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AJ Student Prize 2018: Manchester School of Architecture

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The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by the Manchester School of Architecture, University of Manchester / Manchester Metropolitan University

About the school

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture, MArch 
  • Location Manchester
  • Head of School Tom Jefferies 
  • Full-time tutors 38 
  • Part-time tutors 35 
  • Number of students 750 
  • Staff to student ratio 1:12 
  • Fees BA (Hons)/MArch: Home £9,250, Overseas £23,000, MA Architecture and Urbanism: Home £9,250 Overseas £15,500 


Benjamin Carter, BA (Hons) Architecture

Stair hall copy

Stair hall copy

Project title Metropolis Archive: House of the Captive Genius Loci 

Project description The city exists in a state of perpetual self-annihilation and resurrection. Acts of destructive acupuncture sweep away the fabric of the city to be replaced by a contemporary equivalent; the predecessor is consigned to memory. This process of attrition against the city fabric is the primary actor in the degeneration of the city’s specific sense of place, the genius loci. This project proposes the modification of urban transfiguration to reclaim the obsolete form of the city; demolition becomes a transitional incident, rather than a lethal coup de grâce. The city’s forma urbis is retained and concentrated in the house of the captive genius loci: the Metropolis Archive. The project, in capturing the city’s genius loci both literally – by containing urban fragments – and figuratively – by abstracting the prevailing architectural typology of the territory – seeks to embody the architectural specificity of the site while asserting its autonomy in respect of the city.

Raumplan copy

Raumplan copy

Tutor citation ‘Benjamin’s Metropolis Archive project cleverly weaves a deep analysis of urban form to generate a rational argument for a building. In a rare skill, Benjamin demonstrates a way of seeing the city that not only engages with debates within his atelier but exceeds them in his translation of key critical texts. His final portfolio is both exquisitely drawn and convincingly argued.’ Stephen Connah


Evagelia Nella, MArch 

Patterns within the patterns

Patterns within the patterns

Project title Patterning Power 

Project description This scheme challenges the typical ‘eyesore effect’ of power plants, considering how the industrial can be integrated within an urban setting to form a coherent progression of the cultural landscape.The thesis uses Christopher Alexander’s pattern language theory and applies it to the development of energy infrastructure, interpreting new infrastructure development as part of a wider web of the cultural landscape. Instead of viewing infrastructural buildings as isolated objects placed on the landscape, viewing them as patterns focuses on their contextual correlations.  The scheme’s prime coastal position in Penzance presents an opportunity to regenerate the city’s under-utilised harbour. Energy is combined with public gardens, a ferry terminal, food court and employment hub. This multiplicity makes the site respond to diverse demands of the area simultaneously, attempting to ensure resilience for the proposal over time.

Building and the three patterns scale 1 2500

Building and the three patterns scale 1 2500

Tutor citation ‘The scheme embodies the scales and patterns at regional district, urban and local levels, as a radical approach to integrating renewable energy and urban regeneration with wide-ranging potential application. Redefining a surface car park fronting Penzance Railway Station as a significant point of arrival and power from both land and sea, a new typology is created, fusing contemporary infrastructure, Postmodern theory and big data.’ Tom Jeffries and Laura Coucill 

Student subscription offer 

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