Graduate’s final year architecture project awarded top prize

Claudia Johnson

Claudia Johnson (Architecture 2021) has been awarded the RIBA East Midlands Student Award 2021 at Part 1.

The alumna’s final year project, Inundation to Fabrication, explores methods of flood and drought management in Rwanda, using locally sourced materials and weaving techniques. RIBA said the project “clearly demonstrated its sustainability credentials, with this approach literally woven in from start to finish.” One of the judges said: “the project stayed in the heart as well as the mind.”

Claudia describes her project as being “inspired by the power the arts have in weaving communities together.”

She said: “Inundation to Fabrication is a project that looks to maximise natural systems to manufacture both sugarcane and its biproducts, such as textiles. Based in Rwanda, Kigali the problem space outlines a variety of issues within the city’s environment, economy, and community; namely flooding and drought, sugarcane farming, and social tensions."

“The project looks to resolve these issues through the development of a micro-sponge city; home to sugarcane processing and water tower production units to export to communities living in drought. Using weaving as a key concept, the architecture looks to act as a series of filters that guides water away from sugarcane cropland and safely through the valley found at the site.”

In addition to her RIBA award, Claudia has also previously been the recipient of several other awards and nominations. These include Best Visualisation from Franklin Ellis Architects, The LRSA Award from the Leicestershire and Rutland Society of Architects for the most developed project that showed a strong, cohesive narrative and imagery, and a nomination for the Sustainability AJ Student Prize.

Discover more about the RIBA Student Award.