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Architecture for Everyone - Waste of Space, United Kingdom

Wednesday 04 Mar 2009
 

Harvard chance for UK youths

 
Copyright Grant Smith 
 
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Editorial

Stephen Lawrence Trust and RMJM offer chance of a lifetime to British youths 

RMJM have launched a UK national design competition in honour of murdered black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, offering the winner an all expenses paid trip to study architecture at Harvard University, USA. Politicians and celebrities - including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Dame Kelly Holmes, David Lammy MP, broadcaster Jon Snow and UK Apprentice winner Tim Campbell – have expressed their support for the scheme, which offers 18-25 year olds from a socially excluded or Black and minority ethnic background the chance of a lifetime.

Personalities joined Doreen Lawrence OBE, whose son’s death prompted the landmark Macpherson report ten years ago, to launch the ‘Waste of Space’ design competition, which is backed by a £1m package of support from RMJM. Participants must have the vision to radically transform a ‘waste of space’ in their local area for the benefit of the community. The most promising contestant will win an all expenses paid, six week trip to study an architecture course at Harvard University, USA, this summer.

The competition forms part of the ‘Architecture for Everyone’ campaign, a creative collaboration between RMJM and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. RMJM’s Chief Executive Peter Morrison has been publicly outspoken in claiming that the architectural profession is similar to an “old boy’s club”, since it is dominated by white middle class men. The campaign was inspired by the memory of Stephen Lawrence, murdered 15 years ago, who wanted to become an architect.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently pledged his support for ‘Architecture for Everyone’, saying, “A diverse workforce leads to a rich vibrant society, and I welcome the efforts of all those involved to effect change within the field of architecture and urban design.”

Two winners of the Waste of Space competition will join ten other emerging young talents identified through a series of design workshops which will be held for young people in some of the most deprived inner city areas, at a final to be held in London in May. Six will then be chosen to take part in an all expenses paid architectural foundation course at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Workshops will be held in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow, kicking off on 7 April at the Richmix in East London.

Peter Morrison, CEO of RMJM said, “Youngsters from socially excluded groups and black and ethnic minority backgrounds typically consider architecture to be an unattainable profession, yet it is these people who are in the best position to help us transform inner cities from the inside out.

“The launch of the Waste of Space design competition and the wider ‘Architecture for Everyone’ workshop programme marks an exciting moment for us. We’re now looking forward to uncovering talented and aspiring architects across the country and providing them with a unique opportunity to engage with an industry they may otherwise have felt excluded from.”

Young people aged 18-25 who would like to take part in ‘Waste of Space’ or express interest in attending a workshop in London, Birmingham, Liverpool or Glasgow should visit: www.architectureforeveryone.org.uk for further information.

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WAN Editorial

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