24th Jul 2019 — Access to Architecture

Access to Architecture

Kingston School of Art’s Access to Architecture programme 2019 aims to give second year students real-world experience of architecture, to support their development and enhance their learning in the third year. Among opportunities from 12 practices, I chose Sarah Wigglesworth Architects to apply to. SWA has extensive experience in educational projects, which was my focus during my second-year project. Moreover, I am interested in the ethos of the practice, in regards to sustainable design and community engagement, and would like to expand my knowledge in those areas.

My second-year project was focused on educational spaces for children at primary school level.  The brief was to support creative and art practices; connect the divide between the inner life of the sites and their surrounding communities; and to support progressive teaching practices, focusing on child-lead, personalised, democratic learning. SWA’s projects, such as Takeley Primary School and Sandal Magna Primary School, are on my references lists.

During my time at SWA, I had the opportunity to visit three ongoing projects; Clapton Business Centre, Highbury Roundhouse and William Ellis School. At Highbury Roundhouse my job was to photograph the progress of the project and the current conditions of the sites. At William Ellis School, I joined the progress meeting between the SWA team, broader project team and contractors. The session gave me a better understanding of the construction process and the importance of cooperation between clients, architects, contractors, and another consultants.

Highbury Roundhouse

I was working on a site analysis report for a housing scheme in Nottingham. The report included studies of Nottinghamshire through various maps such as the administrative boundary, historical maps, public transport networks and conservation areas. It also covered studies on significant buildings, the surrounding community and vernacular architectural styles of Nottingham. This report helped me to understand context – not only of the specific site location, but a broader picture of the community and city.

Map of Nottingham City Centre

In my third week, I participated in a trip to Cambridge.  My colleagues and I cycled around the city and visited three housing projects- Marmalade Lane Co-housing, Eddington, and Accordia. Each project had a distinct character and concept, but one similarity I noticed was the intention to improve the resident’s quality of life and community engagement.

All the housing projects had shared facilities. I particularly liked the central courtyard and common house for residents to meet up and participate in activities at Marmalade Lane Co-housing. All three housing projects are focused on sustainable design, which includes eco-friendly materials, minimising non-renewable energy consumption, improve indoor environmental quality.

Marmalade Lane Co-Housing
Homemade Soup Day

Participating in this programme has been a great experience of real-world architectural learning. I was able to apply acquired knowledge from University to my work experiences, whilst also witnessing the day-to-day job duties within a practice. I want to take this opportunity to thank Kingston School of Arts for organising this beneficial programme. I would also like to thank Sarah Wigglesworth Architects for offering me a great internship opportunity and being very welcoming and friendly.

Written by Nawaponn Gulsantithamrong