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1.1 Supporting scholarship

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1.2 Addressing hardship

1.3 Developing professional skills

2.1 National and international competitions

2.2 Work based learning

2.3 The architecture debate

3.1 Academic research

3.2 Practice located research

3.3 Resources supporting research

Walter Parker Bursaries Norman Foster Scholarship Boyd Auger Scholarship Aedas Stephen Williams Scholarship

Walter Parker Bursaries : part 2 Jo Ashbridge University of Cambridge

I began the long road to architectural enlightenment in September 2004, with the BSc in Architecture at the University of Bath. Having no architects in the family I was yet to understand the incredible highs and lows that only those who have weathered the academic architecture storm can relate to. I was signing my life over to seven years of student loans assuming that being an ‘eternal’ student wouldn’t be so bad.

And then the routine started. Sometimes, I had to go for three days without sleeping. As I spent so much time there, the studio almost became my new home. Copious amounts of coffee kept my mind alert despite my body telling me that something wasn’t quite right. I found myself catching the first bus in the morning, but this was to take me home rather than to deposit me at campus for early morning lectures. You do it because this is what the many have done before you, you do it because every extra minute you gain results in another decision, you do it because your project has become your baby, you do it because there is no greater feeling than when a tutor understands what you are trying to achieve, and you do it because you are an aspiring architect and architecture is life. However, entering into my fourth and final year of my undergraduate degree, the burden became a little too heavy. Architecture is, apart from anything else, an expensive degree. Printing costs and model materials add up quickly. Despite the fact that I was receiving the maximum student loan available I was called into the bank to be informed that I was dangerously close to my £2,500 overdraft limit. Despair followed but I had to find a solution if I were to finish my course.

I applied to the RIBA Education Fund in 2007 and couldn’t believe my luck when I received those haloed words, “The trustees have considered your application and have agreed to award you…” The grant enabled me to complete my degree without the added stress of worrying about whether I could afford it. In fact, the RIBA have been a continued support throughout my education. I was fortunate to receive further financial help from the RIBA Education Fund during my Part 2 at the University of Cambridge, in both 2009 and 2010. From an early stage, environmental design and the idea that Architecture began with the human need for shelter has been key in my architectural education. I volunteered in the construction of One Room Shelters in the Tan Phuoc district of Vietnam for underprivileged families whose houses were likely to be washed away by monsoon rains, and studies of the vernacular architecture of the Puglia region in Italy remained the focus of my work during the Erasmus exchange at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan in Stockholm. My thesis for the MPhil in Environmental Design in Architecture at Cambridge, which I submitted in August 2011, focused

on ‘Sustainable Planning and Design for a Hospital in an Equatorial Climate’. More specifically, I developed a future masterplan and offered a design for the obstetric fistula unit at Kagando Hospital in Uganda. This project stemmed from an extensive period spent in East Africa in 2008 and my return visit to Uganda in 2010. My passion and future career direction is to focus on development and disaster relief architecture. The drive is to create innovative architectural and associated infrastructure solutions that are sensitive to the environment, culture and traditions whilst responding to the needs of affected populations following conflict or natural disasters. I hope to become increasingly involved with international humanitarian work, disaster relief response and development in areas with limited assets. Recent help from another RIBA funding initiative (the RIBA Walter Parker Bursary) allowed me to undertake an internship with a shelter-related NGO in Geneva in order to pursue this architectural dream. Architecture has opened up the world to me. I am absolutely convinced that without financial support schemes such as those offered by the RIBA I could not have experienced or achieved so much. The

current climate for architects is a difficult one but the reward to play a role in shaping the built environment is overwhelming. For students who may be finding it difficult to financially support their studies I would advise them to investigate all opportunities offered by the RIBA. Equally, I would urge donors and organisations who can afford it to support the RIBA funding schemes wholeheartedly to ensure that great visionaries do not slip through the net. There is no harder working individual than an architecture student and investment in the next generation is investment in our future.

RIBA Education Yearbook 2012 - Walter Parker Bursary  
RIBA Education Yearbook 2012 - Walter Parker Bursary  

The Yearbook provides an annual review of the point in time reached by students of architecture, tutors and researchers venturing to make se...

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