Students have been taking the lead in a recent project with London-based structural engineering practice AKT II.
The students worked with AKT II’s co-founder Professor Hanif Kara to build an archway structure which is currently exhibited outside the Canterbury School of Architecture at UCA Canterbury.
“For the first two days of the project, we were all split into groups of 5-8 people to come up with a design as a group,” explained Sophia Clunies-Ross, UCA Interior Architecture & Design student. “On the third day, we had to present our group proposals that we had developed together.”
Sophia, 22 and originally from Hertfordshire, was appointed leader of the fabric team on the final day so she had to put together a design proposal for the fabric that covered the structure. 130 elements were prefabricated in the workshops and after structural tests, the students worked together to assemble a completed ‘folly’ structure.
“Designing something to be built is very rewarding and you learn a great deal as you have to think about every aspect of the design,” said Sophia. “Working with AKT II was a great opportunity for us as students because we were able to learn from architects and structural engineers who work within the design industry.”
The archway structure that was built by the students within a week now sits in the heart of UCA’s Canterbury campus.
“This short sharp workshop showed again the value and success of practice and academia collaborating in a designed way,” said Professor Hanif Kara.
“The students picked up very confidently the use of tools for both design and communication across disciplines whilst embracing the lessons from “making” something with the necessity of feedback and teamwork.”
The project is part of UCA’s creative residency initiative for this year, which enables students to benefit from more guest artist, designer and practitioner-led projects during their degree courses. Fuelled by a number of existing relationships that UCA has with leading industry experts, the projects provide students with an experience above and beyond their course.
The structure created with AKT II can currently be viewed at UCA Canterbury by the public.