30 June 2021
Final-year Architecture student Sam reflects on the highlights of working in a team, to design and construct a pavilion structure on campus.
With the recent addition of a third pavilion to the set outside Marconi building, now seems like a perfect time to write about my experiences being involved in the first pavilion project at ARU. I hope that the last three years of ARU Architecture students have had the same enjoyable experience I did and I hope this is a tradition that continues long after I have graduated.
During term-time, we started the design process of the project. After a lot of sculpture and conceptual design work focussing on light and the shadows the structure would cast, we placed a focus on the flow of the structure.
We wanted to avoid any projects that looked static and this was what led to most designs being portal frames instead of traditional enclosure pavilions more similar to a gazebo.
The design process was a fun one; the whole project was completed in a large group of around ten students. It was a very visual and artistic pursuit to begin with which was then contrasted with the research into construction techniques and materiality, site surveying and the level of thinking which goes into erecting a project even on this small scale. It was great to get the opportunity to experience all the different aspects of the design process.
The process ended with a final presentation day where we had the opportunity to show our designs to a guest from TRADA who chose two of our designs to bring forward with the possibility of being made! This was excellent experience presenting to an industry professional and a really exciting project.
The designs then went through further meetings with a multi-disciplinary group of students and staff, with engineers and technicians supporting the architects. These meetings were a great opportunity to get an understanding of the details required to take a conceptual design to a live project. It was very eye-opening to see and something I never expected to do until I worked in practice after I graduated.
The meetings felt like a team of equals you always felt involved and never talked down to or left to watch. It was really great for my skills development and confidence.
Construction then began and it was hands on and got everyone involved – long days of gluing, hammering and moving materials eventually produced our concept into the pavilion, something all Chelmsford students are familiar with!
Being involved in this project is something I am hugely proud of and I am really pleased how all three projects have turned out since. It’s a lot of fun and I learnt so much from this one project alone and in my first year, so is definitely something I would recommend to anyone considering studying Architecture at ARU.
Here we are building the first pavilion:
Here are all three pavilions now complete: