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The Inaugural University of Buckingham Summer School in Architecture

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The University of Buckingham joined forces with the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame for its first ever Summer School in Architecture, which was held at the Institute’s offices in Bloomsbury, London, last month.

During the month-long Summer School, students developed their own masterplan for the areas surrounding Euston Station, and the impressive design was widely reported in the London Evening Standard and other media.

The purpose of the Euston Station Project was for students to explore how the area near the mainline station, much of which has been boarded up in preparation for the new HS2 High-Speed station, could be developed.  Their brief was to look at how a twenty-first-century transport interchange could be incorporated into a historic city like London in a way that responds to, and restores the traditional urban grain and reconnects parts of the city that had become isolated when the current station was enlarged in 1968.

Site visits formed an integral part of the Summer School. Among these, students spent time in Bath exploring traditional principles of architecture and urban design, and then went to Poundbury, Dorset, an experimental new town, to see how these principles have served to create developments successfully today.

The opening lecture, held in the Society of Antiquaries, in Burlington House, was given by Léon Krier who, as an architect, theorist and urban planner, has devoted his professional life to campaigning for the reconstruction of ‘the traditional European city’.  Through his writings, teaching and his built work he has been one of the most influential of the traditional architects and planners of the present day and has had a great influence on the ‘New Urbanism’ movement, both in the US and here in Europe. A former Visiting Professor at Princeton, Yale and other leading universities, Professor Krier is best known in the UK for his ongoing development at Poundbury, Dorset, for which he produced the original masterplan.

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Professor John Simpson, the Director of the Summer School and Dean-elect of the University’s planned School of Architecture, said: ‘The Summer School has been a major success and the enthusiasm of the students was truly astonishing. I think they learned more about urban design during the four weeks of the summer school than most architecture students do over their whole five-year education. What is even more remarkable is that, simultaneously with this, they worked up a most impressive masterplan for the relatively complex and difficult site surrounding Euston Station.’

The course tutors were Professor Samir Younés from Notre Dame and Professor Lucien Steil.  Professor Younés teaches traditional urbanism and architecture and architectural theory at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture.  Professor Steil, a practising architect and distinguished commentator on contemporary design, celebrated the publication of his new book, In the Mood for Architecture: Tradition, Modernism and Serendipity, in the course of the Summer School. This reflects the key concerns of his career, as a tireless promoter of sustainable, ecological, traditional urbanism and architecture, concerns that have also been central to his teaching and design practice.

Professor Samir Younés, Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, said: ‘In addressing the area around Euston Station, the 2018 Summer School at the University of Buckingham has proposed to connect the areas of Camden, St Pancras and King’s Cross to the East, and Regent’s Park to the West. This connection works through vital re-urbanisation, including garden squares with mixed-use, residential, and commercial buildings as well as civic buildings endowed with an architectural character that suits London.’

The Summer School in Architecture is planned to be an annual event.

 

SImon Hurst