Greater than the sum of parts!

A social event organised by Reading University Architecture Society (RUAS), the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Student Partners and staff ally Dr Carolina Vasilikou (SBE co-director of EDI) took place on the 13th of February on the London Road Campus.

The 1:1 scale-making event aimed to explore how we can celebrate diverse student voices in collaborative practices by creating experimental bamboo conversions that accentuated the architecture of the Old Library Building. Participants included students across the three years of the BSc Architecture programme. More than 25 students showed up to discover the use of the bamboo material, collaborative practices and their creativity through the design-by-making process. The bamboo system and 3D-printed connectors used were based on an explorative design of the School’s AAMAT 2021-22 MArch students Torin Kenny and Luke Collison (with support from Dr John Harding).

Students reused the modular system for the Social Making event. Materials included standardised bamboo strips (400mm) and 3D-printed plastic node connectors which allowed for flexible and unlimited options of shapes to be created. The event started with a demo by the RUAS and EDI Student Partners to the participants of how the system works and the possibilities of shapes that can be imagined. In the first part, students worked in small groups or on their own to create structures that framed / highlighted / accentuated a certain architectural element of the Architecture building (windows, columns, staircases, sequential route). After short presentations of each explorative structure, participants self-organised to bring smaller structures together, collaborate across groups and expand their structures to create a sculpture greater than the sum of its parts.

The final structures ranged from architectural to more playful subjects. By the end of the day, the student came as one group to connect all the pieces together and make a larger more intricate and more complex sculpture. Parts of the creations remain in the foyer of the architecture building to inspire other students to explore the model-making process.


Co-authored by Sudra Al-Sharaa, Tomi Falayajo, Marcelina Marszalek. Supported by Dr  Carolina Vasilikou, Senior Lecturer MSA (previously University of Reading SBE co-director of Equity Diversity & Inclusion)

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