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Stage 1 Coordinator: Professor Gerald Adler

Stage One is where new students from all backgrounds and from all provenances meet to begin their studies in architecture. It’s a veritable melting pot, and a place to learn new skills and hone old ones. The Covid pandemic doesn’t seem that long ago, though, and students who might have experienced a number of school years in relative isolation rose to the challenge of the studio culture that we take such a pride in. Designing buildings and framing the built environment is a collective and social matter, with input from individuals with distinct and varied skills. 


Both major teaching terms of autumn and spring had their design modules balanced by ones in culture and technology & environment. By the end of summer term students had begun to understand the equilibrium between these three broad areas of study, and the results are there to be seen in the overarching Folio module that spans the entire year.  


The design projects grew in scale and scope as the year progressed. We began with proposals to exhibit somewhere within the Marlowe building a small object each student had brought from home. We progressed onto a lookout tower at the centre of the University campus, with views out onto the natural and built environment changing with altitude and direction, an exercise in staircase design, certainly, but much more as well. The culminating design project of the autumn term was to give temporary accommodation to a small group of visiting academics in one of the University’s disciplines, on a site within perhaps the most striking of our colleges, Darwin. This raised questions of client and user identity, as well as initial studies of site planning. 


The spring term project moved beyond the academy to focus on the seaside town of Ramsgate and its community of keep-fitters. FitCliff had as its site a cliff-face as meeting point between the upper town and the lower harbour, and the scheme had to accommodate at least two activities, archery and rock-climbing, chosen for their emphasis on the horizontal and the vertical respectively.  


Spring 2023 saw the revival of the pre-Covid field trip, with Paris quickly reached by Eurostar. We were lucky indeed with the weather, and had our days packed with a vast range of buildings, cityscapes, artefacts and artworks, from the medieval period to the present day. And we even managed to return with the same number of students we left with, despite the best endeavours of the Paris metro! 


I hope you enjoy seeing the work Stage One students have produced, and I wish them well and look forward to seeing them back in School after the summer break. 


I’d like to thank all the lecturers and tutors who contributed to make the class of ’23 such an enjoyable success: 

Anske Bax, Colin Cresser, Giacomo Damiani, Stephanie Elward, Howard Griffin, Rebecca Hobbs, Lee Jesson, Nikos Karydis, Victoria Lourenço, Tim Meacham, Edward Pryke, Fiona Raley, Jef Smith, Kevin Smith, Richard Watkins, Ron Yee and Chloe Young, in addition to the behind-the-scenes support of our colleagues in the Division, in particular to Neil Evans, Brian Wood and the rest of the team in  Tech Support, and to Claire James in Finance. 


Special thanks to Ivan del Renzio of Del Renzio & Del Renzio Architects, Ramsgate for his kind help in all things pertaining to the town and to Shirley Appleby of the Ramsgate Sea Cadets for giving us such a warm welcome at the ‘Ice House’ – the site for our FitCliff project. 

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