UWE + CSA – Studio 5 (2019/2020)
The second successive collaborative learning programme took place between the students of CSA and their counterparts from the UWE who travelled halfway across the globe to join us here in Sri Lanka. This academic program involved the participation of 10 students from the UK participating in the first leg of a short but immersive exchange program that facilitated not just the sharing of ideas, methodologies, practices and styles but a unique cultural exchange that can only be possible through intermingling both groups to tackle a common challenge. Tackling a design project in a series of joint group workshops and several presentations resulted in numerous creative urban design solutions for the historic city of Kandy.
It was a thoroughly entertaining and insightful exchange for both parties; for the UWE students to experience a culture different but also occasionally similar to their own, and for the students of CSA who got the opportunity to act as tour guides and were offered a glimpse of the familiar scenes and settings from the perspective of a tourist with the added scope of them being architecture students.
This exchange was the highlight of the study year and both parties were able to pick each other's brains and identify how our different perceptions and experiences can help shape solutions that are out of our common frame of reference. We shared not only just knowledge but several laughs, memories and adventures. It was rewarding to create networks with students from the UK that establish friendships that went beyond the academic learning objective of this project.
The second leg of this exchange saw ten of our very own students travel to the UWE to enjoy a similar collaborative experience. The challenge presented to us was to propose an innovative addition to the local church that served as a community centre for a plethora of different ethnicities and groups and we were able to work together to create five possible creative solutions.
With our new friends in the UK we were also able to experience life in the university as well as explore the city of Bristol and our students engaged in sightseeing, touring, rock climbing, sporting, shopping and even a spot of laser tag in between trying out the local cuisine with our local counterparts.
It was undoubtedly an interesting and one of a kind experience that was organized by our institute and brought into fruition by the tireless efforts of the CSA management as well as academic and administrative staff to ensure that the students from UWE had an enriching experience here but that we too had an amazing experience in England. We hope that this partnership between the two Universities will only go from strength to strength as we carry on after the pandemic.
The first ever UWE and CSA exchange program took place this year. One could even call it the Genesis Project as it would be the first of many such exchange programs to happen between the two institutions. The crux of this is not just to build a stronger bond between the two schools, but to share insight on how Architecture is taught in a global scale.
The two groups of students both in the Masters segment of their Architectural education were brought together to team up on one project. This allowed the students to not only form a relationship, but also to share knowledge. The students of CSA were introduced to a new and unconventional way of leaning. The area of study was Chilaw, and this was something so foreign to the UWE students, some of who had never travelled to a third world country before. The site and context impacted them in such a way that they carried it on as their final year project, the equivalent of CSA's seventh year CDP. The two groups played to their strengths and shared all their knowledge with each other.
Part two of this exchange program took ten lucky students from CSA across the oceans to UWE campus. Here a more hands on approach to design was introduced. The entire project was held in the wood workshop, the project was an urban installation for a travelling circus, a pop up bake sale and a pop up theatre. While we were crafting the plug ins, moveable seating , a collapsible stage and innovative display shelving the tutors would walk in and a spontaneous crit of sorts would take place. The Final crit was a performance of sorts which was not only a lot of fun it really showcased the project as everyone could see how it would function in-situ.
To sum up, the program was a huge success and the students and staff benefited immensely from this.
Tropicality is a new visiting school programme which seeks to exfoliate the seeming to expose patterns and resistance in tropical dwelling through architectural stories about home, culture and place. During the course of the two week workshop, students will make a short film as a narrative composition of images (form, space, light, colour, materiality) and sound (voice, story, city, nature). This film intended to become a unique and perceptive form of architectural construct.
Students will work alongside tutors to formulate interview questions and set out to rouse and record the stories and experiences of those who live there. Based on observations, insights and documented stories, you will then compose your own story about architecture, domesticity and place, devising a diagram and drawing as a plan of action to then record and film sound and images of people, houses, streets, neighbourhoods and the city. Editing together of the collected images and sound into film will evolve through conversation with tutors.
The purpose of this workshop as an experiment is to cultivate extraordinary design insights, hone your compositional abilities as a designer and to refresh an architectural sensitivity and sensibility to the interrelationships of material organisations, space, and human perception and reaction.