Author: Lucie Castillo-Ros -

Coming into Basil Spence, we all have expectations. Not only is it the first project to really count towards our degree, but also a project of renown: it is THE BATH PROJECT. Eight weeks later, I think I couldn’t be prouder of this group, and what we achieved. I have never felt so fulfilled by a semester spent at university.

The dream team - a tale of (un)organisation

I would definitely not describe our working method as organised. Every tutorial started with a 10 minute search for that one sketch lost under a pile of trace, and ended with a thousand scribbles to decrypt on a zoning plan. No to-do list, a google drive getting messier every week, finalfinalthatonefinal.pdf files and no crit rehearsal: that was group 19.

Despite the inorganization that was our group sometimes, I believe we found success in the cohesion of the group and the splitting of the tasks. We were lucky to all have quite similar opinions on the site and the brief, which allowed us to move forward quickly.

Someone’s idea would go through everyone’s hands, being modified and refined by each of us on different levels, so that everyone was aware of the most recent update. Through that ping-pong process, the structure and the environmental approach were integral parts of the design since the first weeks.

We have created true working bonds with our engineers. We often laughed about it when we felt uninspired, but Holly and Rory were architect number 1 and 2 at times, really helping the design to move forward through the engineering. They also really tried to make us part of their work, which was an enriching experience for me, who had always struggled with structure

Harder Times

However, I can’t say that it was always easy. We also had some harder times. I first felt very overwhelmed by the task that was proposed to us: designing a stadium, a typology that was completely alien to me, felt like an extremely complex brief. I was very relieved to have Jack and Rory in our team who had very grounded positions on stadiums through their love of rugby.

On week 5-6, we also experienced a lot of difficulties, and felt like very little progress was made. For a long time, even after the interim, our stadium had been left at the stage of a sketch because of the importance we gave to the landscape in our scheme. This led to complications when we tried to finally model it. We couldn’t make decisions and went through a lot of iterations. Nothing was really convincing enough to us: I guess we were all trying too hard. Once we dropped the pressure, and let the stadium be what just felt right, it all went better.

The joys of making

Something that truly stood out for me in this project is the model making. The making of our cast model ended up being a long process, with small test models, and hours spent in the workshop. This has been a very eye-opening time to me about the enjoyment of model making more as a process than a production, which I will make sure to apply in future projects.

After Basil Spence...

I believe in life some experiences will challenge the way you see yourself and others. Sometimes, these experiences will make you a better, more fulfilled person. Basil Spence was one of these experiences. Winning was really a surprise, to all of us. We believed in our scheme, but seeing it praised by professionals really helped us to own our work and truly be proud of it. Basil Spence taught me that the best work doesn’t come from the times of extreme hard work and pressure, but from when we are the happiest.

Posted in: Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Student projects, Undergraduate

See the design for a new south stand at Bath Recreation Ground


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