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AJ Student Prize 2019: Cardiff University

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

About the Welsh School of Architecture

  • Courses BSc Architectural studies, MArch, Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture 
  • Location Cardiff 
  • Head of school Chris Tweed 
  • Full-time tutors 16 
  • Part-time tutors 6 
  • Number of students 485 
  • Staff to student ratio 1:13 
  • Fees £9,000 


Tatiana Light 

Undergraduate tatiana light

Undergraduate tatiana light

Project title The Town Architect

Project description Hay-on-Wye is ambiguous in its situation, with the England/Wales border running through the town. As a community, it holds independence deep within its roots, proclaiming itself as an independent state in the 1970s. Its siting within a conservation area holds considerable implications for local building rights. The thesis questions the language of planning, investigates its effect on place and the potential this creates. The long-term engagement of a town architect and transformation of a disused car park creates a social forum where building rights are questioned, tested and established. The proposal seeks to act as a catalyst in the development of the built environment of Hay-on-Wye and beyond. The architectural language is developed through negotiating loopholes in the regulations, encouraging one to challenge the ‘rules’ to decipher new spatial possibilities. 

Tutor citation ‘Tatiana’s project is simultaneously heroic and understated. It subverts the language of conservation and planning to create new spatial possibilities and complexities. It presents a new way of working as an architect, opportunistic rather than reactionary; a project that is contextually in tune, but unapologetic in its departure from convention.’ Michael Corr  


Alexandra Sims, MArch, Craft: Making Meaning 

Postgraduate alexandrasims

Postgraduate alexandrasims

Project title The Scent Repository  

Project description Through early experimentation with kinetics, mechanics, gears and automata, the desire arose to create an architecture that revealed how it worked and was constructed. The Scent Repository is a perfume archive, meeting a demand for the reincarnation of lost perfume ‘masterpieces’. A site in Kew Gardens would facilitate the distilling of essential oils to facilitate this. The proposal aims to unveil the perfume-making process to the user within the environment of a truthful and theatrical architecture. The repository is a prototype for an architecture which is accessible to the user through touch, use and contemplation. It makes a statement about our relationship with context, calling for a reconciliation with our environment and thus promoting new ways of living in contemporary society. 

Tutor citation ‘This design thesis is a highly refined and rigorous investigation into mechanised, pneumatic and hydraulic processes, from the Craft unit. The study involved a thorough analysis of the craft of horology, simple geared mechanisms, the processes of a perfumer and the perfume organ. The thesis went beyond the expectations of the unit agenda in terms of experimentation, architectural ambition and a rigorous approach to design through making.’ Steve Coombs