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Outside M25: Students slam London-only comp

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Northern students have blasted a new RIBA London competition only open to students of architecture schools in the capital

The contest, which invites students from London architecture schools to design a temporary shop for the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Neighbourhood, was criticised for ignoring the architectural community outside the capital.

Among the raft of angry students who took to Twitter to condemn the rules, one Sheffield architecture graduate said: ‘University taught us about the value of cross-pollinating ideas between social groups. This competition exclusion is a slap in the face’.

This competition exclusion is a slap in the face

Another student added: ‘Why are [the] RIBA supporting a competition which, by its terms, is anti-competitive? Reinforcing London and “the provinces” stereotypical world view.’

Owen Wainhouse, regional director for RIBA London defended the competition: ‘The project is organized by the RIBA’s London region. RIBA London supports all members in the capital. The RIBA’s network of regional offices run many other excellent projects to support local student members.

‘RIBA London’s Southbank Centre student project is an excellent opportunity for a group of London-based unemployed and underemployed Part 1 students on their year out, and Part 2 graduates, to gain valuable experience of designing and overseeing construction of a real life project.’

A representative form the Architecture Students Network added: ‘The competition has been organised by the RIBA London region so it’s evident it is only for those students in the region. However the issue arises with the eligibility criteria as it’s unclear if year out students who are working in London can apply or not. The competition should allow those students who are on their year out from non-London universities to apply. Further onus should be placed on the other regions to adopt/run built projects for students to engage activity between students and the RIBA regions.’

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