Learning & Achieving Together

Making Suburban Faith: An architectual project in collaboration with University College London and Mangera Yvars Architects

Throughout this term a group of 16 Sixth Form students have participated in a research project named Making Suburban Faith. Initiated by the geography department of University College London in partnership with the award winning, internationally renowned architectural practice Mangera Yvars, this project required students to develop architectural proposals for a multi-faith place of worship in Ealing.

The project began in late September with visits to a number of local places of worship including a mosque, synagogue, Hindu and Sikh temples and Christian churches to gather information, interview religious leaders and record their impressions of the different religious spaces. Through a range of experiential workshops led by professional architects and supported by architecture students, Brentside students used their research to generate some initial design ideas. In October they were given the opportunity to visit the Bartlett School of Architecture (part of University College London) where they presented their ideas and gained some valuable advice about how to proceed from a panel of experts drawn from the teaching staff.

During the following weeks the students developed their architectural concepts through drawing, model making and experimenting with a wide variety of construction materials and techniques. They had to work to scale and consider carefully how to structure, organise and illuminate the architectural space taking into account the needs and sensitivities of the faiths represented.

On 1 December 2105, the Brentside Sixth Form students presented four final design proposals to architects from Mangera Yvars and Foster and Partners at the Royal Holloway site in central London. The architects were impressed with the consideration and attention to detail the students’ designs showed and the confidence with which they presented their ideas. The panel found merit in all the proposals and were unable to decide upon a final winner. As a prize to all the students involved the architects have offered their expertise to refine their ideas and produce a professional architectural proposal in exactly the same way as they would for their own clients.

The designs will be exhibited at UCL in May 2016 before moving on to Brentside in July. Dr Claire Dwyer, one of the project organisers said;

            “We are extremely lucky to have been able to work with such an outstanding school with such committed staff and such enthusiastic and talented pupils.  We have really enjoyed working with your pupils and they have produced some wonderful work.”

More information about Brentside’s involvement in this project can be found at: http://www.makingsuburbanfaith.org/ . Click on the Projects tab at the top of the page.