Royal Institute of British Architects awards UCA students

Two students from Architecture win RIBA prizes

Two students from the School of Architecture at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) have received prizes for excellence from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Students Oscar Wilson and Radu Gidei were awarded the Degree and Diploma prizes at the end of the academic year to celebrate the talent in UCA's BA (Hons) Architecture and Master of Architecture (MArch) degrees.

Oscar, 21 and originally from Reading, graduated this summer from BA (Hons) Architecture at UCA Canterbury, which is the first part of the professional architect qualification validated by RIBA. He has secured a job with planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore and won the Degree Prize from RIBA with his project 'Kein Mensch Ist Illegal' (No man is illegal).

Oscar imagined a fictitious independent city state called Sankt Pauli in Hamburg, Germany, in which freedom of movement would be possible. Inspired by the loss of 366 lives last November when a boat carrying migrants sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa, Oscar envisaged the permanent residents of Sankt Pauli as members of the Lampedusa in Hamburg, which is an actual protest group of more than 300 refugees who have campaigned for the past 18 months for permanent residency in the city.

In Oscar's project, a submarine would collect immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers and cross the Mediterranean to patrol Lampedusa and make the crossing to Europe less treacherous. Those on the submarine would be taken to Sankt Pauli and to a building that contains a residential centre for acclimatisation, a language school and training facility to serve a fishing port, eel farm and smokery.

Student Oscar's RIBA prize project

Kein Mensch Ist Illegal

"Many of the Lampedusa in Hamburg group were fishermen in Africa before their migration," Oscar explained. "At the smokery, market and eating houses, the immigrants can interact with Hamburgers and show the value and skills that they bring to Europe."

Romanian student Radu, 24, graduated from UCA's MArch degree this summer, which includes the second part of the professional architect qualification validated by RIBA. The judges were impressed with his project, The Distributed Terminal, which aims to speed up and streamline every aspect of flying from airports.

Radu explained: "The modern airport is a shed. Everything you need in oprder to fly is under one big - sometimes beautiful - roof. But what started out as a convenient way to fly is now a convoluted, slow process, akin to a maze."

Radu's idea imagined an airport infrastructure that was disassembled and spread out to minimise passenger travel time and maximise efficiency.

"Imagine dropping off your luggage at Waterloo, going through security whilst on the train and boarding the plane the minute you arrive at the gate. The entire system could adopt a just-in-time strategy, where passenger movements and operations and coordinated and choreographed. The distributed terminal re-imagines the process of air travel and places passengers at the heart of it all."

Radu received a First Class degree for his BA (Hons) Architecture at UCA Canterbury before gaining a Distinction for his MArch. He has just started work at Lee Evans Partnership, an architecture practice with offices in Canterbury and London, and will also teach workshops at UCA Canterbury during the next academic year.

Student Radu receiving RIBA award

Radu Gidei with Derek Nicholson, Chair, RIBA West Kent Branch [left] and Mayler Colloton, Chair, RIBA Canterbury & District Branch [right]

Oscar and Radu's prizes were awarded by the two Kent-based RIBA Branches. Both graduates received a certificate and a cheque for £200.

"The RIBA's continuing support for students at UCA Canterbury is hugely valued by the School and its staff and students," said Allan Atlee, Head of School of Architecture at UCA. "This year, both Oscar and Radu have epitomised the unique set of skills and attitudes that students of Architecture at UCA acquire whilst studying in the Canterbury School of Architecture. Their projects both consider the complex ways in which buildings act as infrastructures to support people's day to day lives and offer compelling insights into new ways in which we can think about the ways in which the circulation of people, goods, services and cultures can enrich the city."

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