We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “RE-Stock London Housing” competition – Ingrid Bjerkan from the United Kingdom!

Ingrid Bjerkan from the United Kingdom

I am currently studying architecture at the University of Bath, and am about to start my final year of Part 1. Last year as part of the thin-sandwich course, I worked for 6 months at the London practice, Kennedy Woods. Whilst university has taught me technical skills, the time in practice was an invaluable experience, giving me an insight into working in a small firm that is so dedicated to the social impact of their work.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focussed on/preferred, any significant projects where company individuals have been involved?

Over the course of three years, the projects at university have grown in scale, ranging from small-scale furniture designing to my most recent project, an art gallery in Amsterdam. My design brought together local communities from a nearby homeless shelter, community centre, school and nursing home in a socially sustainable scheme through a shared workshop and marketplace. The project also proposed an element of self-build, with individuals producing ceramic tiles on-site, to be applied to the building shell, offering community involvement and training in transferable skills.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Throughout my last three years at university, my understanding of architecture has developed and my perspective has changed. I see architecture as having incredibly diverse and broad applications, teaching skills that can be applied to a range of different fields across all aspects of design. Through working in a socially engaged practice, I am becoming increasingly passionate about the positive impact architecture can have on both humanity and the environment. In all my own projects, I strive to tackle the brief with a socially conscious mindset, finding solutions that will have a positive long-term impact.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

This has been my first competition entry. Having had my work placement in Copenhagen cancelled due to COVID-19, I decided to take part in an architectural competition to challenge myself and practice the design skills I have learnt at university. It was also an opportunity to explore my own interests and explore ideas which may not be possible within the restrictions of a university project brief.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

My advice, especially to students like myself, would be to go for it! Particularly at such an uncertain time – working on a competition gave focus and structure to my work and, in my opinion, there have only been benefits to spending time working on this project.

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