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AJ Student Prize 2018: Northumbria University

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The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by Northumbria University

About the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment 

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture, MArch, Bachelor in Interior Architecture
  • Location Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Head of School Paul Jones
  • Full-time tutors 20 Part-time tutors 18
  • Number of students 392
  • Staff to student ratio 1:17
  • Fees £9,250 


Frankie Prinsloo, BA (Hons) Architecture

Prinsloo baptism

Prinsloo baptism

Project title A Pilgrim’s Progress: A Spiritual Retreat at Derwent Reservoir

Project description The backpacker’s experience of the Derwent Reservoir (located on the border of Durham and Northumbria) is transcended through a series of five experiential pavilions referencing John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come. This allegory, one of the most significant works of religious English literature, portrays the journey of a man fleeing the City of Destruction (symbolising a world of sins, corruptions and sorrows), with the pilgrim journeying in hope towards the Celestial City.

Each of the five pavilions reflects a particular location from Bunyan’s text. As visitors progress through the site, they encounter physical and metaphorical transformation of the pavilion typology. Visitors become protagonists in their own pilgrimage, as the demands of the corporeal world left behind are subsumed by heightened spiritual stimulation.

Prinsloo board 3

Prinsloo board 3

Tutor citation ‘Frankie’s journey through his three years of architectural education has culminated in an ambitious, poetic and contextually responsive project, responding to the expansive brief of a “retreat”. Castings, maquettes, text, charcoal, and photography have been systematically employed in advance of digital visualisations to shape the final scheme. In his expansive synthesis of key cultural influences with feasible technologies, Frankie exemplifies the creative, social, and professional qualities of the Northumbria architecture graduate.’ Peter Holgate


Ellen Baines, MArch

Baines 5

Baines 5

Project title Hortus Conclusus – A Place of Sanctuary within the City 

Project description The project aims to help addicts achieve and sustain recovery from drug addiction and help sufferers integrate back into society. Drug misuse is a prevalent problem in Newcastle; the project creates a ‘sanctuary in the city’, providing respite accommodation, training facilities for employment, counselling rooms, and a holistic therapy suite. The project draws inspiration from the Roman concept of the hortus conclusus, where the courtyard was used to provide a haven of calm, away from the noise and sometimes overwhelming nature of the city. The project is located in a historic area on the outskirts of Newcastle’s city centre. The urban periphery often housed institutions that cared for the ill and infirm. City leaders in the past removed the problem of illness and poverty out of the centre, to avoid the transmission of illness and associated social problems. The project reuses and adapts the now-empty Keelman’s hospital, a Georgian building constructed to provide support and accommodation for the elderly and the sick of their fraternity. The project connects Keelman’s to a new precinct on what was the Old Barley Mow site, which is now derelict. 

Baines 1

Baines 1

Tutor citation ‘Ellen’s project is a timely intervention into the city and the social fabric of Newcastle, with an ambition going beyond the architecture proposition. The architecture and urban strategy successfully negotiates the territory between the city and the detail and embodies the same care and precision in the shift between scales.’ Shaun Young 

Student subscription offer 

Did you know students get 30% off AJ subscriptions? Find out more!


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