Home > Architecture & Urban Design, Graphics & Illustration, People, Things I Like... > PoohTown by Nick Elias (RIBA Silver Medal winner 2014)

PoohTown by Nick Elias (RIBA Silver Medal winner 2014)

December 14, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

3627_03164510784Last week the The Royal Institute of British Architects announced its annual prizes. The Silver Medal is awarded to the best Part 2/ Diploma student project submitted from all the University courses in the country.

This years winner is called PoohTown and is the creation of Nick Elias from University College here in London.

And before you think ergh, pooh! what a horrid name for a place to live, note the use of a capital letter. This beautifully presented and thought provoking project takes its inspiration from Winnie the Pooh and intriguingly, the negative effect that the “happy” stories had on AA Milne’s real life son, Christopher Robin.

Throw in a dash of some of the more usual architectural project generators such as the changing nature of cities (in this case Slough), the death of industry, social exclusion, the juxtaposition of the real and imagined, and the challenge of designing for the emotions, and the result is a scheme that suggests how a declining city might be able to capitalise on an imagined economy of happiness to ensure its residents live happily ever after…

Heady stuff indeed, but Nick’s ideas, drawings, imagination and impressively consistent presentational skills are more than up to the task he set himself. Be prepared for honey, subtly hidden characters from 100 Acre Wood and smiling people from a long forgotten era…

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And despite not being able to understand everything that is offered in these dense and beautiful drawings, for sheer effort alone, Nick is without doubt a worthy winner in my opinion. How I would love to have seen the originals.

One final thought. As is often the case with student architectural projects, I’m not sure exactly how this project would have been marked against the building, programme and structural requirements that my work was “back in the day”, and how much it will help him get a job designing the houses, museums and offices that architects get paid to do.

But that’s just me being cynical and negative. My guess is that with imagination and skills as evident as these, Nick will easily manage to find his way and is more than likely a name to keep an eye on, in whatever he chooses to do…

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