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RIBA East awards outstanding students 2021

RIBA East Student Awards 2021 have been presented online this year to architectural students from Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford; University of Cambridge; Norwich University of the Arts; University of Hertfordshire; and the University of Suffolk.

20 July 2021

The RIBA East Student Award aims to promote excellence and reward talent in the study and education of architecture.

Entry is open to those studying architecture at the five schools of architecture in the East of England, and is judged by course leaders and tutors. Congratulations go to all of this year’s RIBA East Student Award winners.

RIBA East Student Award winners 2021: Katerina McKechnie, University of Suffolk and Yash Shetty, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford.

Katerina McKechnie is the first ever recipient of the RIBA East Student Award at the University of Suffolk.

Dr Paco Mejias Villatoro, Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Suffolk, commented: "Katerina has been commended for her approach to architecture as ecosophy and synthesis of life, built and natural environments. In her Thesis Project, Urban Permaculture Farm, Katerina maintains a firm stance against climate change, and sustainability, demonstrating ecological literacy, ethics in practice and a coherent design approach integrated with the use of newly devised structural systems, materials, and methods."

Katerina McKechnie Project image: Urban Permaculture Farm Café

Dr Liana Psarologaki, Head of Architecture: “We are particularly happy to see one of our first graduates responding to our course philosophy of critical practice in a pragmatic and succinct way that does not overcomplicate architecture conceptually, at the same time being aspirational and imaginative.”

Katerina McKechnie told us: “My thesis project, Urban Permaculture Farm, is a proposal that rethinks food through architecture. It is an urban permaculture community farm situated within the town of Ipswich to facilitate highly sustainable ways of growing and consuming food. The farm contains pavilions using solar energy and collection of water. All pavilions, including kitchen, café, and educational facilities, are connected with a walkaway creating routes for overlooking the site all set within wildlife meadow of edible plants.”

Tom Foggin, RIBA East Chair, said. “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with Katerina and was delighted to award her the first RIBA East Student Award the University of Suffolk has ever received. It was also great to hear Katerina’s passion for sustainability. Congratulations.”

Yash Shetty of the Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, was the university’s RIBA East 2021 award winner, nominated by Maria Vogiatzaki, Deputy Head and Professor of School of Architecture and Planning. Maria commented that Yash had been an exemplary student during his three year BA (Hons) Architecture degree programme. He proved to be an excellent year representative, always helping other students and has consistently contributed to the planning of improvements to the course the facilities.

For his final year project, Yash has focused on addressing the pollution and over-harvesting of the world’s oceans and rivers. Yash has designed ‘Organicaqua’, a water based city of 50,000 inhabitants in the abandoned waters of the Royal Docks.

Yash Shetty project image: Organicaqua

Yash has proposed a city of live/work communities in a 4km stretch of sustainable fish farming, where the city’s buildings are connected by a labyrinth of colonnades and cloistered courtyards. At the heart of the project, Yash has designed the ‘Organicaqua’ fish market, fish restaurant, aquaponic research labs and educational facilities, managed and maintained by the live-in community of fish farmers, scientists, educationalists, botanists, dieticians, and chefs.

A vision of a post-pandemic world where we learn not to fear the consequences of climate change and sea level rise but instead take positive action and learn to respect and enjoy our watery world.

Tom Foggin, RIBA East Chair, said, “Yash’s portfolio and collaborative approach as student rep demonstrates his passion for biodiversity and professionalism, both great assets for a future in architecture.”

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