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AJ Student Prize 2019: Newcastle University

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

About the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture, MArch, Architectural Practice and Management Postgraduate Diploma
  • Location Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Head of school Adam Sharr 
  • Full-time tutors 25 
  • Part-time tutors 10 
  • Number of students 557
  • Staff to student ratio 1:15 
  • Fees  UK/EU £9,250, international £19,200 


Mohini Tahalooa, BA (Hons) Architecture, Future City

Undergraduate mohini tahalooa

Undergraduate mohini tahalooa

Project title A Space of Exchange: Making a Home for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic LGBTQ+ Community of Manchester

Project description This project explores the urban and architectural ‘futures’ of inner-city Manchester, taking a critical stance toward techniques of urban regeneration that prioritise market-led, neoliberal economic agendas. Sited in the vicinity of Canal Street, the symbolic home of the city’s LGBTQ+ community, it is also an area identified as a ‘strategic’ development opportunity. In response to developing alternative futures for Manchester, the project explores questions of identity, place and ethnicity, specifically addressing the marginalisation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic members of the LGBTQ+ community. Occupying an undervalued ‘back-of-house’ site and reusing a derelict existing building, it proposes a sequence of spaces that aim to support, nurture and celebrate inclusivity and diversity, including a multi-faith prayer room, counselling facilities, a space for exhibition and events, a small library, and spaces dedicated to wellbeing and mindfulness.

Tutor citation ‘Mohini’s project demonstrates a sympathetic and original response to a sensitive and often overlooked subject matter within the UK architecture profession. As a member of the BAME community, Mohini developed a clear and rigorous ethical position as a designer, articulating her work using a strong foundation of existing research on the racialisation of Manchester’s “gay village” and by liaising closely with local LGBTQ+ rights groups, including Proud Trust.’ Kieran Connolly 


Naomi White, MArch, Minding the gap

Postgraduate naomi white

Postgraduate naomi white

Project title The Safe Haven: a Viennese safe house for Balkan children rescued from human trafficking

Project description Austria plays an unfortunate role in European trafficking through being a bottleneck for the transportation and destination of victims. Given Austria has no safe houses for children under 12, the project proposes to create a safe house which accommodates trafficked children.

It is proposed that children should be adopted into the scheme and not returned to their often-unsafe homes. Given their bad experience with adults, the focus of the scheme is building new healthy relationships between children and grown-ups. One way of carrying this through is bringing the adults architecturally down to the children’s scale in order to engage with them on their level. The project discusses the issue of creating a design which is socially sustainable and integrated with the community. Given the trafficked children originate primarily from Bulgaria, there arose a clear need for striking a fine balance in integration in the cultures and aesthetics of Bulgaria and Vienna.

Tutor citation ‘Naomi exceeded the brief’s expectations in delivering a sensitive project, with a beautifully developed narrative around nurturing vulnerable children trafficked from the Balkans into Western Europe using Vienna as a gateway. It is exquisitely represented, and it offers a combination of playfulness and worthiness, alternating different scales of enquiry with rigour.’ Ivan Marquez-Munoz