Issue date: 25 June 2002

University of the West of England Architecture and Planning students will launch their final degree exhibition at the new Studios Building on 28 June with a public lecture by Jon Rouse, Chief Executive of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

The exhibition will run for three days.

Richard Parnaby, award leader and Chair of the Design Commission for Wales said, “These are exciting times for architecture education in Bristol. Twenty years ago the School of architecture at the University of Bristol was closed. UWE’s Faculty of the Built Environment has re-established architecture education and put Bristol back on the map by introducing this innovative and practical course.

“We are currently experiencing a boom in demand for trained architects, planners and other construction professionals with skills in urban design and interdisciplinary working. UWE is responding to this demand by delivering a course that will produce professionals capable of working across disciplines that have traditionally been separated.

“The UWE architecture and planning degree is unique in the UK as it is the only fully undergraduate course fully validated by RIBA/ARB and RTPI combining both disciplines. Prospects are really good for our graduates who can choose to pursue either profession … or both!”

Darren Sumeghy chose to design an Art Gallery for Abergavenny for his final project. “We scanned local newspapers to assess the need for new buildings” said Darren, “I noticed that there was a thriving arts and crafts scene in the area but no space for the artists to exhibit. The illustrative design report highlights the analysis undertaken identifying the townscape and character of Abergavenny. My report underlines how the proposed art gallery provides for the needs of local people and takes into account visitors' experience of the art gallery.”

Fellow student Samantha Osborne from the Channel Islands says she wanted to be an architect from the age of 11 but has only just managed to realise her dream after joining the course at UWE as a mature student. "At school I had some bad careers advice which meant I didn't have the right A levels to study architecture. Instead I did an Art Foundation course and worked as a photographer's assistant and picture researcher. After travelling for a couple of years I came back to Alderney where I worked as an architect's assistant. My boss encouraged me to apply for the course and after almost giving up on my dream of doing what I want I am finally doing it!"

Samantha says her final year project with a group of five other students has given her an insight into real planning and architecture issues, "The local Chamber of Commerce for the village of Williton in West Somerset approached us to remodel the village and bring it into the 21st century. Because the village is on the main road to Minehead and has a lot of through traffic we proposed a mini by-pass and a new design for the centre of the town. Six local councillors came to meet us here and this gave us valuable experience of working to a real brief. After the degree show we will be going down to Williton to present our ideas to the villagers."

Samantha says the course has helped her focus on a direction for her future, "I think I would like to work in the area of sustainable housing/housing of the future and when I have a few years experience I will probably go back to live and work in Alderney."

As one of the first students to exhibit her work in the new studio building, Samantha is full of praise for it, "The new building is excellent. It is so good for students because you can see how the building is made and it explains a lot of the theories we are learning about on the course."


Editor’s notes

Visual available as j peg:

Samantha pictured with the model designed with fellow students as part of her final year project.

 The new Studio Buildings will be officially launched in October after the completion of interior works and landscaping. The building cost £2.8 million and features many innovative design details including bricks which have been glued together and straw bales for insulation.

 The School of Architecture and Planning will soon offer the full complement of architecture awards with the pending validation of a Part 2 Architecture course.

Back to top