Architecture student builds a promising future
Master of Architecture student, Michael’s work was an architectural realisation of the polarisation of wealth in London and a critique through design of the Battersea Power Station development.
He explained: “The work examines the city’s emergence of an elitist few and their growing accumulation of wealth, resources and power. This is a city that now only accommodates the wealthy, a city that this few are fast beginning to own and a city that discards the cries of equality from its population. The Battersea development highlights London`s motivations with its multimillion pound penthouses and apartments, many sold off-plan with little intention of ever being lived in. London has then become a paradox where its population calls for affordable housing and the cities response is to deliver anything but.
“Instead of attempting to solve this polarisation, the work shines a spotlight on the city by stretching this inequality to its maximum. This creates two new conditions: A plutocratic sky realm above that has total control over all wealth and resources; and an urban fabric below now transformed into a city of slums, with its population a society of scavengers feeding off the excess and waste from the above.”
Speaking about the competition, Michael said: “I was delighted to be nominated by the University for the 3DReid Student Award. It was a real honor to represent Leeds and a very rewarding end to my studies. I never really expected to move out of the nominations round and so was very surprised to be shortlisted and over the moon with a runner-up place. The finals became a fantastic day out in London with the hosts providing us a banquet while we watched one another's presentations. The standard was exceptional, with varied topics, deeply thought out and detailed. It was a privilege to be part of the experience and I would like to take this opportunity to thank 3DReid, the judging panel and my personal tutors: Simon Warren and Dr Maria Theodorou.”
Maria added: “Michael’s project takes the visualisation used by developers to advertise luxury flats (in this case the Battersea area development) and twists it around. This is a political and activist project delivered through the medium of architectural drawing; the ‘political’ is the moment of rupture of an existing condition the consequences of which are not immediately or straightforward understood. In Michael’s project this moment entails the transformation of large chunks of the city into privatised land. His is also an activist drawing, for activism is not the reaction or a will to better a condition but the force that makes a system face its deadlocks. A powerful project both in its theoretical intentions and visual delivery.”
Nominations from 23 schools were received as entries to the 3DReid Student Prize this year, with six students being shortlisted. First prize was awarded to Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art graduate Alastair Reid for his re-imagination of Berlin’s Templehof airfield.
Judges included Russ Edwards, Pocket Living’s Design Director, formerly of dRMM, who judged the prize for the first time. He commented: “3DReid’s Student Prize shortlist for 2015 should give the profession a great deal of optimism for the next generation of design talent coming through our schools of architecture. I particularly enjoyed the engagement with relevant social and political debate, backed by comprehensive research, that was evident throughout. The shortlisted projects all demonstrated fantastic problem solving and architectural invention, with the winning scheme, for Berlin Templehof, demonstrating perhaps the most successful marriage of these qualities within a genuinely ambitious urban proposition.”
Mark Taylor, Director of 3DReid and head judge, added: “Every year the broad range of submissions for the prize astounds us with the quality and richness of the emerging architectural talent from across the UK schools. As a snapshot of the future health of our profession, the submissions demonstrate the extraordinary creative and commercial astuteness of the students’ thinking combined with fantastic visualisation and graphic skills which gives us every confidence that the next generation is in great shape.”