UEL’s Sarah Jane scoops American Institute of Architects award for her wooden curved building

Sarah Jane (inset) and her wooden curved public building design

Sarah Jane (inset) and her wooden curved public building design - Credit: UEL

A post-grad architecture student at the University of East London has picked up a prestigious award for student design for her wooden curved building.

Sarah Jane Fourness won the Noel Hill Student Travel Award from the American Institute of Architects UK at their 20th annual Excellence in Design Awards Gala.

“I was happy to hear that I had won,” Sarah Jane confessed. “It was a great feeling to be recognised for the work I was doing at UEL.”

She praised her former tutors Clara Kraft and Satoshi Isono for “their dedication in teaching.”

The American Institute honours outstanding design of UK building and work by British architects.

Sarah Jane’s winning wooden curved public building incorporated much open spaces for activities like workshops and marketplaces. It came from the work she did as part of her final year project at UEL.

She built a scale model of the structure, which was one of the 10 images she submitted earlier this year.

Part of her degree involved gaining professional experience working with Metla, the Finnish forest research institute, where they proposed situating the building near Finland’s Aalto University’s School of Architecture.

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Sarah Jane took into account the relationship of the wetland area near the school and her building.

The evening also celebrated three professional winners and three honourable mentions that were selected by a jury chaired by A Eugene Kohn, who founded and is chairman of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, one of the world’s largest architecture firms. He has been awarded the Salvadori Award for Design and is a fellow of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

Sarah Jane is currently doing a Masters in architecture and will receive a grant from the American Institute where she will explore architecture in Montenegro.

The award recognised both sides of the Atlantic she sees as “a great fillip” to enable her to pursue a career in architecture.