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Labyrinthine architecture earns DMU grad prestigious award


Atmospheric architecture designs have earned a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate a respected commendation from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).


Beating 145 entrants, Danielle Fountain was one of just three individuals to receive a commendation in the 2017 RIBA President's Silver Medal awards, which reward talent, promote innovation and encourage excellence in architectural education.

The Architecture MArch and Architecture BA (Hons) graduate impressed the judging panel with her project - The House of Ambiguity: Constructing Fictional Space – which explored the use of fictional narratives within the design process.

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Inspired by the unconventional bestselling novel House of Leaves, Danielle designed a labyrinthine house by fully utilising interstitial space (the intermediate space located between regular-use walls and floors) to create architecture with an ambiguous nature.

The 25-year-old from Northamptonshire said: “I can’t really believe I won the commendation, just to be nominated for the award felt amazing. The confidence it has given me in my ability is definitely the biggest benefit.”

Danielle is now working as an Architectural Assistant at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, one of the world’s largest architecture, interior design, engineering and urban planning firms.


“I work closely with the architects, creating both drawings and models,” she said.

“One of the things I’m enjoying most about working is being able to use what I learnt at university, as well as working with and learning from talented designers.”

DMU helped set Danielle up for the industry: “My tutors couldn’t have prepared me better for my career. Their advice and guidance has been invaluable.

“The skills I gained in digital and physical model making, as well as drawing and designing were all utilised within my first few weeks in the office. The guest lectures were also useful, as I got a glimpse into the different ways talented professionals work.”

Danielle also praised #DMUglobal, the university’s international experience programme which aims to enrich studies, broaden cultural horizons and develop key skills valued by employers.

“I feel lucky to have visited so many places around Europe, experiencing the unique architecture and culture of each place,” said Danielle.

RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said: “Many congratulations to this year’s RIBA President’s Medals winners. The entries for this awards programme are always impressive and this year was no exception, with more entries than ever before.

"I am extremely pleased to see that the creativity and accomplished technique in the work of these budding architects is matched with a renewed ambition and focus on the important role that architecture plays in social betterment.

"The passion and intelligence with which these graduates address complex architectural briefs by drawing from personal experiences and involving those for whom their buildings are designed is achieved with remarkable rigour and commitment.

"I very much look forward to following their successful careers.”

Posted on Tuesday 12th December 2017

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