It was called The Architecture Big Event and it certainly lived up to its name.
Around 600 students from De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) School of Architecture came together to hear from eminent guest speakers and take part in challenges, all designed to prepare the ground for a busy academic year of creative thought, constructive debate and dynamic designs.
The 600-strong group of DMU students at The Architecture Big Event
The BA (Hons) and MArch students took over The Venue@DMU for the day in a first for the Leicester School of Architecture that included talks by TV’s Piers Taylor, who most recently co-presented BBC Two’s World’s Most Extraordinary Homes, and award-winning architect Sir Peter Cook.
The event kicked-off with a live link to India where Simon Bradbury, DMU's Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities, showed the work that Architecture students have been doing to help improve homes in one of the poorest parts of India, protecting residents from devastating floods.
Second and third year students were then given the task of creating 10 metre long drawings of either a utopia – defined as an island of the imagination – or a dystopia – an imaginary state of suffering and injustice.
Second and third years work on designs for either Utopia or Dystopia
While the first years, who were enjoying their first day as architecture students, were set the task of creating a home, influenced by a celebrity or hero and built from paper and straws.
All of the students had to work in large groups which meant listening to, debating and acting on each other’s ideas to reach a common goal.
Homes were designed based on the beliefs and teachings of everyone from Gordon Ramsay and the ancient Egyptians to Martin Luther King and Elon Musk. Others looked to comic book heroes including Batman and Thor.
Max Carnegie-Riviere was working on a Peter Pan home. He said: “Peter Pan gives us lots of different ideas that we can use, such as the trees, the stars, fairies, ships... A day like today is really important for us to help get to know each other.”
Ryan Elliott, from Doncaster, was part of a team creating a giant upturned frying pan as a home for Gordon Ramsay.
First year students got to know each other through team work
“We are first years so we don’t know how to cook so Gordon Ramsay is an inspiration,” he laughed. “It is a good day. Everyone is getting involved and helping each other out.”
Nicholas Moy was part of a team designing a home based on Doctor Manhatten from the Watchmen comics, and was trying to work out how to represent the doctor’s emblem of a hydrogen atom within the building.
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“It’s all about meeting people and sharing ideas. I want to go on and create renewable floating homes on the oceans. There is so much plastic in the sea and we should be looking at ways of using existing materials to create homes.”
Third year Janet Adekoya, from London, said: “I have never done anything like this before. It is great to see what other people’s understanding of architecture is.
TV architect Piers Taylor speaks to the audience of 600
“We can then all merge our ideas into one design, which I feel is what architecture is all about. It is a challenge that means we must work together to find a solution.
“I eventually want my own business and to design my own house. But I also want to do something that isn’t the norm. All you see in London is high rise buildings. You don’t get to see the intricacies and the thought processes that go into a building. That’s what I want to show in my designs.”
Fellow third year Ammen Qasim, who is originally from Pakistan, said: “This is a great start to the academic year. We get to know each other better and brainstorm together.
“I really want to start working in residential housing schemes. I want to work closely with people and make sure human needs are met.”
Posted on Tuesday 2nd October 2018