6 July 2016

SSoA student Paul Bailey wins the inaugural Bryan Jefferson Prize for Excellence

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The first recipient of the Bryan Jefferson Prize for Excellence in Architecture has been awarded to 5th year student at the Sheffield School of Architecture, Paul Bailey, for his final year project, The Counterculture Centre.

Following the death of Bryan Jefferson CB CBE PPRIBA in 2014, we have worked with the School to establish a prize in Bryan’s name. As an alumnus of the School, and, in later years, a visiting professor, Bryan cared deeply about architectural education and the Sheffield School of Architecture.

Fig. 1 A Civic Landmark - Celebrating Hull's Past whilst Protecting Its Future | Fig. 2 Facilitating Counterculture - Contrasting Architectural Typologies

MArch Director, Leo Care, commented:

"As a School of Architecture, we are very much embedded in our city. Therefore, the prize is particularly poignant as our students can see the ongoing legacy of Bryan’s work around them and aspire to creating architecture that has such a lasting positive influence on people and place.

In its inaugural year, we have awarded the Bryan Jefferson prize to Paul Bailey. Paul has been outstanding in his MArch, across the board. His project the ‘Counterculture Centre’ challenges the notion of top-down governance, and offers a new constitution for groups on the fringes of society. This thesis is manifest in a building that is provocative and beguiling, but also challenges the status quo in terms of its programme and procurement. Paul’s innovative and questioning approach is one that I hope that Bryan Jefferson would have had a natural affinity with."

Fig. 3 A Catalyst for Creativity - Circulation Routes Animate the Central Crucible

Fig. 4 A Place for Critical Reflection - Engaging with a Process of Cutural Enlightenment

Paul writes:

"The thesis project looks at a counterculture manifesto to establish a new identity for Hull. Situated on the East Bank of the River, it offers a creative approach to flooding; de-canalising the river on one side to create a flood basin, at the heart of which sits the project: a free space for creatives and start-up businesses to converge with radical thinkers and researchers.

Hull is suffering from an identity crisis with it ranked the second worst place to live in the UK last year. This, combined with Hull’s City Plan key theme to become a top visitor destination, defined a critical context and argues current initiatives such as the City of Culture aren’t going far enough.

A new future is imagined for Hull, celebrating its history of rebellion, defining a counterculture manifesto, founded on the philosophy that for real, positive change we must challenge the way we live now to become truly sustainable.

Doing things differently is the catalyst for innovation.

The architecture focuses on the creation of a civic icon, comprised of three clear structural languages. The Counterculture Centre will promote alternative forms of learning, thinking, creating, entertaining and debating to engage in a critical dialogue with both British and International Culture. It looks to a none-end state architecture that can initiate events eventually being adapted and appended by its empowered citizenry."

Fig. 5 Counterculture Event - Creativity Borne from Offering Freespace

Fig. 6 Creating Freespace - Reactivating Underutilised Space | Fig. 7 Building Anatomy - Revealing the Spatial Sequence

“It means a great deal to be the first person awarded the Bryan Jefferson Prize for Excellence in Architecture. I am honoured to win the prize in memory of one of Sheffield School of Architecture’s most influential alumnus. Jefferson’s celebration of concrete brutalism is something I admire greatly; showcased through the listed landmark that is Sheffield’s Moore Street Substation. I would like to think my final project is inspired by such a masterful use of concrete construction to celebrate a building’s relationship to place.”

Paul spent his Erasmus exchange at the Oslo School of Architecture and plans to use his £500 prize money to return to Scandinavia and explore opportunities in architecture. Looking forward to the future, he will be moving to London to complete his Part III studies.

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