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AJ Student Prize 2018: De Montfort University

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The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by De Montfort University

About Leicester School of Architecture

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture (RIBA Part 1), MArch Architecture (RIBA Part 2), Postgraduate Diploma (RIBA Part 3), BSc (Hons) Architectural technology, MSc Architecture and Sustainability, MA Architectural Design 
  • Location Leicester 
  • Head of School Simon Bradbury 
  • Full-time tutors 14 
  • Part-time tutors 71 
  • Number of students 637 
  • Staff to student ratio BA studios 1:13, MArch studios 1:10 
  • Fees £9,250


Abeer Al Touqi, BA (Hons) Architecture

Untitled 16

Untitled 16

Project title Klären

Project description Berlin’s Second World War Flaktürme (air raid defence towers) at Humboldthain were associated with fear, protection and death. The towers were demolished in part, creating a ruinous park. The top of the towers offer serene views, tainted by souls lost by suicide. The experience of spaces in the perspective of mental patients was a great factor in design considerations. The existing building was carved through, creating a chasm as a metaphor of the mind – the deeper one explores, the messier it may get. This is juxtaposed by designing a garden space at the pit of the chasm. The building became a representation of the battle between a woman and her mind. The abundance of bees in Berlin influenced the idea of a sanctuary on the hill. This then imposed the concept of having oozing honey as the main aspect of the new build. The sculpture used to clarify the honey was abstracted to create a louvre roof system.

2.5d collage

2.5d collage

Tutor citation ‘Using a wide range of drawings, Abeer produced unconventional design approaches and presentation. She employed a graphical route to the project, exploring spatial qualities through experience and manipulating senses. The concept of the project was sentimental, rich with poetic aspects, as well as unusual features. Every installation in the building, or design decision, came with considerations towards the users of the building, proving a sensitive approach. As well as architectural drawings, Abeer turned to written art to emphasise her project narrative, creating powerful images to go alongside them.’ Daniel Farshi and Michelle Tomlinson


Esther Akanni, MArch

4 7

4 7

Project title Hackney Town Hall: A New Typology

Project description The misuse of civic buildings within London is on the rise. In recent years these structures have been re-purposed in order to stave off the threat of demolition. However, these civic structures and multifunctional spaces (theatres, swimming baths, libraries, administrative quarters, etc) that were once at the heart of communities, have been re-purposed incorrectly and are often now supermarkets or betting shops. This project takes a critical look at town halls and their early formations in an attempt to establish their architectural typology. It goes on to reinvent the town hall in an architecture that is transparent and playful while having the ability to respond to the needs of developing surroundings.

00 1

00 1

Tutor citation ‘This project was explored and developed through highly crafted drawings and models, combining digital and analogue fabrication. The final product is a playful, highly spatial, multi-layered and socially responsive architecture that represents Esther’s personality and passion for her community.’ Ben Cowd and Thomas Hopkins

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