IHBC’s Gus Astley Student Award winners now out: Strathclyde University’s Estefania Macchi secures 2018 Award with information management and design focus; Commended successes cover Brutalism, conflict, staircases, cob, CMPs and much, much more

logoThe winner of the IHBC Gus Astley Student Award for 2018 has been announced as Estefania Macchi, then on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at Strathclyde University, for her suite of research and design works for the Glasgow’s former St. James Board School Conservation Design Project, including her review paper on ‘Information management as the milestone for present and future practice’, which was selected by 2018 Award judge Ingval Maxwell OBE, COTAC Chair, as an ‘impressive multi-facetted set of 7 documents that well illustrates a comprehensive understanding of  a wide range of conservation issues’.

Estefania will receive a free place at the IHBC Annual School – Nottingham, July 4 – 6 at which she will be presented with her £500 cash award and certificate at the Awards Ceremony during the IHBC’s Annual Dinner on Friday 5 July.  All other winners also will receive offers of School places and £100 cash awards to be presented at the ceremony.

The 2018 Awards includes High Commendations for two entries from Cardiff University:

  • Katerina Tzivelopoulou, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at Cardiff University, for ‘Lost Brutalism: An Investigation into the Commercial Brutalist Architecture’.
  • Marianna Fotopoulou, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at Cardiff University, for ‘Historic cob buildings in Wales-conservation approaches to meet contemporary needs and demands’.

In addition to this, a ‘Special Award’ for a shorter work, this year a Conservation Management Plan (CMP), is awarded to:

  • Amanda Chester, from the IHBC-recognised course programme, the PGDip in Conservation of the Historic Environment, at Birmingham City University, for ‘Junction Works, Birmingham: Conservation Management Plan’.

Finally, 2018 Gus Astley Memorial Fund Trustees’ two ‘Special Commendations’ for 2018 are awarded to:

  • Katie Parsons, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at Kingston School of Art (Kingston University), for her ‘Climbing into History: An Interpretative study of post 16th Century staircases’, and
  • Christopher Hamill, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at University of Cambridge for his ‘Troubled Legacy: A Proposal For The Future Of Northern Ireland’s Conflict Heritages’.

Ingval Maxwell OBE, COTAC Chair, said: ‘It has been an honour and a pleasure to judge the 2018 IHBC Gus Astley Student Award! The standard of submissions was at once both consistent and exceptional, so choosing between entries was extremely hard.’

‘I have enjoyed discovering new approaches and learning, and being challenged by this exceptional body of work, at once personal and independent.’

‘Students, tutors and course leaders all should be very proud of the consistent high quality of the submitted work.  Clearly the IHBC’s Gus Astley Student Award is a tremendous way to promote best practice, improved standards, and raise the profile of conservation studies.’

Bob Kindred, Chair and trustee of the Gus Astley Fund that underpins the awards, said of the Trustees’ Special Commendations: ‘Each year Gus Astley Trustees review the submissions and from time to time certain ones stand out for their originality, imagination and application.’

‘The commendations this year, to Katie Parsons and Chris Hamill, highlight the consistently high quality of work we are seeing across the board.  However diverse in content and methodology – as here, ranging from 16th century staircases to the Irish Troubles – it is always informed, intriguing and intensely stimulating!’

2018 IHBC Gus Astley Student Awards listings:

Estefania Macchi
Project title: Conservation Design Project on St. James Board School, Calton, Glasgow, with linked submissions including Conservation of the existing, Information management as the milestone for present and future practice

Estefania’s tutor, Dr Cristina Gonzalez-Longo RIBA SCA RIAS FHEA FRSA Director of the MSc in Architectural Design for the Conservation of Built Heritage, said: ‘I am delighted that Estefania Macchi has won the 2018 Gus Astley Student Award 2018 for her Conservation Design Project on the former St James Primary Board School in Calton, Glasgow.

‘Her project combines careful conservation with sensitive new design in a contemporary architectural language. After the preliminary research in group, Estefania developed her own brief: a new model of shared working environment for creative industries with opportunities for education and open to all age groups. Estefania critically assessed the condition, qualities and values of the existing building, which informed the new design.

‘The project very successfully integrates her design skills and the knowledge acquired during the course. It demonstrates that architectural conservation is a complex architectural project, integrating rigorous and critical studies of the existing, interpretation of the architecture and its context and the skills to conserve the building and to produce a creative design’.

Estefania Macchi, said: ‘The Architectural Design for the Conservation of Built Heritage MSc course at Strathclyde University was a highly enriching, mind-opening journey. From one subject to the other, I collected numerous, very diverse tools related to very diverse aspects of Conservation, that ultimately found purpose in one common denominator: the Conservation Design Project.

‘I learned that technical knowledge, historical research, cultural background, methodological procedures and, perhaps more importantly, sensitivity, are all tools that enable us, as Architects, to understand why and how to operate within the existing context. Our project, in my opinion, is our tangible legacy, our interpretation of the past and our present contribution. Future generations will build upon the base we are now creating, so the larger and the more diverse our set of tools, the stronger the base we are able to build. I am truly grateful to have been on this journey.

‘And, likewise, I feel honoured and thrilled to have obtained the Gus Astley Student Award: my path has been of effort and also of passion, and I am now (more) convinced that this is the way I want to work each day. I would sincerely like to thank IHBC for the recognition, as well as the University of Strathclyde and my course director, Cristina González-Longo, for all the encouragement and support throughout the journey. It’s been a true pleasure.’

Katerina Tzivelopoulou
Dissertation: Lost Brutalism: An Investigation into the Commercial Brutalist Architecture

Dr Oriel Prizeman MA (Cantab) AADip PhD (Cantab) RIBA SCA Course Leader MSc Sustainable Building Conservation, Cardiff University, said: ‘We are delighted at Cardiff to hear of Aikaterini’s success for her dissertation: Lost Brutalism: An Investigation into the Commercial Brutalist Architecture. The thesis took an original approach in seeking to identify contributing weaknesses in the listing process that allowed demolition to take place using two key case studies, the Tricorn centre in Portsmouth and Trinity Square Gateshead. Contrasting attitudes to the Brunswick Centre in London were used to frame her argument which highlights prejudice against commercial development and in favour of public housing in the valorisation of post war British architecture. Katerina was an exceptional student who came to us with a scholarship for the Onassis Foundation having been an undergraduate taught by our esteemed colleagues at National Technical University of Athens – we are immensely proud to be associated with this latest achievement.’

Katerina Tzivelopoulou, said: ‘I am delighted and honoured to receive this Commendation and feel indebted to the IHBC for the recognition of my work. I would like to thank the Welsh School of Architecture for their excellent course ‘MSc Sustainable Building Conservation’, Dr Oriel Prizeman and Dr Christopher Whitman for their support and guidance, architect Owen Luder for his invaluable insights into the era of Brutalism, and the Onassis Foundation Scholarship for Hellenes for their support throughout my master’s degree and research.

‘My study focused on two highly controversial Brutalist commercial megastructures designed by architect Owen Luder, both of which, despite all efforts and suggested plans for adaptations, failed to achieve designation and got demolished.

These two examples illustrate the plight many brutalist buildings face. Thus, I really hope that this work will encourage researchers to further investigate issues concerning the understanding and appreciation of Brutalist [and] commercial architecture, as well as the double standards posed by the listing policies and guidelines towards post-war architecture in comparison to ‘traditional’ heritage.’

Marianna Fotopoulou
Dissertation: Historic cob buildings in Wales-conservation approaches to meet contemporary needs and demands

Dr Oriel Prizeman MA (Cantab) Course Leader, MSc Sustainable Building Conservation, Cardiff University, said: ‘It is fantastic news to hear of Marianna’s success for her dissertation: Historic cob buildings in Wales: conservation approaches to meet contemporary needs and demands. Marianna brought exceptional graphic and analytical skills to her work at Cardiff and we are indebted to her excellent prior training in contributing to her excellent work here.

‘Marianna was a graduate of the National Technical University of Athens, taught by our esteemed colleagues there. Her dissertation demonstrates an ability to adapt to the context in which she was immersed and to apply new knowledge, rigour and understanding in her analysis. It is a great accolade for us to be associated with this prestigious achievement.’

Marianna Fotopoulou said: ‘I am very honoured to be awarded a ‘High commendation for the Gus Astley Prize for 2018. I would like to thank the IHBC for recognizing the value of my work and for giving me the opportunity to attend the 2019 Annual School in Nottingham.

I am delighted to have attended the ‘MSc Sustainable Building Conservation’ at the Welsh School of Architecture. I strongly believe that Sustainable Building Conservation is a very challenging and appealing field, as it is increasingly acknowledged that combining insights offered by the performance of historic buildings, in terms of building technology and energy efficiency with contemporary solutions, has the potential to improve the quality of life for human beings.

‘In that context, my dissertation investigated to what degree the conservation of Welsh cob buildings could meet occupant needs, based on contemporary standards. My work intended to correlate the historic character of clom buildings with the modern-day needs, and to critically analyse aspects influencing them.

‘I would like to express my gratitude to Cardiff University and my tutors for their assistance and guidance and to the tenants and managers of the studied buildings, who allowed me to visit the houses, collect data and carry out a post occupancy evaluation.’

Amanda Chester
Dissertation: Junction Works, Birmingham: Conservation Management Plan

Katriona Byrne, Senior Lecturer and Programme Director of Conservation of the PGDip Historic Environment at Birmingham City University, said: ‘Amanda Chester is completing her studies for a post-graduate Diploma in the Conservation of the Historic Environment at Birmingham City University. She compiled a Conservation Management Plan in 2018 for the Junction Works, a multi-period canal-associated industrial site in Digbeth, Birmingham’s emerging creative quarter. Plans for the development of the building into a contemporary arts complex as part of a £3.25 million project have subsequently been brought forward.

‘The management plan has been vital in enabling the development of a design for the sensitive adaption of the building which responds to its heritage significance. The narratives revealed through Amanda’s research into the building have also inspired a collaborative arts project with an artist in residence involving the local community. Amanda is working as a heritage consultant with Mott MacDonald. We at BCU are delighted by her award and see the Conservation courses going from strength to strength.’

Amanda Chester said: ‘I am delighted to have received this special award and I would like to thank the IHBC for this recognition. The subject of my submission, Junction Works in Birmingham, made for a complex and challenging case study for a conservation management plan. However, seeing the report go on to be used to affect real change in the building and enable its sustainable re-use is highly gratifying. Undertaking the work has given me an opportunity to carry out original research and reflect on the various pressures of commercial development on conservation priorities.

‘I would like to thank the Canal and River Trust and the conservation department at Birmingham City Council for their help during the research of the site, my course tutors at Birmingham City University for their academic support and Mott MacDonald for their continued support of my professional development.’

Katie Parsons
Dissertation: Climbing into History: An Interpretative study of post 16th Century staircases

Judith Farren Bradley RIBA FRSA Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture and Landscape, Kingston School of Art said: ‘Katie Parsons joined our programme to study part-time, already qualified as a chartered planner and needing to balance her studies with her substantial responsibilities in a London borough.  She came with the aim to extend, focus and deepen her knowledge but more especially to challenge herself and to use the time to further develop a critical and grounded basis for her future work.

‘She was an exemplary student, supporting her peers and enriching the debate across the entire curriculum with her proactive and questioning approach.  Her choice of research project, ‘Climbing into History: An Interpretative study of post 16th Century staircases’, was both ambitious and inspiring.

‘Prompted by her professional experience, she sought to explore the deeper experiential and cultural qualities of staircases and their role as communicative devices.    She eagerly engaged with areas of philosophy and architectural and cultural theory to extend her understanding and produced an outcome which is both thought provoking and relevant to conservation practice.’

Katie Parsons said: ‘I am delighted to receive this award commendation and at the prospect of attending this year’s IHBC Annual school in Nottingham. This piece of research was a labour of love which I greatly enjoyed. I am glad to have had the opportunity to devote time to researching the architectural history of staircase design and their interpretative value. This was a challenging task and I hope that I can continue to build on my work. I would like to thank the staff at Kingston School of Art and Architecture for their invaluable knowledge, support and dedication, particularly Judith Farren-Bradley, Richard Woolf, Bruce Induni and Amanda Lewis.’

Chris Hamill
Dissertation: Troubled Legacy: A Proposal For The Future Of Northern Ireland’s Conflict Heritages

Ingrid Schröder, Director of the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design at University of Cambridge, said: ‘We are delighted to hear of Chris’s success for his dissertation! His project  combines the repair of the historic gaol in Armagh with establishment of a bi-communal school for construction and traditional building skills,  bringing together trainees from all parts of the community to work on structures that, whilst initially temporary, could form the basis of a permanent facility. His project examined how contested heritage assets might been dealt with differently in Northern Ireland.  His work is an excellent example of design reproach and active participatory practice at work!’

Chris Hamill said: ‘I am delighted that the judges have selected my dissertation for Special Commendation in this year’s Gus Astley awards.  My research highlighted the problems faced in attempting to deal with the built legacy of the Northern Irish Troubles, focusing on the former women’s prison in Armagh.  Regrettably, due to the rawness of the events associated with sites such as this, demolition or commercialisation is often the first response.

‘Armagh Gaol, where so much pain and suffering was contained, is due to be converted into a luxury hotel and spa.  I am glad that the judges agree with my recommendations that much broader, socially engaged conversations are required to ensure these relics of a very difficult past are dealt with respectfully and in a way which aids reconciliation in contemporary Northern Ireland.

‘I would like to extent special thanks to my tutors on the MPhil course, Ingrid Schröder and Aram Mooradian, and my dissertation supervisor, Barbara Campbell-Lange.’

Find out more about the IHBC’s 2019 Annual School at nottingham2019.ihbc.org.uk

View at list of  IHBC Recognised Courses

For more on the IHBC Gus Astley annual Student Award see the GASA website

For more on the IHBC’s 2018 School see: belfast2018.ihbc.org.uk

To book for the 2019 Annual School – Heritage, Risk & Resilience see below:

Full School: Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 July 2019
Day School: Friday 5 July 2019

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Read the Nottingham School NewsBlogs

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