Student success in international design competition

Design work by Whoastudio

Students from Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, and one of its international partner institutions, have recently enjoyed success at Confluence 2021 International Design Competition.


The Confluence Ideathon 2021 is an arts hackathon that brings together the most innovative minds in the world to develop creative solutions for a world class arts facility in New Delhi, India.

The competition received over 850 entries from 25 international institutions including Birmingham City University and two of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media’s international partners: the Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA) and Silpakorn University International College (SUIC) in Thailand.

Award Winners

Whoastudio were awarded First Place in the Art x Design category. The team of students from MIA’s BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design programme is made up of Thong Yan Kit, Kylie Lee Yun Qi, Liew Kar Kar, Yumi, Ng Shi Phei, and Wong Chee Sang, supported by lecturers Clarissa Lim and Queenie Wong.

Whoastudio’s proposal invites the public to participate in the creation and assembly of inflatable and prefabricated furniture structures. The making process will expose participants to new technologies and tools, and encourage social interaction and wider community cohesion. When complete it is intended that the objects become a lasting sign of hope, for today and the future.

Read more about Whoastudio's work here

UnEarth – ABLF were awarded First Place in the Art x Environment and Sustainability category. The team is made up of Anita Brindley and Lauren Francis, both MArch Architecture students at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design who were supported by Professor Rachel Sara. 

Their proposal was to build a new arts centre from materials grown entirely from within 5 miles of its site in India that would showcase traditional Indian construction techniques used in innovative ways to minimise the impact on the biodiversity of the site and maximise the use of renewable technologies.

Read more about UnEarth's work here

Kyle Conway and Tahreem Noor were awarded Second Place in the Art x Design category. Both students at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, Kyle is studying on the MArch Architecture course while Tahreem is studying BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture. They were supported by Professor Rachel Sara. 

They proposed a series of Landscaped events using landscape as a stage to create chance encounters between people and the arts on a journey through a series of indoor and outdoor arts and event spaces.

The Confluence Ideathon is a success story for students and staff alike, as the mentoring team and jury panel featured various staff members from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, including:

• Professor Alison Honour - Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean
• Sara Middleton - Associate Dean (Marketing, Academic Development, Employability and Enterprise)
• Mary Traynor - Associate Dean (Academic Quality and Student Learning Experience)
• Alessandro Columbano – Course Director for MArch Architecture
Professor Rachel Sara, Oscar Naddermier Professor of Architecture

Professor Rachel Sara commented: "We are all immensely proud of our prizewinners as they really demonstrated their ability to perform at the highest level internationally. The students were competing against professional entries, but their radical visions for more sustainable and equitable future really shone through."

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