Turner Contemporary, Margate

This weekend I travelled to the seaside town of Margate, Kent to visit the Turner Contemporary art gallery designed by David Chipperfield. The gallery opened in 2011 and has been criticised for being “alien, brutal and bleak.” The building cost £17.5m, and was it was hoped that it would aid the regeneration of the town.

Statement of Academic Intent 2020-21

At the start of each year of study we are asked to set out our academic intent for the year ahead:

I have always been intrigued by the history of architecture; particularly in understanding how humans have evolved over the millennia, developing both technology and design which affect the world that we experience today. 

I find it fascinating to imagine all of the structures that have been constructed, dismantled, abandoned or become forgotten. I grew up close to a village named Dunwich in Suffolk which was once the largest port on the East Coast, until the sea eroded the entire town away and the fabric was lost forever. 

Dunwich, Suffolk

Living and working in Colchester today, I am aware of the rich Roman history of the town which seemingly passes many people by in their day-to-day life. There are many historic buildings and sites that could tell the story of the town’s past. 

During my first year of study, I am eager to understand the factors that contribute to architecture that endures; why some places/buildings last, but others do not. I wish to explore the idea of architecture/place through time, this could focus on architecture that survives to some extent as ruins, or merely as locations on a map, could include ‘lost’ spaces or could focus on the idea of overlooking something that has been lost. 

Using this as the ‘cultural’ thread through my studies, from a technical perspective I aim explore the life cycle of architecture, be it through material selection, creating adaptable architecture for a range of uses (present and future), and reimagining ‘lost’ spaces to minimise adverse affects on the environment. 

Alongside the above, I have other academic goals which can be categorised into the four subject areas as follows: 


  • Take full advantage of the creative freedom and expression with my learning. Try the things that scare me. 
  • Develop a range of architectural representation techniques to convey my work to a high standard. 
  • Develop schemes that respond to site topography and context while creating their own identity and place.
  • Deepen my understanding of architectural theory and make the connection to contemporary architecture. • Further develop my understanding of the political, social and economic influences on architecture. 


  • ‘Sustainable’ has become a cliché. How can contemporary architecture revolutionise what it means to be ‘sustainable’? 
  • Explore ways in which sustainability can become fully integrated, rather than treated as an ‘add-on.’
  • Research the impact that choice of materials has on sustainability.


  • Develop my understanding of Management, Practice and Law, including the influence of industry standards.
  • Increase knowledge of RIBA Stages 4 and beyond, as day-to-day I work primarily in Stages 1-3. 

And so it begins…

I’ve gone through the course reading list (all 12 pages of it!) and ordered a few books to start prepping for the P3 Professional Studies exam which is on the 9th May 2020. I’m starting early to get ahead; having gone through the past exam questions provided by Brookes, it’s clear that it’s going to be a case of learn it myself first and then revise. We’ve been given five broad subject areas but no key topics to focus on so I’m going to try to identify what I’m likely to be asked and make revision notes. I definitely want to pass first time round so that I’m not retaking it in October, when I’ll undoubtedly be focusing on D4.

15 weeks and counting…

Contemporary Building Review

A House for Essex by FAT Architecture and Grayson Perry, 2015

A House For Essex is a purpose-built holiday home which tells the story of the fictional Essex character Julie Cope. The building is the realisation of a partnership between contemporary British artist Grayson Perry and architect Charles Holland, from the now-disbanded London studio FAT Architecture. A House For Essex is situated down a private lane in the rural village of Wrabness, on the North Essex Coast. 

Blog Post #1

Welcome to my blog for documenting my research, precedents, technology and theory towards my RIBA Studio Diploma course. I have never blogged before, so hope that my page will develop with time as I learn more about using WordPress.

A little bit about me. My name is Jake Tharp, and I am currently based in Colchester, Essex. I have worked in practice for 14 months as part of a small design team working on commercial and reisdential projects. As the practice is small, it is a really hands-on position and I work across RIBA Stages 1-4. I am very excited to begin my Part 2 studies with RIBA Studio/Oxford Brookes so that I can develop my knowledge and abilities in the subject.