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2018 Awards

The Awards Every year, RGU Art & Heritage Collections acquires exceptional examples of work by outstanding graduates of Gray’s School of Art and the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment. Winning recipients are selected from each course, and they are awarded a ‘purchase award’, as an acknowledgement and celebration of the graduates’ creative ingenuity and achievements. These award-winning, dynamic and thought-provoking works are held in the University’s collection, where they exist as part of a material record of student achievement, study, and research. This collection is unique to Scotland, with no other equivalent institution methodically collecting the output of their talented graduates.

The Winners Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment Alexandra Angus Andrew Kirwan Joe Leask Katarzyna Popowczak Lucia Medina Uriarte Magdalena Wloczka Neil Mair Samantha Bryan Sophie Perrott

Gray ’s School of Art Anna Younie Annalisa Merrilees Cal Docherty Elliott Cookson Elsbeth Morrison Jasmin Ramirez Kitty Lambton Laura Ukstina Nadia Hatni Phoebe Banks Yasmin Moore-Milne

Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment

Alexandra Angus

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE, STAGE THREE Jackson’s Garage (Group Project)

10 Bon Accord Street is an art deco building that sits tucked away just off of Union Street in Aberdeen. Designed by A G R McKenzie and built in 1937, it began its life as a busy garage with a spiralling ramp up to its rooftop. All that remains of that today are the original curving granite walls, which are home to a menswear store, a shop and a bar. To bring life back into the building, Jacksons Garage would be adapted to provide a gallery space and artist studios. To do this, the interior would be removed, and the old walls would be retained. A new cubic form would be placed within the centre, creating an atrium space between the old and new. This then acts as a circulation space and gallery for various pieces of art such as sculpture and performance. The ground floor would then be used for the existing functions such as the menswear store, a shop and cafe, which could spill out onto this bright gallery space. The upper floor of the new space would have a mix of residential and non-residential studios, each with a vast amount of north light.

Andrew Kirwan


Inhabited Bridge Architecture plays an important role in all our lives, whether we know it or not. It acts as the all-important backdrop to which the drama of our daily lives plays out. We can endeavour to create forms and sculptural structures which our eyes marvel to behold, yet do we lose an element of ourselves in that endeavour? Is such an architecture not alien to us as individuals? Nostalgia, memory, the intricacies of our daily routines, these are what we must strive to champion when we approach design. It is this very intentionality which we as architects bear a responsibility to bring to each one of our designs, big or small. This project, which grew to become a masterplan of its own, seeks to add a vibrant new district to Aberdeen through a diversity of function. To the North, the Aberdeen Tattoo Academy becomes the new gateway to the university. The inhabited bridge connects from here and contains, office spaces, a public library, four theatre spaces, a dance studio, and an art gallery. The bridge stretches 260 metres to connect at the Southern end with both a car park and the Aberdeen Food Market. Above this ‘knuckle’ point soars the residential tower which has units suitable for small families, studio flats, and student accommodation. Atop the tower sits a music venue, acting as a beacon for all of Aberdeenshire.

Joe Leask

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE, STAGE SIX Scale in Education: An Experience of Remote Schooling An emerging theme from the initial stages of my research was ‘scale’. This was not scale in any specific sense, however it was always within the context of education. It was clear that scale has an important role to play within the design of pedagogical buildings. School as an experience takes up a large portion in one’s life. In this phase you learn key skills and are prepared to take your place within society. It is critical that this time devoted to learning is beneficial. As architects, we must shoulder some responsibility for the creation of a successful education, as the school experience is unique to location, culture and the individual. My project examines the educational experience on the Shetland Islands and occurs at a time where there is a broken school network, the overdue introduction of a modern hub facility and overall; a system haemorrhaging public money. All of these topics are investigated, specifically in regards to scale. Simply put, the problem is that the small scale is too small yet conversely the large scale is too large. Is there a way to create a modern hub school and associated remote school network, unique to the culture and heritage of Shetland yet on a scale that has its place on the remote archipelago?

Katarzyna Popowczak

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE, STAGE THREE Light Box (Group Project) 10 Bon Accord Street, formerly known as Jackson’s Garage, is one of only seven Art-Deco buildings in Aberdeen. The building, designed by local architect A.G.R Mackenzie between 1933 and 1937, clearly demonstrates the Art-Deco movement. As part of an adaptive reuse project, we have been studying the design of an additional 300 m2 of creative spaces including artist’s studios and a gallery space within the building. The initial design approach was to create a space which will be a visible point in the city and which will attract people’s attention. Additionally, it was important to minimise the intervention into the building structure. The main Slater’s area, hidden behind the entry façade, created a perfect opportunity for adding a new volume to the building. Therefore, an old façade has been replaced by the new volume which was slightly pulled out of the building and raised above the roof level to attract people’s attention. The change in the volume at the ground level creates an inviting element to the gallery. The artist’s studios are accommodated on the first floor and feature roof-lights to maximise the northern light factor which is beneficial for the art work.

Lucia Medina Uriarte

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE, STAGE THREE A Cut in the Grey: Adaptive Reuse of a Local Landmark (Group Project) A skin made of memories. Jackson’s Garage, the art deco building designed by A. G. R. Mackenzie holds within it much more than the shops and bars that currently occupy its walls and window fronts; the memories of people of Aberdeen are reflected in the ribbon windows and geometrical ornaments of its façade. The proposal for its adaptive reuse understands the structure of the building as a timeless entity, and puts into question the identity of any other function as a bare passer-by. The space within the envelope is stripped back from the eventual finishings added over the years, and instead all space is made available for any new function to be freely occupied. The materials are celebrated, a new joy is found in the roughness of the everyday granite and the worn off garage floors. The colourful chaos of the every day mosaic

From Trunk to Leaf: Co-habitation Scheme for Affordable Housing Located in Balnagask Circle, a neighbourhood made up primarily of council housing from the 1960s, the project is imagined in a reoccurring state of crisis - or what was perhaps a situation that had always remained unresolved. Is the current solely a housing crisis, or have we perhaps raised further to a crisis of home? Can any economic crisis truly ever be understood without a social context? The co-habitation scheme puts in the spotlight the two demographics to most suffer from this crisis of belonging: can the student and elderly population co-exist? And what can they bring to each other? Just like a tree could never stand without its base, nor grow any taller without the chlorophyl coming in through its leaves, all life requires a centre to relate to, while also being able to maintain an individuality. The whole building becomes a poem of the every day, of the individuality and the shared, of the materials we touch and, most importantly, the people we surround ourselves with.

Magdalena Wloczka

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE, STAGE THREE (re)intervention: The Vertical Journey of Sudden Experiences (Group Project) Art has a power of influencing us, intervening into our emotional selves and everyday routines. Such intervention was also imposed upon the Jackson’s Garage, a 1937 granite entity from Aberdeen, housing a mix of functions in a disorganized manner. The brief presumes an addition of artists spaces, and an art gallery, creating a stark contrast between the current user profiles and the new insertion. The gallery forms a void organised around a grid parallel to the main façade, present throughout the height of the building. It has the function, as art does, of bringing people together. Hence, a communal circulation route allows glimpses of the exhibition on every floor. Overlaid and juxtaposed with the current structure, the grid allows a coherent way of bringing the new, while respecting the entity and character of the old. The old tenants coexist due to the communal staircase, however are separated accordingly with their function. In the new extension, division into three zones is made. A big individual studio space with internal adjustable partitions is supported by a communal studio space, allowing bigger formats to be presented. A communal facility area brings the above together.

Neil Mair

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE, STAGE SIX Frame + Infill: Aviemore Food Centre. The project is a proposal for a Food Centre in Aviemore, comprising a market hall, street food hall, cookery school, and serviced apartments. The different activities of the brief function on an interdependent basis, with the aims being to embed food and drink as part of the Cairngorms visitor experience, to improve collaboration between local producers and suppliers, and to enable opportunities for better community engagement and food education.

Samantha Bryan

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE, STAGE THREE Old Meets New (Group Project) My design intention was to create a pedestrianised area opposite the current Slaters building due to the current lack of pedestrianised areas in Aberdeen. A parametric roof was designed to cover this space to create a sheltered area for people to gather and hold events. Inside the building, the roof would also connect to the art gallery which drops down into a central void and spirals upwards to reveal the artwork.

Sophie Perrott

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE, STAGE SIX Resomation Complex | Memorial Gardens BRIEF: The proposed complex contains two chapels (one large 250 capacity and one small 80 capacity), a hall of remembrance, associated public services, resomation chamber and staff facilities. SITE: Craigingles Hill and woodland, Maryculter, Aberdeenshire Site summit: 158.2metres above sea level The site forms an isolated island to the South-East of the River Dee, raising symbolism and importance to the dead. ARCHITECTURAL AMBITION: To take mourners on a journey to experience the stages of grief through the changing condition of the memorial garden boundary walkway; enabling them to feel at inner peace before returning to their quotidian lives. The design is a place filled with sadness, yet it enables people to see the light, provide bereavements, yet maintains memories of loved ones lost, immersed within the architecture and mostly within the nature of the woodland environment: keeping them alive forever.

Gray’s School of Art

Anna Younie

BA (HONS) THREE DIMENSIONAL DESIGN The Brodgar Collection My collection has been inspired by the surrounding landscape of my home on Orkney. I have always had an admiration and fascination for the local scenery therefore, it seemed a natural choice to focus on this for my final year at Gray’s. My work has developed from the intricate patterns and erosion which surround Orkney’s coastline. The forms remain simple and elegant as I have tried to reflect the eye catching standing stone formations of Brodgar and Stenness, however the surface of my work is heavily textured relating to the weathered cliffs protecting the islands from the elements. By exploring a variety of clay, slips and raw materials which all hold different properties this has resulted in a diverse range of effects being created. In my opinion the work retains the sensitivity of clay whilst mirroring the harsh rock surfaces I have studied intensively. I believe this refined method demonstrates the possibilities of the medium and the result is something which I am deeply proud of.

Annalisa Merrilees BA (HONS) PAINTING 34811 Painting is a deeply personal experience. The intimacy between an artist and the canvas are a rare moment that, to some, will never be understood. My paintings capture the viewer’s attention, and for a moment, give them a glimpse into my frame of mind while making the work. The paintings are very much about touch. Delicately painted over a long period of time, the work appears at first to be mechanically made but reveals it to be the product of a careful hand. My process derives from an interest in the mental limits of the body and the subsequent physical effects. There is a visible struggle between control and chaos, which comes from my monomaniacal tendencies. Each piece has a set of routines that must be followed and completed in as close to one sitting as possible. The use of a random number generator to allocate colours to the base grid allows the painting to begin its life illogically. By removing myself from this responsibility, it initiates a dialogue and set of problems, which I then respond to. The random and deliberate actions come together to create a sufficient formal balance within the work.

Cal Docherty

BA (HONS) COMMUNICATION DESIGN How Design Is Used to Influence Behaviour in the Future By questioning the ugly and difficult truths of our everyday lives, my studio practice explores how design distorts human perceptions and how we can make better decisions in society. I use sport as a specific topic, but influenced by political and social issues, I aim to challenge perceptions of our everyday lives and question the authenticity of our choices and activities. My project items, demonstrate and comment on the fall of authentic experiences within sport. It predicts what may become of our lives if we make the wrong decisions. These are warnings, but with the hope that it can change the perceptions of the audience to make better and informed decisions for a better world. Art and Design is a strong tool for expressing personal emotions and views. I believe in reinventing traditions and perceptions. If we don’t challenge that, then nothing will change. We are all individuals and I believe that expressing individualistic values creatively can be a positive and progressive force that gives opportunities to re-shape our current world.

Elliott Cookson BA (HONS) PAINTING Nightdress The questioning of authenticity is a crucial element that has evolved though out my practice. This is explored through depicting resemblances of the real, blurring the lines between reality and the artificial. Alluding to a range of various subject matter, the works are drawn from both first and second-hand photography, with a high percentage of imagery sourced from personal family archives. I am interested in an exploration of the past and the subject of nostalgia, therefore the images I selected are those that provide a sense of familiarity yet are complex to unfold. My work ranges from the everyday scenes to still-life imagery and figurative aspects, all of which tease out a sentimental glimpse of life.

Elsbeth Morrison

BA (HONS) CONTEMPORARY ART PRACTICE Confronting the Corporeal Euphemised, distasteful, feared: death is inevitable yet somehow we’ve distanced ourselves from its processes to the point of denial. Working primarily with the moving image, my work seeks to challenge our relationship to the macabre, by prompting confrontations with the corporeal. Pairing the versatility and richness of film with vivid, textured soundscapes, I aim to submerge the viewer in an unnerving and intimate environment. This creates a space to examine and reconsider attitudes towards the macabre, enabling us to confront and communicate our fears, and normalise the inevitable. Drawing on themes of the morbid, grotesque and uncanny, this series of films confronts the visceral aspects of decay, and evokes the unnerving tensions underlying our confrontations with the body and death. Frequently drawing upon the material aspects of living and decomposing flesh, and juxtaposing high contrast black and white footage with intense colour, these films encourage an exploration of our discomfort with the natural processes of decay. Although separate works, each film’s relationship to one another becomes integral to the body of work as a whole, encouraging you to consider and embrace the impermanence of the body, and of life itself.

Jasmin Ramirez

BA (HONS) FASHION AND TEXTILE DESIGN Interior/Exterior My collection is inspired by elements of interior and exterior design in Modern Architecture along with the influence of the Japanese clothing Kimono. I designed my garments using shapes in modern architecture including the dome. The resulting sculptural shapes and silhouette forms provides the work with a very minimal and sleek structure. However, as well as using pleating techniques and gathering details to interpret interior designs, such as stairs, corners, floor maps and wood panels, it becomes abstract and more eye catching. Its inspiring to think that a garment such as, the Kimono, can fit any shape and size, therefore I designed my collection with the practicality of the Kimono’s silhouette in mind where as well as the aspect of flatterring the body, it also fits the body perfectly by using strings and ties.

Kitty Lambton BA (HONS) FASHION AND TEXTILE DESIGN Seeing Sense The things we see routinely are often the ones that go unnoticed. We casually engage with objects in their normal environments without giving them a second glance. “Seeing Sense” looks closely at a range of everyday subject matter, from the contents of a fruit bowl to the intertwining network of pipes found in a tenement stairwell. Close examination of the ordinary allowed me to tease out the normally overlooked beauty in the detail of the objects that populate our busy lives. At this stage my main developmental tool was collage, which allowed me to experiment with form, colour and texture before transferring this abstracted information on to screen. With the use of flock, foils and other sensory printing methods, many of my samples contain elements of tactility. It’s these little snippets of textural interest which I feel best reflect my personal visual language.

Laura Ukstina

BA (HONS) FASHION AND TEXTILE DESIGN From Memphis to Lego A fascination with the primary colouration, shapes and structures of Lego blocks has been the inspiration for my collection of multimedia fabrications, exploring knit, laser cut vinyl and paper constructed textiles. Lego’s system of colourful interlocking plastic blocks has inspired my knitted garment collection of interchangeable and modular shapes to customise each garment to personal specifications.

Nadia Hatni

BA (HONS) COMMUNICATION DESIGN Storytelling Through Vision and Sound My work tends to gravitate around storytelling through vision and sound. Combining still photography and moving image to create multi-layered collage-like narratives has become my main method of working. I aim to create something that might cause a viewer to pause and see, instead of just scrolling past. I enjoy exploring dierent ways of editing in various applications to build interesting visuals and atmospheres, while using audio to support the imagery. I am constantly looking for new inspiration and ideas to develop my own work and skills further.

Phoebe Banks

BA (HONS) CONTEMPORARY ART PRACTICE PolystyRoom Such a large proportion of life is dedicated to rationality, there is so little time for exploring the illogical or ridiculous. Art is the place to delve into these areas, with no pressures to be sensible or reasonable, or even to be interesting. This freedom to venture into the playful has allowed me to follow and exaggerate ideas that may otherwise be seen as inane. In this case – create a family of polystyrene objects. These objects, which started merely as experiments in materiality, have developed over the past few months, and friendships based on mutual awareness have been formed. They have tentatively ventured outwith their natural habitat of the art school, forming into unassuming individuals and questioning the relationship between the art sphere and normality. These objects are to be interacted and played with. They are not things to be cautious of due to preconceived ideas of what it means to be a bit of polystyrene.

Yasmin Moore-Milne


Where to Go When You Want to Leave Town? Painting has a way of embellishing reality and turning a moment into something beautifully poetic and dreamlike. These are qualities, which i aspire to achieve within my own paintings. The work is influenced by small observations, fleeting and obsessive thoughts that i feel all deserve a new presence or sense of importance as a painting. I assemble spaces, influenced by a mixture of abstraction and figuration, which often feature flattened or enhanced perspectives. My oil paintings tend to be created from delicate drawings, therefore, many of the oil paintings share a similarly light and fragile aesthetic. This painting called ‘ personal space’ captures a couple who are both enjoying their time together whilst also very much in their own head space. It was their romantic yet very authentic attitude towards one another which really interested me.

Profile for The Robert Gordon University

RGU Art & Heritage Awards 2018  

RGU Art & Heritage Award Winners 2018

RGU Art & Heritage Awards 2018  

RGU Art & Heritage Award Winners 2018


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