KPF/AF Student Travel Award 2011


Holly Hayward, graduate of The University of Brighton has been announced as the winner of this year's Student Travel Award sponsored by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF). Now in its 7th year, the award supports the industry's emerging talent by encouraging new creative thinking and engagement in international research.

Holly, who is commencing Part II level in September, won first prize for her submission ‘Cooking up the Collective', which examines the relationship between food production and consumption within urban contexts. She will receive a bursary of £1,750 to fund further research through travel to Detroit, USA and Marrakesh, Morocco, as well as a summer work placement at KPF's office in London.

Ben Reynolds, a fourth year student at The Architectural Association was awarded the second prize of £1,250 plus a work placement. His project was entitled ‘The City and the Agency of Architecture'. His proposed travel location is Beijing and Tianjin, China, where he will study the effects of increased land privatisation within rapidly shifting rural-to-urban environments.

This year's jury included KPF Principals John Bushell and Mustafa Chehabeddine; Russell Craig, Public Sector Manager at Cisco Systems; James Sellar, CEO of Sellar Properties and Sarah Ichioka, Director, The Architecture Foundation - along with Nandi Han, 2010 1st place winner of the award.


Both students were asked to produce a short report summarising their travels, objectives and conclusions:

Holly Hayward

A healthy diet and access to fresh food has been a main obstacle to social progress in the city. The journey of food into the city has become almost entirely anonymous; one rarely witnesses the process that makes this everyday necessity of eating happen. Fast paced modern city living has seen a surge in aggressively marketed junk food served up as convenient, cheap and accessible for all.

Consuming food was once a key part of establishing and maintaining social groups within the city. However, prepackaged food and modern means of preserving it means we are no longer constrained by access to fresh food markets leaving us dependent on a handful of supermarket chains that control product, price and access to healthy foods.

The aim of the scholarship was to visit Detroit and Marrakesh to investigate their unique positions on feeding the city.

The decline of urbanity in Detroit has been well documented. With an estimated 1 in 5 houses vacant, the population continues to decrease. This has initiated the closure of large supermarket chains, producing a need to source healthy food by other means. Land vacancy has been an opportunity for urban agriculture resulting in food immediacy, providing nutrition, income and a social safety net.

The future of Detroit relies on initiatives like city farming to feed the remaining population. Conflict has strained the program, between those who do not want to see the city turned in to acres of agriculture, which, they deem is a more primitive existence, and those who believe that a rebirth via land cultivation will save what was once America’s 3rd largest city.

The challenges of maintaining a healthy diet in an age where we are conscious of our carbon footprint require us to review how we consume food in the city. Growing numbers of single occupancy dwellings mean more people are cooking and eating alone, resulting in the disengagement to the benefits of eating with others at the table, and also excessive fuel consumption for a single meal. Marrakesh offers a long established approach to resolving this. Thousands of men, women, families and tourists invade the food stalls of El Djemaa el Fna to benefit from an inexpensive and unique communal eating experience as a result of the large economies of scale.

Both Detroit and Marrakech allude to new ways of thinking about how we can consume food in our cities that are both socially engaging and energy efficient. The vision is to increase food productivity and availability in the city whilst not excluding food as the social core of our everyday lives by dining together as has been done for hundreds of years.

Ben Reynolds

My research culminates in a text that condenses the observations of a three-week trip to Beijing and Tianjin into a day-trip by bicycle from Beijing’s inner-ring road to the murky horizons of its fifth ring. The day-trip became a tour d'horizon that atomised many of my findings as it led me through historical hutongs and their contemporary idealised reincarnations; through roads as time-warps lined with vinyl banners of “idyllic” architecture wrapping their sites in waiting; through workers' quarters in vastly different realities; through danweis--or work units--that neatly compartmentalise State control into micro-societies complete with several, six-storey, Soviet-style, walk-ups neatly packaged with a general store, a bank, a police station, a school, and a hairdresser; through spaghetti intersections of ring-roads and expressways à la LA; through ABPs or “Advanced Business Parks” or people-free landscapes hemmed in by buildings as bony carcasses; through many a slender apartment tower screaming for shiny professional-grade kitchen appliances, 5-star settees and home theatres that rival the local ones; through the undergrowth of luxury gated communities--urban villages: the housing of the permanent underclasses whose precarity of work equals the precarity of their spaces; through architectural loopholes that take heed of a newly-liberalised economy and twist its backward social conditions to link old forms with new, slow forms with fast. The day-trip ends at a place undetectable on a map, but one that possesses all of the charms and paradoxes of Beijing, and whose journey to it provides a window into understanding contemporary Beijing life.

Media partner for 2011 Award: The Architect's Journal

Top Image: 2011 1st Prize Winner Holly Hayward

Bottom Image: 2011 2nd Prize Winner Ben Reynolds

Sponsored by KPF