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AJ Student Prize 2019: Nottingham Trent University

The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by Nottingham Trent University 

About the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

  • Courses BArch (Hons), MArch
  • Location Nottingham 
  • Head of department Gavin Richards 
  • Full-time tutors 11 
  • Part-time tutors 24 
  • Number of students 240 
  • Staff to student ratio 1:10 
  • Fees £9,250 


Alice Baines, BArch (Hons) Architecture, Atelier 1: Defining Freespace

Undergraduate alice baines

Undergraduate alice baines

Project title Unfolding Architectural Expectations

Project description The divide between tourists and residents is visibly evident in Venice. Exploring the notion of ‘Freespace’, inspired by the 2018 Architecture Biennale, the project utilises existing troubles within the floating city to develop a building typology. The chosen site is in the Arsenale, for which the proposal provides live-work and studio space for local artists in residence and provides a ‘freespace’ for tourists to discover some of the authentic and ‘hidden’ culture, within the otherwise touristic city. As one enters the structure, via the existing boat ramp, an elevated walkway guides you through a street of live-work units where visitors and artists interact with one another. Breaking through a small opening within the ruins, one enters an open-plan, large-scale studio space. Visitors are able to look down onto the artists and workshops below. Exiting through an opening, providing dramatic views across the lagoon, a glass arch frames the existing. Three individual glass and timber pods sit against the North façade, housing exhibition spaces for art created within the studios.

Tutor citation ‘Alice’s development of her own architectural brief and conceptual narrative for the project goes beyond the expectations of a student at this level. Her project was borne out of in-depth contextual research and primary qualitative research with locals in Venice. The conceptual narrative for the project is deeply rooted in her contextual understanding and relates impeccably well to one’s experiences in the city.’ Lois Woods 


Liam Gallagher, MArch, Design thesis: Moving in the City

Postgraduate liam gallagher

Postgraduate liam gallagher

Project title The Catholic War Machine

Project description The Catholic War Machine is an architectural speculation set in 1950s Genoa. The War Machine’s function is building armaments. This fictional project is based on evidence that the Church had interests in forming a totalitarian separatist state. The documented controversial ideologies and actions of Pope Pius XI and Pius XII, accompanied by contextual events including the Marshall Plan, are put together to provide an alternative version of history where Italy colludes with the USA’s military ambitions. The War Machine is an arms production line, with its factories built upon the existing roofs of Genoa’s cathedral and churches. A continuous viaduct spans from the mountains surrounding the city into the Ligurian Sea. The faux-traditional architectural style of glazed façades and stone cladding of the viaduct creates an ambiguous juxtaposition of transparency and obscurity.This architectural approach conceals the factories from the city below, masking the moral implications of its global activities. The connection between the Church and international wars are disguised through aesthetic devices used to reassure its workers and followers with forgiveness and atonement, employing religious iconography to subvert immoral truth into an ideologically positive message.

Tutor citation ‘Instead of considering the city as a neutral backdrop shaped by the forces of infrastructural progress, Liam’s project proposes that the city is reformed by politics, religion and production, but provocatively so. Through his interventions, Genoa is fictionally restored to a convincing and recognisable version of itself, with fascinating visual and technical virtuosity.’ Kenneth Fraser