Architecture students nominated for RIBA President’s Medals

A mock drawing of Isobel's Peckham community hub

Article by: David Millett

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We are over the moon that three third-year students from Ravensbourne’s Architecture Department have been nominated for prestigious awards by RIBA, the world-renowned British and international body for architects.

The Royal Institute of British Architects, known as RIBA, is a global professional membership body for architects. It presents the President’s Medals annually, and they are among the most respected awards in the industry.

BA (Hons) Architecture student Beccy Waite and BA (Hons) Interior Design Environment Architectures student Isobel Clancy have been nominated for RIBA Bronze Medals, the highest-level award for undergraduate students. Meanwhile, Architecture student Mert Kestin was nominated for the Dissertation Medal, which is awarded to the best student dissertations.

Schematic of Peckham social club

Beccy was nominated for her project called ‘Rethinking Ritual: A Sustainable Approach to Death’. It looks at the importance of rituals following death in human cultures, and explores how fungus could be used as part of a more sustainable method of burial in the future.

Isobel’s project, called ‘Elevating communities’, looks at the Peckham district in South London. As is the case for many central areas of the capital, it is currently experiencing gentrification. The project proposes the creation of a central community hub that would help bring together the existing communities and newcomers to the area. Located in Peckham Rye Square outside the station, this space would facilitate the exchange of skills, conversations and meals.

Mert’s thesis, previously reported on in our blog post, explores the 1990s Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It examines how people displaced by the conflict were forced to find their own makeshift dwellings, and delves into how governments use camps to physically and psychologically control groups of people.

Illustrations depicting possible burial methods

Beccy said she was “incredibly honoured and surprised” to earn the nomination. “With any project I’ve done at Ravensbourne, the goal is always to have fun, make lots of mistakes, and constantly question every little thing. When I look at my project, I am really proud of myself because I’ve managed to achieve my own set goals. Having the department's recognition makes it more special.

“The project started with my interest in material exploration and experimentation, specifically mycelium and the possibilities it could offer in design. After researching the material, it made me question the current burial systems in place and the problem we are facing globally due to lack of space.

“I really value that I learnt such a range of different skills through the course. There are more conventional architectural drawings and modelling, but I've also had the opportunity to explore the use of animation, photography, graphics, and illustration, which I did not expect.”

A mock drawing of Isobel's Peckham community hub

Isobel said: “I was absolutely delighted to be nominated for the RIBA Bronze Medal. Earlier in the year, I completed my dissertation research on gentrification and displacement in Battersea.

“This inspired me to create a public space which could be utilised by the indigenous micro communities of Peckham as well as the new communities who are moving into the area as it continues to gentrify. The project consists of spaces for local businesses, informal exchanges, and accessible green space for the community to enjoy. 

“My time at Ravensbourne has taught me a range of design skills whilst allowing each student space to develop their own personal design style. As well as these practical skills I have also grown confidence in my own design decisions which I think will be the key skill to bring forward into the working world.”

We are so proud that our students’ thought-provoking designs and ideas have earned such major recognition from RIBA.

This year, the Architecture department have also collaborated with RIBA to provide a mentoring programme for students. Through this programme, architects from relevant industry firms mentor our second- and third-year students.