Tutors: Adam Thwaites, Sam Sam Hui, Jamie Ogilvie & Paul Smith
Adam Thwaites is a passionate advocate of architectural technology as a distinct profession and route into a career in architectural design. Adam is Senior Lecturer and worked for a series of small architectural practices prior to moving into education. His research interests include the use of timber (CLT) in construction, regenerative design and demountable structures.
Sam Sam Hui is a lecturer and architect with 20 years’ industry experience. His research focus lies in architectural illustration, detailing and technology.
Jamie Ogilvie is a practising architectural technologist and alumni of University of Westminster. Jamie has worked for a number of years within the residential design sector in the UK and received the CIAT Gold Medal Award for London 2018.
Paul Smith is an experienced architect and partner at Foster + Partners. Paul has taught on the Architectural Technology BSc for a number of years and brings technical knowledge, experience of many and various projects, and insights into the latest materials and technology.
This year, students focused on how to sustainably manage the problem of plastic pollution and recycling, and the opportunities of recycling and the circular economy.
With reference to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (consideration of peoples and communities at a global scale, as well as the environment), students were asked to design three objects in ascending scale to facilitate the transformation of an economically valueless material into something of high value, and in so doing mitigating damage to the environment and promote social and global justice: an item of furniture; a temporary/demountable structure; and a research, development and manufacturing facility where products utilising recycled materials could be developed, produced and sold.
We were fortunate to work with Professor Paulo Gomes and learn about his project, the Transformation Workshop, recycling Polypropylene plastic in Pedra Furada, Brazil. One of the poorest villages in Brazil, it was originally established as a Quilombo (encampment of escaped slaves) among the (environmentally precious) Mangrove forests.
The Workshop is a pilot social enterprise, collecting and processing waste polypropylene plastic into furniture for sale. Crucially, this work is undertaken by and for the benefit of this economically disadvantaged community. The Transformation Workshop meets ten of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, encompassing environmental conservation and social and global justice and equality.
Students first developed designs for production at the Workshop, with the intention that their designs could be sold internationally, thereby meeting an additional UNSDG, No. 17 ‘Partnerships for the Goals’. They went on to design a demountable structure for deployment to a remote location, and to house a Transformation Workshop or similar. Finally, Students designed a building or buildings for a large and complex site in Bermondsey, south London to house a research, development and manufacturing facility to design and produce items from recycled materials.