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University architecture students shortlisted in Architects' Journal contest

Docklands campus

University of East London candidates among the top architectural students in the country

Two architecture students from the University of East London have been shortlisted for the prestigious Architects’ Journal Student Prize.

Undergraduate Nisha Anwar and postgraduate Ze Rou Yong were selected from a pool of their peers representing 51 architecture schools accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The competition will name its top three winners in September.

Now in its second year, the AJ Student Prize provides a unique platform to showcase the next generation of talent. It is run in association with RIBA’s founding partner Marley.

Nisha Anwar, 28, from Newham, who is studying on the BSc (Hons) Architecture course, was shortlisted in the undergraduate category for her project ‘Community Barn’. Postgraduate Ze Rou Yong’s ‘Two Uneven Twins’, located in Hackney, has been nominated in the postgraduate section.

Nisha said, “I am very excited and proud to be nominated for the AJ Prize. It feels great to see my work published in a magazine like AJ, which holds so much significance in the architecture industry. It also definitely enhances your CV.”

Nisha has won other awards, including the University of East London’s Architecture Portfolio Award, awarded by the University in recognition of students’ work, which she gained during her third year of study. Nisha also earned a RIBA East London Best of Part 1 award in her second year.

Having finished her undergraduate studies in June this year, she said her plans include working for a year or two before going on to do postgraduate studies in architecture with a view to eventually earning her licence in architecture.

Ze Rou Yong, 28, from Beckton, has just completed her two-year Master of Architecture ARB/RIBA Part 2. She said she was “deeply thankful and delighted to have been selected for this prize.”
After the competition, Ze will head back to her home country of Malaysia for a two month break before going to Singapore to work for Asian design consultancy firm Ong&Ong Pte Ltd, which has sponsored her studies at the University.

She said, “This is a prestigious prize and the biggest nomination I have had so far. It is a recognition from the University of East London as well as the Architects’ Journal, an achievement that allows me to prove for my company that I was the right one for them to sponsor.

“My hope in the future is to take on board the knowledge, skills and experience I've learned and gained at the University of East London and in the UK and to continue to strive and be inspired in my career. I would also love to bring a positive impact to the industry, especially in Singapore and Malaysia, to improve the built environment and enhance the urban area.”

Nisha’s project is set in a social housing scheme called Quinta Da Malagueira, designed by Álvaro Siza, on the outskirts of Evora, in the region of Alentejo, Portugal. The community garden in Malagueira holds a lot of significance for the local community and Nisha’s proposed ‘Community Barn’ aims to facilitate the expansion of the garden and its activities while simultaneously enhancing the social and cultural conditions in Malagueira.

Ze’s ‘Two Uneven Twins’ is a project strategically located along the Grand Union Canal in Hackney, London. Ze’s new design comprises two buildings, a sports centre and a Community Land Trust housing development with workshops on the ground floor. Her idea is to add a way to connect different communities north and south of the Grand Union Canal by providing a new footbridge and new central public open space, included in her design.

“I feel that this way the two new proposed buildings in my design, the sports centre and the Community Land Trust housing development with workshops on the ground, complement each other,” Ze explained.

Dr David Tann, head of The University of East London’s School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering (ACE), said, “Taking part in the AJ Student Prize, which recognises and celebrates the industry’s rising stars, is an important step in showcasing future architectural talent. This enhances our focus at UEL on promoting skills and innovation among our students for Industry 4.0 readiness. Well done to our two students for being selected among the top architectural students in the country. They are up against tough competition and we wish them well for the final selection in September.”