10 January 2022

The three students and two graduates from UEL scooped five out of 12 prizes at the RIBA London Student Awards, just before the new year.

The RIBA has celebrated outstanding architectural work for over 180 years. Their awards and prizes are regarded internationally as a mark of excellence, recognising the best architecture, architects, research and students.

Recent MArch Architecture graduates, Paulius Vaizgenis and Jun Bin Yap, were recognised for their innovative explorations on construction systems and sustainability on the Royal Docks.

Paulius scooped the MArch 'skin thinking' award for his work in proposing a constructed wall system of cork and timber which considered seasonality, sustainability, ease of construction, demountability and effective architecture.

Jun was awarded with the MArch 'sustainability' award for his waterfront regeneration project about oyster aquaculture that aspires to rewild the Royal Docks and improve access to the public waterfront.

Since graduating, the 26-year-old, originally from Malaysia has been working at an architectural practice specialising in conservation, education and residential buildings.

"Oysters can help purify water and the formation of oyster reefs would provide a conducive habitat for the aquatic species and improve flood defences at the Royal Docks", said Jun.

"My project focused on mitigating climate change and improving environmental resilience in the natural landscape as these interventions provide rainwater runoff solutions, ensure a healthy ecosystem and increase air quality around the area.

"This idea also helps tackle issues around green poverty by providing an environmentally focused public space and the restoration work would support education and employment opportunities.

"It was an honour to win the sustainability prize and I am so thankful to my tutors. As architects and designers, we must advocate change to reduce embodied carbon and the demand for operational energy in construction.

"The first step is to rethink how we build and explore, identifying sustainable materials which can improve construction and whether we can reuse existing foundations rather than demolishing them. These are the challenges that face all aspiring architecture students", he concluded.

Three BSc Architecture students were recognised for their work. Rafael Fischer won the best first year portfolio prize for his wide range of ideas which encompassed different mediums of architecture.

Simone Pamio won the BSc 'skin thinking' award, for his exploration of building envelope – the thermal barrier between indoor buildings and outdoor environments.

Viktor Tělecký won the BSc sustainability award for his illustrated year 2 design portfolio.

The 21-year-old originally from the Czech Republic said: "It is important that architecture is built to be long lasting and accessible, so my portfolio focused on creating smart, healthy and efficient designs which are sustainable, flexible and cost effective.

"I was very happy to win the award, as I put a lot of work and time into my project. I am now in my third year at UEL working hard for my bachelors. I am grateful to all my teachers and this year, I would like to gain experience working at a practice before I enrol on a Masters in architecture."

Armor Gutiérrez Rivas, senior lecturer at UEL and qualified architect, said: "I am very proud of our students and graduates for their successes at the RIBA London Student Awards.

"Each award-winning entry from our UEL graduates and students applies social and environmental sustainability into design and construction, proving the remarkable standards of our BSc and MArch courses."

For more information see the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

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