Architecture students praised for their work on historic Welsh house as part of live project


UWTSD second year Architecture students have been working on St John’s House, Newcastle, Bridgend as part of a live design studio project.

The design challenge involved working for a client, Peter Wills, who currently owns a 1930’s former St John’s ambulance hall which is adjacent to the historic Grade II listed 16th century St John’s House in the Newcastle Conservation Area in Bridgend. The students were tasked with transforming the existing hall into a studio space for an artist.

The students had to consider the surrounding area and from the entrance to the existing St John’s House, the existing building use, function and the use of the whole site area including the existing hall and land to the rear. The themes explored included: Sketching and recording information/ measuring/ seeking inspiration/ presentation of design ideas in response to a client brief.

They also had to consider how the public currently use the historic building and their patterns of movement and any potential connectivity to the work of a potential artist’s studio.

Ian Standen, Programme Director of Architecture at UWTSD said: “The project aimed to produce proposals to transform the existing hall into an artist’s studio space in response to a real client brief; to exhibit his artwork; display working methods and include other artists of a similar nature such as weavers. The brief included the provision of live work units coupled with a related community facility in the existing St John’s House.

“It enabled the students to further develop architectural skills with detailed measuring and recording information of existing fabric in part of the building; producing hand drawings, measured drawings; site model making and computer generated proposals. It also provided the opportunity to work with a real client requiring detailed analysis; research and understanding via the conventions of architectural representation – the production of plans, sections, elevations and 3D drawings for his scrutiny.

Ian said the students presented their schemes to the client and his partner on February 12 in the studio in IQ and received encouraging and enthusiastic feedback.

Peter Wills said: "The students each took the brief and developed an individual approach. 
A range of fresh, imaginative ideas and concepts were developed and presented with enthusiasm and commitment. It was an enjoyable, thought provoking experience and one in which it was a great pleasure to be a part." 

Student Niki Michaela-Kounani said: “The project was definitely challenging and fun! It was great to be able to put what we learn in the studio at UWTSD into practice in a live environment.”

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