Monday, 6 February 2012

RIBA/WCCA Travel Award 2011 Presentation

In 2008, the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects announced its intention to collaborate with the RIBA to create an annual travel award of £2000 to be awarded to a student - or group of students - enrolled on the first year of a RIBA Part 2 at a London school of architecture. The Award is made in memory of Stuart Murphy who was a former Chief Planning Officer of the City of London, and also a past Master of the WCCA. 

In 2011 the administration of the award was passed from the RIBA Education Department to the RIBA London Region. This move has proved a great success, and there there have been many more applicants. The presentations by the two joint-winners for 2011 took place in the Lasdun Room at the Royal Institute of British Architects on the evening of 31 January 2012. Despite competition from a simultaneous Rogers Stirk Harbour presentation in the building, there were forty people present at the beginning of the event, and sixty once the rival presentation had finished.

Jaki Howes introduced the audience to the Worshipful Company and declared its aims.
Alex Scott-Whitby extolled the benefits of the Travel Award and introduced the two joint winners for 2011. 

The first presentation was by Danny Fenster from the University of Greenwich. He had visited Chongqing in China, with the aim of seeing what could be discovered from planning processes in very rapid urban development. Chongqing is situated on hills. The new redevelopment appears to ignore topography, sense of place and history, but gives rise to a strange three-dimensional circulation patterns – all beautifully demonstrated in Danny’s animations. Undeveloped land is sold on to developers, and then flattened to accommodate identical 30-storey residential blocks. 

Naveen Anadakumar, from the University of North London, went to Sri Lanka to find out how community input could be incorporated into the redevelopment of a country that has been so ravaged by war, floods and landslides. He carried out interviews, held workshops in schools and talked to as many people as possible. He found he could make an immediate difference by persuading shopkeepers in Ballicaloa to put rubbish bins onto the streets, and in addition invented a really practical drainage system. 

The two presentations were followed by lively discussion. Both emphasised the importance of finding a way to talk to people about architecture and the environment in a way that they can practically understand.

Mervyn Miller thanked Naveen for his fascinating work and presented him with the second part of his prize. Roger France presented Danny with his prize, and thanked Laura Broderick and Jessame Cronin of the RIBA London Region, the WCCA Master of Students, and finally both winners and audience for a splendid evening.

Waiting for the start...

Jaki Howes introduces the event

Alex Scott-Whitby introduces the presentations...

2011 joint-winner Danny Fenster with a map of Chongqing

2011 joint-winner Naveen Anandakumar presents...

Question Time

Danny gets a cheque from WCCA's Roger France

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