Author: Stephen Oldham -
Sam Bunn, Yee Wei Gan, Tom Lowe, Yuchen Mei, Stephen Oldham and Hugh Pearce are final year students of the Masters of Architecture course and were recently invited to Split, Croatia, to present their first semester design project.
The first semester design project for the final year of the MArch course involves producing urban design proposals for a city of the students’ choice. Cities studied this year ranged from Fez in Morocco to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Working in groups of six, students spent a week in October visiting their cities to explore and gather information about its urban planning and local culture. For us, this meant visiting Croatia’s second largest city: Split.
During our time in Split, in order to gain insights into the city we met with local architects, professors and students from Split University’s Architecture Department as well as the city’s development agency. Once back in Bath we continued to communicate with the contacts we had made throughout the project. After completing the design project at the end of semester 1, we sent through copies of our final report. The City Development Agency and Mayor of Split seemed sufficiently impressed with the work to invite our group and Prof. Alex Wright to return to Split to present the project.
At the start of April we arrived in Split to give two presentations. The first was a public forum arranged by the city’s Development Agency, held in a showroom currently exhibiting a master plan for Split financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The audience included city officials as well as the general public with a question and answer session following our presentation. Not only was it the first time any of us had presented at a public forum, but it was also our first time to experience simultaneous translation.
The second presentation was given to final year undergraduate students from the University of Split’s architecture department. The presentation was followed by discussions with the students on a range of topics, from the issues facing Split to the role young architects can play in shaping our cities.
In addition to delivering the presentations, it was also exciting for us to see coverage of our work in local newspapers and social media, and that our project had clearly captured the imagination of local people. We all valued the experience of revisiting the subject of our design project and engaging with the local community. We were able to see the real world value of the work produced while at University and hope to continue our links with the City of Split and its University.