Student Awards Reflections: Do something that inspires you! – Marianne Partyka, winner in 2011

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In the lead up to The A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture 2017  we got in touch with previous years’ winners to see what they were up to now, and what difference winning the award had made to their architectural career to date.

First up is Marianne Partyka (then Keating) who, together with Cara Shields, won the 2011 A&DS Urban Design Award and the A&DS Award for Sustainability. They studied at the University of Strathclyde and their award-winning project was Stabilising the Delta, Bangladesh.

Where are you now and what are you currently working on?

Marianne Partyka: I have been working at Page\Park Architects in Glasgow for the last 4 ½ years. I’m currently the Project Architect on a new Architecture and Built Environment facility for Northumbria University in Newcastle. The project comprises the refurbishment and extension of a Grade II Listed building to provide a new centralised home and much needed studio space. I also worked on the Saunders Centre which won the Doolan Prize last year.

How did you feel about winning a student award for architecture, and can you describe the winning project? 

It was a fantastic feeling winning two A&DS awards.  It felt like all the hard work that went into the project had finally paid off.

Through the redesigning of a rural community, the project concentrated on forming solutions to combat the immediate impact of flooding in Bangladesh on the physical and social fabric and the exorbitant growth in population and resulting density.

In its initial stage the project takes the form of a refuge, training and research centre, designed to strengthen the resilience of the community.  The design utilises local natural materials in a way that is practical, durable and inexpensive.

Long term, in response to the growing population, the project’s location encourages centralised growth preventing rural sprawl, preserving essential agricultural land and thus promoting inevitable urbanisation.

What impact do you feel winning the award has had on your career?

Before joining Page\Park, I spent one year living and working in rural Bangladesh. This period of experience was directly related to my Masters project that outlined a feasibility study for a community centre in an urban slum in a town in North-West Bangladesh.

Following the completion of my Masters project, I embarked on a journey that was challenging both personally and professionally. I successfully raised £7,000 for the project, following which I travelled to Bangladesh to manage the building works, handing over the completed Jorgen Babu Mart Community Centre to the local community in December 2013.

Without the affirmation of bodies like RIAS/A&DS I would never have had the courage to go ahead and make the project a reality.

Reflecting back – what advice would you give to the students entering this and coming years’ awards?

Do something that inspires you as you never know where it might lead.

Image: submitted as part of the A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture in 2011. Credit: Marianne Keating and Cara Shields.

The A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture 2017 take place on 13 July 2017 at Café Camino, Edinburgh. Find out more and book your free tickets here.

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