Architecture students place second in national competition

Students Ian Bugarin and Joe Douglas worked on their artwork together during lockdown

Date: 13 May 2021

Architecture BA students Ian Bugarin and Joe Douglas were the second prize winners of the Reimagined Living and Working Space Competition, organised by FAT Recruitment. The national competition invited architects, designers and students to create a single artwork, in any medium, demonstrating how an everyday environment could be rethought and improved to support both living and working.

The Casa: Not a Place for Quiet Contemplation is the title of Bugarin and Douglas’ artwork. The creative duo said: "We spent lockdown living and working together in an old house in Calabria, Italy. We consider maintaining connectivity, physically and digitally, fundamental to our new ideas of living and working. 

"By virtue of our community, slowly built up over the past years, we indulged in utopic ideas, finding respite in a live/work environment in rural Italy. The fresco drawing speculates on our love for sharing an old building that facilitates work and play. 'E una citta dentro una citta,' a city within a city."

Sandra Denicke, Deputy Head of Architecture and Studio 3 tutor with Jane Mcallister, said: "Jane Mcallister and I are very proud of our students’ success, they have been competing with established architects in this competition. 

Ian and Joe were amongst ten students from Studio 3 who, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, moved to Belmonte Calabro, a small village in the South of Italy. Living and working in the village, they engaged with us in the UK through online teaching. This 'architecture student residency’' which we call Studio South, has scaled up the previous activities in Italy."

Since 2016, Architecture Studio 3 at the School of Art, Architecture and Design has been working with students on Crossing Cultures, an ongoing research project based in the small abandoned mountain village Belmonte Calabro in Southern Italy. 

The project brings depopulated Italian villages in close proximity with a growing need to integrate refugees arriving on its southern coast. The region, a frontier for asylum seekers from West Africa attempting to gain access to Europe, is also a frontier for Italians attempting to sustain their towns against the magnetic influence of the growing cities. 

The project focuses on the development of public spaces and buildings, which can enrich the everyday life of the village, steered through consultations with key players which include asylum seekers and locals. Projects developed with students are diverse and range from real events, e.g. bringing the local school children for an afternoon into the abandoned town centre and turning it into a place of memorable play and activity, to urban strategies that strengthen Belmonte’s identity and develop a new local industry for the area. 

Several cohorts have visited and engaged through regular activities with the locals, but since 2019 the workshop activities have taken a more permanent and long-lasting quality in the shape of the renovation of The Casa, a new community hub, which is represented in Ian and Joe’s fresco drawing.


The artwork created by Ian Bugarin and Joe Douglas.

The artwork created by Ian Bugarin and Joe Douglas.