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AJ Student Prize 2018: University of Portsmouth

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The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by the University of Portsmouth

About the Portsmouth School of Architecture

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture, BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design, MArch Architecture, MA Interior Design, MA Sustainable Cities, MA Professional Design Practice, International Professional Practice (Part 3) Architecture
  • Location Portsmouth 
  • Head of School Pamela Cole
  • Full-time tutors 22 
  • Part-time tutors 10 
  • Number of students 695
  • Staff to student ratio 1:18
  • Fees £9,250


Bethany Aston, BA (Hons) Architecture

Portsmouth makers courtyard visualisation

Portsmouth makers courtyard visualisation

Project title The Forgotten Edges

Project description Portsmouth’s Commercial Road has suffered from years of ad-hoc building. While the front of the high street is active, the back has become neglected, overlaid and adjusted, with little regard for the impact of this incremental change. The loss of the debated Tricorn Centre by Owen Luder in 2004 has left the frayed back edge exposed, with a question over how to respond to this redundant space. Gathering the forgotten edges of the site from the pre-war street pattern, the proposed scheme creates urban levels that cascade towards a Maker’s Courtyard, around which residential and commercial spaces co-exist. Wrapping and extrusion are methods used to blur the boundaries between public and private space. Volumes are punctuated with a variety of indentations, openings, and passageways, generated from a negative cast of the back-street elevation. Strong edges address and define new active public realms, while narrow openings lead to unexpected intimate retail spaces and courtyards.

Portsmouth. makers courtyard plan

Portsmouth. makers courtyard plan

Tutor citation ‘Responding to a project brief which asked students to redesign the high street, Bethany has used the spatial elements of the back street to create a fine spatial pattern of alleyways, squares, walls, openings and changes of levels, in which shops are hidden in courtyards and dwellings open up on public streets.’ Silvio Caputo


RuxandraMaszni, MArch

Portsmouth south festival site floating platforms

Portsmouth south festival site floating platforms

Project title Birkenhead Festival City

Project description The Birkenhead City Festival is the result of two years of study of the role of coloured light in urban spaces and how to design the best strategy to connect Liverpool and Birkenhead. The aim is to emphasize the cities’ culture, and for the latter which is less developed and less visited, to create jobs, infrastructure and bring income into the area. This project looks to tackle the question: what would make people want to visit Birkenhead when Liverpool has enough exciting venues to satisfy them? Festival City sits directly on the opposite side of Liverpool City centre on the Mersey waterfront and occupies deserted land around a network of docks and locks. By mirroring Liverpool’s skyline with temporary structures and coloured lights, the festival promotes the idea that the docks have come back to life, populated by sailing boats and surrounded by mystery and entertainment. 

Portsmouth north section 1 200 0

Portsmouth north section 1 200 0

Tutor citation ‘The project is a thorough investigation of temporary event spaces, such as music festivals, as stimuli to revive and attract attention to disregarded places.’ Phevos Kallitsis 

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