Architecture students at the University of Westminster have been awarded more than £15,000 by corporate donors and Rawat Family at OPEN, an exhibition of students’ work.

Sparkly gold star standing on a horizontal sparkly gold line on a dark background

OPEN, the School of Architecture + Cities’ end of year degree show, had to go online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibition presented the creative work of more than 750 students, from those in their first year to those about to graduate. It reflected varied design approaches, celebrating the University’s diverse students and their place at the heart of London. 

The corporate donors, including big companies such as Foster + Partners, JCDecaux, and VOLA, sponsored different prizes for the Architecture students. 

Foster + Partners, a British architecture firm who works internationally, sponsors a prize for Technical Innovation. The undergraduate winner of the Foster + Partners prize was Thomas Hall-Thompson and the MArch prize winner was Jean-Christian Whitehouse. Talking about Whitehouse’s project, the judges said: “An incredible piece of design and technical research, where geometry and material properties are explored and experimented with in equal measure – seriously impressive work.”

JCDecaux who is the biggest outdoor advertising corporation in the world, signed the three years Gift Agreement to sponsor the award for the Designing Cities: Planning and Architecture Programme. JCDecaux awarded Marie Kaune with the First Year for Best Project prize and Saleem Samuda with the Second Year for Best Improvement award. Regarding the prizes for third year students, Hyacynth Cabiles won the Third Year for Best Dissertation and Elina Mieme won the Best Project prize. 

Speaking on her award, Mieme said: “Being able to present my work at the OPEN Exhibition was already an honour. I am very pleased that JCDeaux has appreciated my project — it has encouraged and inspired me even more to continue my academic and professional journey in the field of planning and design.”

Recipients of The Shoaib Rawat Memorial Prize, which was set up in memory of Shoaib with generous support from the Rawat family, were Alejandro Abreu Hermoso, Eleanor Riley, and Lauriane Hewes. 

VOLA UK, the University’s partner for 10 years, sponsors the VOLA Prize for Interior Architecture. Jade Litchfield won the VOLA award of Year One Best Portfolio. For Best Illustration in Any Medium, the winner was Julia Knapek, and the Learning Commitment prize went to Carla Chisari and Daniela Galhardo.

Second year awardees from VOLA were Zhiqing He for Year Two Best Portfolio, Sandra Opara for Best Model, and Zoe Onatoye for Best Individual Drawing. Daisy Day was awarded the biggest prize from VOLA for Year Three Best Portfolio. Aisha Hassan won for Innovation, and Anna Gregory won in the Best Design Report category. 

Recipients of the Technical Studies prize 2019-2020, which is supported by Bibliotheque McLean, were Jan Macbean, Adrienn ‘Dora’ Varszegi, Olga Korolkova, Abanoub Reyad, and Alejandro Abreu Hermoso. 

Professor Harry Charrington, Head of the School of Architecture + Cities at the University of Westminster, said: “Professionally sponsored prizes are greatly valued by the School of Architecture + Cities. The prizes affirm the value of our professionally-aligned education, and, above all, they show the esteem in which the remarkable creative work of our students is held by leading design practices and companies. The School is very grateful for the generosity of the companies who continue to support, and reward, our students.”

Simay Sali Sevik, Development Officer at the University of Westminster, said: "Through sponsoring a prize, organisations not only award students with grants but also help to set these students apart in today's competitive graduate market. We are grateful for our corporate and individual donors who recognise the success of our students and support them to reach their true potential."

To find out more about the University Corporate Partnerships or setting up a prize fund of your own, email the Development Team at [email protected].

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