2010 RIBA Presidents Silver Medal - CSA entries

This year the School has nominated Beth Lambert and Chris Jennings-Petz for their Thesis work. The projects are described below by their authors. The 5th year of the Graduate Diploma affords students the chance to make an extended piece of research. Beth and Chris have both produced exemplary work, gaining Diplomas with distinction.

Ivan Chang and Zoe Cox have also gained distinctions this year: we will shortly be showcasing all last years premiated projects.

Ville Surrealiste

Beth Lambert

Strood, once part of Medway’s booming Industrial urban landscape, has slipped into redundancy. The Medway Renaissance drive replaces evidence of Strood’s past with an undifferentiated landscape of housing.

Proposed by Marcel Jean, the title ‘Ville Surrealiste’, suggests a critique of the town through the Surrealist lens. Hal Foster, in Compulsive Beauty, discusses the ‘lost object’ and the ‘uncanny’, themes concerned with memory. It is through duel nature proposals, which ‘make strange’ the homely and the militaristic, that Strood may rediscover its past.

Poppy seeds are scattered over the site announcing change. When the ground is disturbed, flowers reappear in spring and autumn. No soldiers have died here, yet the site temporally appears to become a war memorial. This beautiful red landscape creates a disjunction between suggested meaning and historical evidence.

Just off the bank of the River Medway, adjacent to the site, is a U457 Submarine. Dragged from here, gauging out a mark as it goes, it becomes a Museum on a residential street. An attraction, as well as a provocation, about the past of the town, it takes on the peculiar, ‘lost in time’ character that ‘lost objects’ have.

The German “Kursaal”, translates as “Cure Hall”. The former railway shed now hosts Bingo nights, a reference to the area’s Vernacular heritage.

The Bunker refers to the domestic and militaristic. Dotted around like pillboxes, these ‘Soft’ forms, are created independently of programme. Spatially they suggest complete occupation, but are able, due to their permanence, to be rediscovered over time.

Each proposal has a different temporal logic; how they arrive on the site and are programmed. In addressing the site’s future, a layer of Gardens becomes a code for future developments which when claimed present a strange moment. Knitted mesh is proposed as an ‘open’ spatial divider; it is the making strange of ‘homely’ lace curtains.

The proposals act as a cost-effective means, by which the area can become re-animated. This way of intervening confronts people with their own past, through the return of familiar things made strange in an invented, dramatised past, impacting the future development of Strood.


Chris Jennings-Petz

“That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it”


Hydro-tecture: researching the metabolism of water in the built environment.

Water is the universal solvent that links all natural and synthetic systems. The health of the hydrological sphere is paramount to continued expansion, health and quality of both the natural and urban environment.

As an architectural response to the South East of England's regional hydro-ecology and current development plans, Hydro-tecture aims to improve the hydrological health of the region by shaping the social metabolic experience of water as a resource.

An initial act was to imagine inserting the projected annual water use of 60,000,000 m3 into Ashford, Kent: confronting the populace with physical mass of their own consumption, whilst establishing a new datum supply and demand and it’s ecological affect.

The architectural response focused upon the generation of a series of ten deep reservoirs, formed along a central ribbon following a "grid" determined by Ashford’s typological, geographical and geological conditions. As a critical addition to the city's development plans, the reservoirs will supply cleansed river water to the domestic, commercial and agricultural sectors, dramatically reducing ground water abstraction and ultimately improve the health of the Great Stour River and its regional biodiversity.

Levels of supply and demand will alter the landscape and it's program. Reservoir boundaries, in places referencing Indian stepped wells, will seasonally fluctuate in program and physical quality, both capturing and perpetuating the flow of surface water. Facilities which ajoin each reservoir are as responsive as the landscape, functioning as part of a wider utility & recreational network.

The scheme described more than just the built infrastructure of a landscape urbanism. An important dimension of the project developed around an action research initiatives, culminating in a joint public exhibition. A growing mineral solution and clay process installation launched an initiative concerned with raising conscious of water usage - embodied and everyday.