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AJ Student Prize 2020: University of the West of England

The two students selected for the AJ Student Prize by University of the West of England

About the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture and Planning, BEng (Hons) Architecture & Environmental Engineering, BSc (Hons) Architecture, MArch, Part 3
  • Location Bristol
  • Head of school Elena Marco
  • Full-time tutors 42
  • Part-time tutors 79
  • Students 855
  • Staff to student ratio 1:14
  • Fees UK/EU £9,250, international £13,500


Joe Franklin, BA Hons Architecture and Planning

Franklin uwe aj figure 8 courtyard bay model

Franklin uwe aj figure 8 courtyard bay model

Project title Porridge Yard

Project description Porridge Yard proposes a Confucius Institute that specialises in education and support for excluded young people. The holistic programme aims to tackle the burgeoning issue of juvenile re-offending, while questioning the role of a public institution. The courtyard typology explores the notion of the inhabited wall, with spaces that offer diverse uses, carved out of a thick earth structure that frames a courtyard garden. The monolithic façade and deep openings reference the elevations of the sandstone caves that run along the site boundary. Porridge Yard is a generous civic building: its built form and programme encourages engagement with its neighbours and the wider city, pedestrian paths follow desire lines through the site and the thick walls offer nooks to sit in, as well as housing a community pizza oven.

Tutor citation Joe Franklin’s project has taken the broader studio theme of a Confucius Institute and contextualised this both socially in terms of the expansion of the programme to include elements of sanctuary and reflection for those who have found themselves excluded from society and in its physical relationship to its harbourside site. Joe works with craft and precision in the execution of imagery and models to develop an evocative atmosphere for the project. Jonathan Bassindale


Sian Trezise-Hardinge, MArch

Trezise hardinge uwe 05 birdseye

Trezise hardinge uwe 05 birdseye

Project title Nurturing New Life

Project description The Nurture Centre sets the precedent for a new, holistic approach towards childbirth within the UK, rejecting the current medicalised birth model and prioritising the improvement of wellbeing to all who visit. The themes that guided the design focused on the aesthetics of the dome, the womb, the cave and the home, symbolic of spirituality and celebration, nurture, refuge, domesticity and comfort. By contrasting the protective, womb-like pavilions with the exposed moments in nature, a walled sanctuary is revealed, whereby the buildings appear to be growing out of the wetland. A supportive hub for women and their families throughout this journey, the centre aims to integrate best practice from birthing rituals from around the world, in particular sanhujori, the South Korean system of care for women’s postpartum confinement. Water here is the tool for relaxation, and bathing the social facilitator. Connected to the spa facilities, the birthing centre ensures that nature and the act of giving birth become intrinsically linked once again, by allowing women to give birth in water submerged and overlooking the external constructed wetland beyond.

Tutor citation This unit developed urban propositions for the area of eastern expansion of Bristol, developing these from a perspective of health and architecture. Sian’s project researched the health issues of birth and motherhood in the contemporary city and developed a building programme reflecting how this might be changed for the better in a contemporary city setting. The proposal has a strong research underpinning that becomes defined in charged and specific proposals. Louis Rice