"Lines Drawn" To Wales and Back: ASN Conference 2014

By: Eve Russell (Stage 3 Architecture Student, QUB)
Students who attended lines drawn conference

Students who attended the Lines Drawn conference, during a walk through the CAT site. Photo by: Matthew Murnin (2014) 

The recent ASN (Architecture Students Network) conference took place in Wales, at CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology) in Machynlleth, Wales. The title for the discussion led by students was “Lines Drawn” a conference to debate the future of architectural education. The conference was attended by students from throughout the UK and Ireland ranging from undergraduate level right through to Part 3. The event was attended by Pamela Cole, Head of Portsmouth School of Architecture and former chair of Professional Studies Advisors in Architecture (APSAA); Oliver Wainwright, Architecture Correspondent, The Guardian; and Will Hunter, Executive Editor of the Architectural Review and Director of London School of Architecture. ​
The venue hosting the conference was unusual for many of us coming from larger UK cities; however, it opened our eyes to sustainability and the methods that can be used to utilize passive energy. It was a fitting location for a conference exploring and questioning the mainstream routes of education.
Students, deep in discussion at the reservoir.
Students, deep in discussion at the reservoir. Photo by: Matthew Murnin (2014)
Three stage 3 students from QUB received funding to represent Queen’s University and attend the conference in March, Aaron Farrell, Matthew Murnin and myself, Eve Russell. The debates were heated, passionate and lengthy and were a great opportunity for students from throughout the UK and Ireland to discuss their experiences of architectural education. We discussed the role of an architect, both in the past and the future; the importance of practice within architectural training and the structure of architectural education.
A timber construction project by students of CAT.
A timber construction project by students of CAT. Photo by: Matthew Murnin (2014)
This event was liberating for us as students, being able to freely discuss our education and its relevance to an architect’s role in society. From listening to students from other UK and Irish schools, we soon realized how well rounded an education we have been receiving at Queen’s. There are always improvements to be made, of course, but we came away in the knowledge that on the whole, architects have the ability to find a role within a changing society.
WISE (Wales Institute for Sustainable Education) building.WISE (Wales Institute for Sustainable Education) building. Photo by: Matthew Murnin (2014)
Wind Turbine at CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology).
Wind Turbine at CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology). Photo by: Eve Russell (2014)