Architecture graduate highly commended at Architects’ Journal Awards

Byron Chan Architect's Journal Award

Architecture Graduate Byron Chan was recently awarded Highly Commended for his project Cultivating Communities in the Sustainability category at the national Architects’ Journal Student Awards 2020.

Speaking about his project, Byron said:

"I began working on this project as part of the Extinction Rebellion Architecture Unit at BCU last academic year. My thesis was concerned with the climate and biodiversity crisis, presenting a vision for a regenerative architecture which supports food production, ecology and systems."

The Extinction Rebellion Architecture unit argued that in a state of climate emergency we cannot simply carry on designing ‘business as usual’ buildings that solely aim to minimise environmental impact. Students were asked instead to generate restorative projects that aim to heal their environment.  

Byron’s Cultivating Communities project is a proposed restoration of a post-industrial canal- and riverside site in Digbeth, Birmingham. The judges agreed with his tutor, Rachel Sara, who described the proposal as 'quietly radical'. 

Aiming to tackle the impact of climate change on food production and wildlife, the scheme explores the potential of community-led urban agriculture that encourages local sustainable food production and habitat creation.

Within a network of gardens, tiered terraces would be constructed out of reclaimed bricks leading down to the river where water is captured for the irrigation of an experimental community allotment. Pavilions scattered across the site would support water reuse, on-site energy generation and composting, with a central communal pavilion designed for community social events. ‘Living’ brick walls of the allotment buildings would bring life to the environment providing habitats for bees, insects and plant life to thrive, improving the biodiversity of the site.

Byron said of his experience at BCU:

Course Director for Masters in Architecture, Alessandro Columbano, commented:

Congratulations also go to Cardiff University student Jacques Doody who was also highly commended in the Sustainability category for his Dreamland: Samson which proposes a self-sustaining theme park is set on the Isles of Scilly. Prior to his postgraduate studies in Cardiff, Jacques was a student at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.

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