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AJ Student Prize 2019: De Montfort University

The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by De Montfort University

About the Leicester School of Architecture

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture, MArch, Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Practice
  • Location Leicester 
  • Head of school Christopher Jones 
  • Full-time tutors 22 
  • Part‑time tutors 40 
  • Number of students 620 
  • Staff to student ratio 1:12 
  • Fees £9,250 


Balraj Sehmi, BA (Hons) Architecture, Studio 7 

Undergraduate balraj sehmi

Undergraduate balraj sehmi

Project title York Way Urban Farm 

Project description This project aims to bring together communities through the farming of produce. The UK economy imports the majority of its food and, after Brexit, we may face rises in food prices. To become self-sufficient, we must focus on maximising our own homegrown produce by using vertical spaces within the cities. This project proposes an urban farm in north London, sandwiched between Islington and King’s Cross, featuring duplex and single-storey housing modules for families who will live, farm and sell their produce on site. The project sought to breathe life into York Way Tube station, a Transport for London underground complex that has been unused for some time. Using our built heritage, the farm takes advantage of the platform architecture to grow food in underground ultraviolet climate-controlled greenhouses. 

Tutor citation ‘This project operates on many levels, neatly addressing food scarcity, reuse of historic buildings and political futures. Students were asked to respond to the resurgence of narratives that shook Europe at the start of the 20th century, history on the cusp of repeating itself. Perched on top of an old Tube station on York Way, just behind the Eurostar at St Pancras International, the project proposes its own utopian post-Brexit future.’ Rory Keenan 


Sophie Miller, MArch, Studio 1 

Postgraduate sophie miller

Postgraduate sophie miller

Project title Holloware House: Ceramic Open Studios  

Project description In a time where the art of creative play and manual dexterity is being lost within a generation of children, the importance of open studios is significant. Holloware House engages children and families in the process and art of ceramics and pottery. This typology creates an integrated environment between the artist, visitor, architecture and the street.The building needs to offer a welcoming environment and prompt wonder and enthusiasm as you walk through the site, as though you are walking through the pottery shelves of an oversized damp room. The levels are divided between public and private spaces, with the ground level housing the terracotta-clad Hollowares, open to the public. At subterranean level are kilns and workshops, while at lower basement level is the open educational space, facilitating three large creative learning vats enclosed by the suspended kilns above. 

Tutor citation ‘Sophie’s building is a socially ambitious proposal, which aims to provide inspirational art space for local school children and cost-effective studio space for artists in Nottingham. The highly spatial proposal draws inspiration from the pottery works being created in the building and the complex cave network beneath the city of Nottingham.’ Ben Cowd