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AJ Student Prize 2019: Leeds Beckett University

The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by Leeds Beckett University 

About the School of Art, Architecture and Design 

Courses BA (Hons) Architecture, MArch Architecture, MA Architecture, Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Professional Practice

  • Location Leeds 
  • Course leader Sarah Mills 
  • Full-time tutors 8 
  • Part-time tutors 6 
  • Number of students 220 
  • Staff to student ratio 1:17 
  • Fees £9,250


William Gains, BA (Hons) Architecture

Undergraduate william gains

Undergraduate william gains

Project title The Analog Bank

Project description The Analog Bank is a conscious movement away from digital technology dependence, harnessing analogue techniques and applications impervious to digital attacks. It offers a critical alternative to digitalised systems of trade in the City of London, examining and incorporating multi-faceted systems of transport, communication and exchange. A speculative critique of current failings, the project playfully challenges seemingly positive technological developments.

Tutor citation ‘The project identifies a clear architectural agenda that considers a speculative alternative to the current rapidly developing technological infrastructures within the City of London. Critical in its research, it questions the role of ‘old’ systems in developing a new direction for design, where historic and seemingly outdated architectures are interpreted in a carefully considered and provocative manner.’ Claire Hannibal 


Joseph Earley, MArch, CITYzen D Studio

Postgraduate joseph earley

Postgraduate joseph earley

Project title Realigning Leeds City Centre with Public Realm and Testing the New Concept of Housing in the Urban Core

Project description CITYzen D studio is a creative and ethical activist environment where students act as a ‘force for good’. The proposal explores a local and personal displacement problem in Leeds to identify that public and private space is increasingly contested in cities and critiques the binary notion of public and private urban space. British city centres are being privatised and becoming exclusive. The project proposes that citizens are no longer welcome unless playing the part of the consumer. This problem is addressed by observing privatisation in Leeds City Centre and then intervening in the most effective location between the railway station and Leeds Art Gallery. The design methodology is constructed through six sequential stages:

  1. Building an Image of Leeds City Centre; 
  2. Identifying the Site;
  3. Breaking through the city block like Pope Sixtus V; 
  4. Pedestrian-friendly infrastructure; 
  5. Importing seminal pieces of public architecture;
  6. Testing the gateway project within the site.

A new concept of urban living is created through deconstructing dwelling functions, which are dispersed within the new urban environment. 

Tutor citation ‘Understood through a narrative presented within a beautifully crafted portfolio, Joe demonstrates a high level of expertise in the two interconnected disciplines of urban design and architecture. It is the identification and synthesis of a range of historical and contemporary precedents that elevate this project and exceed the brief.’ Simon Warren