In September this year, the first ‘Waterworks’ annual AA Granada Visiting School took place in Spain’s Sierra Nevada Mountains at the Unesco Biosphere Reserve in Las Alpujarras. The two-week, experimental architecture course organised as a part of the Visiting School programme at the famous Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture, London, was a great success, selling out in its first year and featuring on national Spanish television numerous times. The programme’s aim is to transport architectural design back to its origins and tackle social-agricultural realities. Students have been designing water catchment and management solutions, responding and presenting alternatives to the existing decaying infrastructure presented in fresh water sources on mountains, from the glaciers at the top, down to the farm and user of this precious resource. The school highlights the importance of sustainable methods and innovative design solutions for water capture, storage and distribution, whilst addressing the impact of our water sources due to climate changes and how we utilise this vital fluid on a global, national, regional and local scale.
Students from a variety of professions were encouraged to register on the course, including engineers, artists, architects, scientists and horticulturalists in order to seek a dynamic and collaborative response to the brief. Through a variety of lectures, demonstrations and presentations, students were inspired to imagine, create and realise their designs whilst being immersed into hands-on experimentation of naturally, locally sourced materials such as clay and exploring the potential of leading building information modelling (BIM) technology software capabilities.
Michelmersh was student sponsor of the AA Visiting School, awarding Georgios-Ilias Wetzel-Yalelis, a Greek architectural masters graduate from Athens, a scholarship to attend the course. It was important that the students incorporated in to their designs natural, durable materials sourced from the land on site, such as clay, ensuring that their futuristic conceptual design would provide the most sustainable solutions. Students then experimented with hands on prototypes and models to explore their intervention further.
Simultaneously, Waterworks students were required to push the boundaries of BIM, designing and 3D modelling their complex geometric or parametric forms. They were exposed to a lecture about the ways Michelmersh had implemented this innovative software before the UK government mandate, and they intently watched the bimbricks animations, which explained how the manufacturer has been at the forefront of construction technology ever since.
Sarah Huelin, Granada Visiting School Director states: “We are extremely grateful to Michelmersh for its contribution to the architectural school. It has always been a forward thinking manufacturer and its involvement in furthering the education of our future designers is commendable.”
Michelmersh was excited to be involved with the Architectural Association due to the synergy of tactile learning of this natural clay material and the advanced digital modelling skills demonstrated throughout the course, to mirror its own approach and goals. The British manufacturer continues to be at the forefront of education, continuously supporting the next generation of construction industry professionals, encouraging both our future bricklayers and designers through numerous initiatives.
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