The prestigious AIA UK Student Charette returned for its eighth consecutive year and once again the one-day student design competition was hosted by the Roca London Gallery and supported by Swiss bathroom specialist Laufen. The UK Chapter of the AIA (The American Institute of Architects) revealed that the winner of this year’s challenge is the University of Westminster, for their highly commended project; ‘Squares of Light’.
Opened in October 2011, the Roca London Gallery was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The space demonstrates a shared passion for innovation and is designed to create a unique and visual experience which proved to be the ideal setting to host the young creative talent in this year’s competition.
The event took place on Saturday the 27th of October and was open to all architecture and interior design degree students across the country. Students representing many of the UK’s leading universities, worked collaboratively in teams of 6-8 to respond to the brief.
Tasked with the challenge of judging the exciting and inventive designs was this year’s expert panel of judges; Patrick Lynch of Patrick Lynch Architects, Carsten Hanssen of Atelier 27 Architects – Paris, and Dr Stephen Gage from the University of Reading.
The brief focused on the ever-changing area of London. In 2017 Lots Road Auctions site was sold to the borough of Kensington and Chelsea for £10.5 million, and students were tasked with speculating on the future of the auction house in the 21st century. The brief asked students to imagine an object that would usually be sold at Lots Roads auction and think about the key questions; Who did it belong to? How did it get here? Where is it going? before choreographing how the object moves from the seller to the bidder and buyer – whether that be virtual or physical space. Teams were asked to put together a story using hand-drawn sketches, printed maps and site photos of the auction house and the spaces they had created.
After six hours the students presented their CAD-free projects to the judging panel. The judges were looking for an innovative idea that embraced the brief.
The University of Westminster team was announced as winners of this year’s competition for their project titled, ‘Squares of Light’. The judges felt the team responded to all elements of the brief, demonstrating their creativity and collaborative ability. The team showcased the process of moving from a formal idea to a temporal idea and the judges referred to this as “imagination taking over”.
Laufen Marketing Manager, Emma Mottram commented;
“Laufen is proud to support the AIA competition which continues to be a success year after year, we are delighted to be able to work alongside the extremely talented young designers entering the industry with fresh ideas and designs.”