RIBA Masterclasses - Royal Gold Medal Week

By Marco Fiorino, Przemyslaw Pastor, Stacey Thomas (BA3)

The RIBA, in conjunction with the appointment of the Royal Gold Medal, organised a series of Masterclasses which took place on Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd February at their headquarters in London. At this special event, the Royal Institute of British Architects also awards honorary fellowships to people who have made a significant contribution to architecture. The recipients are invited to give Masterclasses giving them a chance to explain and showcase their work. The Leicester School of Architecture gave three students the chance to win the tickets by launching a competition. We are extremely please to be given the opportunity to represent the LSA on such a special occasion.

Przemyslaw Pastor and Stacey Thomas with Sir Peter Cook

The first day started with a lecture given by Yvonne Farrell about the influence of built examples and the cultural value of space and how we as architects can enhance it with our design. The lecture invited us to think about the route architecture may take in the upcoming years, delineating a scenario towards a more environmentally friendly architecture. She talked about the UTEC University Campus; a building her practice designed in Lima with a strong response to the problem of the city being located on the edge of the tectonic plates, causing frequent earthquakes. The design presented at the talk prompted us to think whether architecture is slowly going towards resembling the landscape it "consumed" in order to be built.

Another example of adaptable design was later introduced by Bjarke Ingels, with his power plant proposal. A public building that features a living ecosystem built on its roof, providing a get-away for the residents of the city whether they want to climb a man-made mountain in Summer or sky down to the bottom of it in Winter.

Grayson Perry CBE                         Peter Wilson                                    Sir Peter Cook

The artist Grayson Perry provided a very interesting view on architecture. He encouraged the young generations to experiment with design so to move on from the "dull period", an expression coined by Sir Peter Cook who was listening to the talk sitting next to us. We were glad to be able to talk with him about architecture and Archigram. It was a great pleasure to meet such a prominent figure in architecture, and the keynote which he later provided was a pleasure to be part of. We were amazed by the energy and enthusiasm that transpired from his talk.

On Tuesday the first talk saw Peter Wilson discussing his long-standing contribution to the development of architectural drawing, emphasizing the importance of the sketch. He presented his outstanding body of architectural works of great distinction these include the Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam. He was followed by Peter Stutchbury an Australian architect whose work focuses on the need of creating architecture that "speaks of the place it inhabits". His buildings presented are environmentally friendly, designed around cultural precedents and locally rooted.

Marco Fiorino with Dame Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid's Masterclass focused on the design process that characterizes her cutting-edge architecture. She explained the strive for progress that is hidden behind the visionary forms in her buildings. "For me architecture must contribute to society's progress and ultimately to our individual and collective wellbeing".

During the two days of events we were enlightened and inspired by the works of the professionals presenting. The level of detail, thoughts and innovative thinking that had gone into these projects was astonishing and awe-inspiring. We believe we have achieved a great amount of experience from this event. As young architects it is always wonderful to go to the RIBA and listen to inspiring talks.

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