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Architecture students from UEL score carnival success

Docklands campus

Architecture students' costume comes third at Notting Hill

A five-metre tall structure with red, yellow and blue ‘petals’, co-designed by four architecture students from the University of East London, took a top prize in the recent Notting Hill Carnival.

The special ‘costume’ was placed third in the ‘traditional’ category of the carnival’s mas bands competition. Mas bands are organised groups made up of participants in elaborate costumes. The entry was devised by the University in collaboration with the Tropical Isles Carnival Youth Group, an award-winning Hackney-based charity.

The architecture students were given the task of designing ‘body architecture’ for the carnival’s masterpiece signature structure - known as the ‘mas piece’ - which leads the groups in the procession. The structure will also be used for the Tropical Isles Carnival Youth Group’s performance at the Hackney Carnival on 8 September and a carnival in Bielefeld, Germany in June 2020.

The project gave University of East London students Daryl Ignacio, Eugene Yu Jin Soh, Halima Ali and Tashan Auguste a chance to learn how to work with a client and find out about the constraints related to a project, including deadlines, budgets, risks and deliverability.

The project was jointly led by architecture lecturers Carsten Jungfer and Fernanda Palmieri.

Mr Jungfer said, “What an amazing result to have won third prize on both days at Notting Hill! It’s fantastic news and this has been an amazing collaboration and an opportunity for about 20 members of the Tropical Isles group and our students to work together.

“As well as being a great learning exercise for both groups, our students gained a set of critical skills which, for any young architect, is normally only acquired during ‘year out’ and work placements. In terms of future employability of our students, this learning experience will add considerable value to individual CVs and in finding work at architectural practices.”

Mr Jungfer explained that working together to design and build a structure over a  five month period enabled both the students and the Tropical Isles Carnival Youth Group – who are aged between 15 and 25 - to gain invaluable experience building a wide range of real-life skills in relation to communication, technology, craft, confidence and a sense of collective strength.

The project was funded by the University’s civic engagement fund, which supports hands-on projects that positively impact local communities.

The Tropical Isles Youth Group creates high-quality art-led projects which encourage youths of different cultures and backgrounds to work together.

“As well as showcasing the University’s creative talent, this project has highlighted the close relationship we have with east London’s diverse and creative community,” Mr Jungfer said. “The University students have been able to act as role models. The skills acquired during the workshops in relation to communication, technology, craft and confidence by youths from Tropical Isles, will help them build their personal experience and confidence and to critically question their own aspirations towards their professional career paths and opportunities.”

Dr David Tann, head of the School of Architecture, Computing a Engineering, said, “Congratulations to the  winning designers. Notting Hill Carnival attracted about two million visitors, while Hackney Carnival is expected to have 60,000 visitors and Bielefeld Carnival 100,000 visitors, so this has been a very big opportunity to showcase the creative skill and talent of our University students in real life and in the cultural context of London.

"This valuable project has also enhanced the University’s strategic objectives to focus on local connections in preparing young people for the future through industry 4.0 readiness, in terms of building on skills and innovative solutions.”

The Hackney Carnival is on September 8 from 11 am to 7 pm with the carnival procession starting at 12:30 pm from Mare Street. For more details visit: www.hackney.gov.uk/carnival