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Architectural talent shines at UCLan

27 March 2015

Lyndsey Boardman

University hosts annual RIBA challenge for North of England

Up and coming student architects from across the North of England have gathered in Preston for an annual design event run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and hosted by University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The third RIBA northern region design charrette, entitled Northern Soul, was this year hosted by UCLan in Preston’s Avenham Park. It brought together the cream of the region’s promising architectural talent from UCLan, Huddersfield, Northumbria, Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield universities for an intensive, one-day design challenge that focused on Preston City Centre for the 2015 event.

The idea behind a design charrette is to come up with a large amount of creative design thinking in a short space of time. Five students from across a range of study years from each university were chosen to attend the event and work together in mixed groups on a brief they were given that morning.

UCLan architecture lecturer Simon Kay-Jones who set the design brief commented: “We’re honoured to host RIBA’s annual design charrette which allows the very best of Northern architectural student talent to shine.

"I’ve particularly enjoyed working with people who I’ve never met before and being involved in an event endorsed by RIBA at such an early stage in my studies is very motivational."

“This year the students were asked to redesign the historical Stoneygate area of Preston which has fallen into disrepair in recent years and is an area that Preston City Council is planning to regenerate. All of the students’ ideas will be fed into the Preston Open City Group for genuine consideration, making the event a real-live project.”

Fadi Obaid, a 19-year-old first year UCLan architecture student who was invited to take part in the venture, said: “It is a great way of bringing creative minds together to share ideas and learn from each other. I’ve particularly enjoyed working with people who I’ve never met before and being involved in an event endorsed by RIBA at such an early stage in my studies is very motivational.”

Andrew Ruffler, the Regional Director of RIBA, said: “The Northern Soul design charrette provides a fantastic opportunity not only for students to showcase their talents but also for the Schools of Architecture across the North of England to demonstrate successful collaborative working. Combined with the support of the host city and local RIBA members, this project continues to go from strength to strength.”

Ideas that came out of the one-day event included building a creative industries hub, affordable accommodation or apprenticeship training facilities. The winning scheme explored the notion of a new park within Stoneygate that would cater for retail, creative industries, leisure and nature.

It is the third year that RIBA has run the northern region design charrette with previous events in Manchester and Newcastle.

View more photos from the event.