The next generation of architects and engineers are setting themselves an ambitious agenda
Clemens Schagerl comes with the potent combination of both an architecture and a civil engineering degree. His prize-winning final thesis in architecture looks at Switzerland’s glaciers and creates a dam and several mountain footpaths, raising awareness about ‘the potential impacts of transforming Alpine territory’. Would most like to work for: Christian Kerez.
From tackling glacial melting in the Swiss Alps to improving the quality of life in Brazil’s favelas, the next generation of architects and engineers are setting themselves an ambitious agenda. We pinpoint a top crop of nascent stars who are up to the job.
Writer: Ellie Stathaki
Daniel Marshall amassed a number of prizes and scholarships over the three years of his course. His thesis in particular, a housing design for a London community, won him the RIBA Eastern Region Prize. Marshall finds inspiration in the work of Richard Sennet, Raphael Moneo, Walter Benjamin, Peter Carl and Mary Ann Steane. Would most like to work for: Studio Mumbai.
Growing up in San Francisco, Chisom Ezekwo had a passion for maths and science. She completed a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, Planning and Management at the University of Southern California, followed by a Masters at Columbia University, New York, in 2014. Her work examines Brazilian favelas. ‘I would use architecture to inspire others to initiate positive changes in today’s cities and villages,’ she says. Would most like to work for: Rem Koolhaas.
Shen Chen studied architecture with a specialism in engineering, focusing on the use of bamboo. ‘As an ecologically sound and strong building material, it can be the alternative to wood,’ she says. Her final-year project revolves around the design of a temporary stadium in Amsterdam with flexible bamboo joints, and has been shortlisted for the Archiprix International prize for best graduation project worldwide.
Rodolfo Rodriguez’s final-year project, The House of Eros, looks at ‘the potential for an architectural process to nurture the perception of love’. It was showered with awards, including the Dean’s List Distinction, the school’s Medal and a scholarship to study the work of Carlo Scarpa in Italy. Rodriguez has a position lined up at Foster + Partners and hopes to become an established architect/printmaker.
The final project of Yale graduate William Sheridan elaborates on Libreville, the capital of Gabon in Africa. Through his work, Sheridan is attempting to ‘deal with Libreville’s congestion problems by re-imagining its existing taxi/taxi-bus system’. Sheridan is also currently fascinated by the work of Prussian 18th century architect and painter KF Schinkel. Would most like to work for: PV Aureli, Tod Williams & Billie Tsien, David Chipperfield, and Sauerbruch Hutton.
Graduating with a Masters degree, Jonas Lambert Johanson hadn’t thought landscape architecture would become his focus when he first started his studies. His thesis work, The Contemporary Landscape, proposes a new hiking route through Zealand combining man-made and natural landscapes. Johanson combines his academic studies with experience at several architecture practices, including landscape architects SLA in Copenhagen, where he is currently employed. Would most like to work for: Stig L Andersson, co-graduate Jonathan Meldgaard Houser and Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk.
Lea Olsson is ‘intrigued by the combination of the rational and the creative’ in architecture. Her final project looks at hospital design – the creation of a health cluster – in London. Winner of the International Velux Award for Students of Architecture and a past OMA intern, she works at Danish firm Tegnestuen Vandkunsten and is part of the Stuen collective. Would most like to work for: Arup.
Photography: Chris Turner
Michael Lim’s degree from Cambridge University was swiftly followed by work experience at prestigious offices like OMA's Hong Kong outpost and Woods Bagot, before completing his studies at the Royal College of Art. Finding inspiration in the work of his university tutors as well as comic artists, the graduate completed his course with a critical study on the creative economy. Lim currently works at London practice Matheson Whiteley, while also developing his own work. The latter includes two residential extensions, furniture design and a graphic short story.
Kosuke Hara completed his studies with a thesis focusing on the notion of ambiguity in architecture, using the Kyoto Imperial Palace as a particular case study. His influences come from a variety of architectural styles, from the Exeter Library by Louis Kahn, to Francesco Borromini’s iconic baroque masterpiece San Carlo alle Quattro Fontante. Would most like to work for: Steven Holl.
Eugenie Bliah grew up in Tokyo, and her final thesis is inspired by Japanese women. She proposes a collective dwelling for eight families, where domestic chores are shared between the inhabitants – a project that won her the AA students’ vote for Honours. Her work experience includes stints at Studio Daniel Libeskind in New York and Kengo Kuma in Paris and Tokyo. Would most like to work for: Kersten Geers David Van Severen.
Swiss architecture inspires Zurich-born Fabio Compagno; Bernath + Widmer (where he works) and Durisch + Nolli are two Swiss practices he lists as influences. His thesis, acclaimed as the best in its year, revolves around a mountain visitor hall and restaurant made of steel. ‘Developing amazing solutions for buildings makes this job special,’ he says. Would most like to work for: eventually, himself.
Maïlys Meyer's multicultural family inspired her to take on architecture as a chosen profession. 'Two passions have particularly influenced and inspired my pursuits as a designer. The first one is travelling. My second passion is music,' she says. She is currently halfway through a Masters course on landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the States. Eventually, Meyer hopes to set up her own office. Would most like to work with: Elizabeth Diller.
Turkey-born Mustafa Kustur's studies in Istanbul led him to apply for a Masters degree at Sci-Arc, which he completed with flying colours. His thesis – awarded best in his class, as well as Sci-Arc’s scholarship – creates a dialogue between architecture and contemporary culture and consumerism, looking into the typologies of the supermarket, the stock exchange, the luxury brand store and high-density housing. Would most like to work for: Rem Koolhaas and Raf Simons.
London-born Alastair Browning's thesis proposes a university campus in Turin’s Fiat Mirafiori plant site. Not content with only working on the larger scale, Browning has also tackled product design. His prefabricated oak and waterjet-cut steel table for 17 formed part of the centrepiece of 100% Design’s Paperspace display in 2013. Would most like to work for: the studio members at Unit 17 at the Bartlett.
William Hood combines early studies in politics, economics and social theory and history with an architecture degree. His thesis explores the changing relationship between technology and the natural landscape and in particular systems of navigation and communication. Having started a design studio with a friend, Hood is also looking for his next challenge at an architecture practice. Would most like to work for: Toyo Ito.
Andre Sampaio Kong's final-year project, the Hack Circus, investigates current technologies, touching upon themes of architecture, digital culture, socio-political engagement, and concerns over the climate change. Having competed his studies, Kong is now developing his first commission: a series of prefabricated accommodation units for Africa. Would most like to work for: Usman Haque.
Sophia Passberger received a Bachelors degree in architecture from the Beuth University of Applied Science in Berlin, before moving on to complete her studies with a Masters degree from the Staedelschule in Frankfurt. She is currently interested in researching on future living conditions in the world’s mega-cities; an interest also evident in her thesis, which explores issues of urban density and city living. Would most like to work for: Morphosis or Oyler Wu.
'It all started with one simple dream,' says Malaysia-born Thierry Lye what inspired him to take up architecture, 'to design and build a perfect house for my parents.' His final project, examining the relationship of architecture and politics, is currently nominated for the 2014 RIBA President’s Silver Medal Award and the international 2015 Archiprix. Would most like to work for: Rem Koolhaas.