School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

News Item

Mohini Tahalooa and Naomi White have been nominated for the Architects' Journal Student Prize 2019

The annual AJ Student Prize shortlist provides a wonderful in‑depth directory of all the UK’s RIBA-accredited architecture schools and bears testament to the hard work by architecture students across the country.

Undergraduate nominee - Mohini Tahalooa

Mohini Tahalooa

Project title A Space of Exchange: Making a Home for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic LGBTQ+ Community of Manchester

Project description This project explores the urban and architectural ‘futures’ of inner-city Manchester, taking a critical stance toward techniques of urban regeneration that prioritise market-led, neoliberal economic agendas. Sited in the vicinity of Canal Street, the symbolic home of the city’s LGBTQ+ community, it is also an area identified as a ‘strategic’ development opportunity. In response to developing alternative futures for Manchester, the project explores questions of identity, place and ethnicity, specifically addressing the marginalisation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic members of the LGBTQ+ community. Occupying an undervalued ‘back-of-house’ site and reusing a derelict existing building, it proposes a sequence of spaces that aim to support, nurture and celebrate inclusivity and diversity, including a multi-faith prayer room, counselling facilities, a space for exhibition and events, a small library, and spaces dedicated to wellbeing and mindfulness.

Tutor citation ‘Mohini’s project demonstrates a sympathetic and original response to a sensitive and often overlooked subject matter within the UK architecture profession. As a member of the BAME community, Mohini developed a clear and rigorous ethical position as a designer, articulating her work using a strong foundation of existing research on the racialisation of Manchester’s “gay village” and by liaising closely with local LGBTQ+ rights groups, including Proud Trust.’ Kieran Connolly 


Postgraduate - Naomi White

Naomi White

Project title The Safe Haven: a Viennese safe house for Balkan children rescued from human trafficking

Project description Austria plays an unfortunate role in European trafficking through being a bottleneck for the transportation and destination of victims. Given Austria has no safe houses for children under 12, the project proposes to create a safe house which accommodates trafficked children.

It is proposed that children should be adopted into the scheme and not returned to their often-unsafe homes. Given their bad experience with adults, the focus of the scheme is building new healthy relationships between children and grown-ups. One way of carrying this through is bringing the adults architecturally down to the children’s scale in order to engage with them on their level. The project discusses the issue of creating a design which is socially sustainable and integrated with the community. Given the trafficked children originate primarily from Bulgaria, there arose a clear need for striking a fine balance in integration in the cultures and aesthetics of Bulgaria and Vienna.

Tutor citation ‘Naomi exceeded the brief’s expectations in delivering a sensitive project, with a beautifully developed narrative around nurturing vulnerable children trafficked from the Balkans into Western Europe using Vienna as a gateway. It is exquisitely represented, and it offers a combination of playfulness and worthiness, alternating different scales of enquiry with rigour.’ Ivan Marquez-Munoz

Full Architect's Journal article

published on: 31 July 2019