Welcome to OPEN 2023, and to our celebration of our students’ work from the past year. We hope you will enjoy the range and inventiveness of the projects on show, and that, exploring the studios and the various courses, you will pick up the creative serendipity that characterises the day-to-day life of the School. As is now our practice, you can move between the physical exhibition and its digital twin https://openwestminster.london to look at individual student work in more detail; and through this online platform, we are delighted to be able to share our students’ work with a global audience.
The School is committed to its Polytechnic inheritance, and its aim remains to offer ‘a transformative higher education for all’. We view the diversity of our students drawn from across London and the world as key to our success, and we see difference, and a mix of experiences and views, as critical to our exploration of architecture and place. The impact of our student-staff initiatives, such as our Equity Forum and climate action taskforce, ArCCAT, can be seen increasingly in how the School’s projects contribute to meeting our societal and planetary challenges. We embed London practitioners in our core teaching teams to keep us alive to the dynamism of contemporary practice, and continue to develop cross-disciplinary collaborations, such as with Imperial College Medical School and Westminster Council, and our Live Design Practice – currently on show at Cody Dock. That, in turn, our students are so valued by practices is hugely gratifying.
2022-23 has been quite a year for the School. Highs have included an RIBA Visiting Board in November that gave a ringing endorsement to all our validated Part 1, 2 and 3 architecture programmes, a hugely positive assessment of the School’s research in the Research Excellence Framework REF, hosting the Shape to Fabrication conference, as well as our colleague Peter Barber being elected RA and awarded the Soane Medal. We thanked long-standing colleagues Bill Erickson, Christine Wall, Kester Rattenbury, and Roudaina Alkhani who retired after having given so much to the School and to the disciplines of architecture and planning. And we grieved the sudden death of our colleague Benson Lau, Reader, and founding course leader of our BSc Architecture & Environmental Design. He and his contribution are much missed.
OPEN 2023 is only a reality because of the endeavour of many. Our thanks go to our campus team led by Amaniel Gebreyesus, Kow Abadoo, and Chris Meloy for their help mounting the show. François Girardin, David Scott and the Fabrication Laboratory staff who helped build the physical and curate the digital exhibition. Mirna Pedalo who curates our http://www.openstudiowestminster.org and social media. Clare Hamman who designed and produced the catalogue and film. Daniel Scroggins who organised (seemingly) everything. And thanks to all our students and the staff.
Please enjoy the show.
Head, School of Architecture + Cities