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AJ Student Prize 2018: Leeds Beckett University

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The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by Leeds Beckett University

About the Leeds School of Art, Architecture and Design

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture, MArch, Postraduate Diploma in Professional Practice
  • Location Leeds
  • Head of School Sarah Mills
  • Full-time tutors
  • Part-time tutors 11 
  • Number of students 225 
  • Staff to student ratio 1:18 
  • Fees £9,250


Alexander Tzortzis de Paz, BA (Hons) Architecture

8 ceo section

8 ceo section

Project title Dark Desires of a Corrupt CEO

Project description The project takes place in the old Bank district of the City of London, and proposes an imaginary narrative in which the corrupt chief executive of a bank plots revenge against the City after being ousted from his position by its financial authorities. The CEO enlists the help of his most trusted associate, his personal suit tailor. The tailor awakens his army of mannequins, who steal materials from the prized façades of the Bank district’s buildings and store them in an informal material archive inside the tailor shop’s building. Those materials are then used for the construction of three distinct parasitic towers, which infect the City’s cherished skyline. The three towers are inhabited by the three main characters (mannequins, tailor and CEO), respectively, and their architecture reflect their traits and spatial needs. All in all, the project is meant as an ironic celebration of narcissism and gluttony in the City of London and, as the title suggests, it attempts to give a language to the dark desires of a corrupt CEO.

4 tailors tower section

4 tailors tower section

Tutor citation ‘Alex’s work engages with a strongly defined agenda, which challenges the systems of the City, investigating through drawing and making to reveal tactile interpretations of greed and corruption. His work is both humorous and serious and demonstrates an excellent level of rigour and realisation.’ Clare Hannibal 


Mathew Shepherd, MArch

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1 crop

Project title Unpacking the Museum: A New Ceramic Infrastructure for Gojo-Zaka    

Project description The project reconsiders the future role of the museum in Kyoto, in particular in displaying and re-representing craft cultures such as ceramics to residents and tourists. Via a study of recent and historical Japanese films, in Kiyomizudera the ceramics industry is re-imagined, within an ‘essay film’, as a new infrastructure including: design, production, distribution and display. The proposal reinterprets traditional hand-built kiln technologies to create biscuit and climbing kilns. Items produced are sold and used within ceremonies in the nearby graveyard and at the temple. The techniques, environmental conditions and systems are unpacked and exposed within the physical and social fabric of Kyoto. The project is tested via ‘large set models’ ultimately proposing the return of the craft industry to the city via ‘cinematic commoning’.

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5 crop

Tutor citation ‘Mathew’s carefully executed set models and resultant architectural films tested interventions which challenge the future of the museum and its archives to reveal the possibility of new craft cultures in Kyoto. The project was embedded in the physical and social structures of Kyoto, and exposed what has been lost and what is real.’ Sarah Mills

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