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AIA UK Student Design Charrette 2022

It's been ages since we last chimed in here. Not that we haven't wanted to... been a bit busy...


The one event we do manage to eke out some time for is the annual Student Design Charrette hosted by the AIA UK. We are a regular Mentor at this event. Looking back, we realise that the first time we took part was 10 years ago! As you can see from the photo, quite a bit more white hair since, but at least now we don't get mistaken as being one of the students!

We were back at the Building Centre for a second year. This year's brief was titled, "A West End Wonderland" - creating a public space to improve the public realm and create a positive experience for those living, working and visiting the area. Our team this year was from London South Bank University.


Not sure if it was due to a hangover from Covid times or that Christmas season was in the air, but our team this year gravitated towards bubbles and baubles. Due in large part to Covid, we felt the word 'bubble' had become denigrated as a conceptual instrument of isolation and exclusion. We were interested in how we could redefine bubbles to rediscover their playfulness and social fun.


Our team's proposal was called, "Life After Bubbles". Rather than think of them as separate spherical objects, we toyed around with how bubbles of various sizes could be merged and combined. Rather than singular wholes, they would be variated cloud-like spaces which one could enter and share the space of. We were also being mindful of the quality of the negative space around and underneath the bubbles, with some places easy to pass through, some spaces more child-sized - where one could be still be 'in' it, without actually being inside it. And how the ground might respond in kind to produce moon-like craters.


Well done to the students, mentors and organisers! More information can be found in this great summary article by organiser Nick Kehagias from the AIA UK here.

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