labelled with functions. The journey between public and private is lost. The sense of community is forgotten. Therefore, this thesis questions how to deal with density vertically, with the user in mind. The project is still in preliminary research phases currently focused on structural testing and forming of possible aggregates. The main structural material will be timber and the innovation here is how through parametric design there is the possibility to create a structure where each structural element can be different and adapted according to the desired architectural space.
Jamie McGhee (below)
Currently, this architectural project is at the stage of urban and social analysis, attempting to unravel the complex ‘situation’ of the city of Palermo. This infographic map aims to spatially translate the network of ‘cultural, educational and community’ landscapes of this diverse urban realm. The topographic layers describe the intensity of presence of these separate ‘landscapes’ across the city’s historic quarter, whereas the background hatch denotes the condition of the architecture. On this ‘scale’ of degradation, the darkest colour represents the most derelict buildings and highlights them as ‘opportunities’ for transformative re-use. Through the process of urban acupuncture, my future design proposal will harness these abandoned heritage ‘nodes’ for the integration of migrants to the local Sicilian population. This second digital collage explores a psychogeographic ‘drift’ through this same historic area. Inspired by the writing of Walter Benjamin about the city of Naples, this image depicts a theatrical, almost ‘cinematic’ journey through this dramatic cityscape.
Lida Michelaki (below)
I am looking at how in the traditional part of Leominster new additions on the buildings are built on top of each other to create an archaeology of layers, and that was in contrast to the industrial zone of the town where everything is simple volumes of a single material. ‘Old & New map’ is a map of the old and new parts of town and what public spaces are around them and I made it to choose a site and identify problems. The stage where I’m at now is to come up with the strategy to connect the two parts of the town together in a way that respects their building traditions.
Michael Mitchell (below)
As part of the ‘Verticality, Sustainability and Parametrics’ unit I became most interested in the development of a structural system usually associated with steel. With the recent advancements in the structural properties of CLT and Glulam it is now possible to create parametric structures in timber. It became clear through my research that the success of a timber diagrid relied on the creation of a successful node connection. This led me to develop different systems and node connections that could be manufactured using robotics and easily assembled. I did further research into the possibilities of connecting timber without a node member and developed a system of interlocking pieces, each identical to the other. The next stages are to further this research through 1:1 manufacturing using CNC machining as well as the robotic arm to create a full scale prototype.
Rokas Patapas (below)
The work at the moment is based on research of find a way to use timber as the main structural material for buildings especially in tall structures, so called “Plysapers”. The aim of the future design is to create a building that benefits the local economy of the city it is built in by providing flexible spaces for active people such as start-up businesses, creativity hubs, entrepreneurs, etc. The idea that the building would work around a forum based system between the people. The shape and the layout of the building would respond to the raised requirements of the future tenants and the site. All of this would be generated by a parametric script. The idea is to create a system of joints and structural members that create a cellular structural grid which can house all of the required spaces. With the help of computational processes and robotics for mass production, the members of the building would be prefabricated, thus leading to faster build times and possible dismantle and relocation in the future.
Vlad Posmangiu Luchian (below)
My Design Thesis is exploring shadow and the unconscious. The design aim of the project is a secular monastery. Still at a conceptual phase in the design process, the exploration of conceptual constructs is still taking place. This is done through a plethora of mediums spanning from classical oil painting and drawings all the way to poetry and factual economic analysis. These drawings are part of this exploration, trying to pin down the local character of architecture and the theoretical ideas behind my architecture. In the end one hopes to achieve an architecture of the sublime, which communicates with the dweller and aids him in the process of self-discovery. Regardless if this process is done through the scientifically research of jet propulsion or the lyrical dissection of the self through poetry.