Derby graduates receive top national awards for architectural designs for the city

Two University of Derby graduates have been named among the winners in a prestigious national architectural technology competition which celebrates innovative building design by students.Karaan Sabherwal was the overall winner of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists’ AT Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Technology (Project).

His design for a mixed-use building, comprising office space, restaurant and leisure units, was focused on maximising wellbeing and the availability of green space in Derby city centre.

Not only did it incorporate cutting-edge technical features to achieve that, but the competition judges agreed that Karaan’s use of fractal geometry and contemporary materials still successfully complemented the distinctive Victorian architectural heritage of the site in the Sadler Square redevelopment area.

Karaan’s design brief explained: “The journey through the building’s green spaces rewards the occupant by increasing in appeal as they progress to the terminus, a rooftop biophilic space (using natural features, such as plants) with views over the civic space below.

“The civic space itself is designed in accordance with biophilic design principles to create a mentally and physically restorative environment that is a safe and inclusive space for people to connect with each other and nature.”

Karaan, 35, previously worked in banking before deciding to change careers and studying BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology and Practice at Derby. He now works for Derbyshire firm Swain Architecture, where he also spent his placement year during his degree.Karaan said: “The recognition of winning the award was great, but it belies all the hard work and extra time the lecturers at the University put into us, the students, creating a challenging but rewarding learning journey. The award is very much a reflection of the strength of the department.”

Underlining that point was the commendation in the same category of the awards for Reece Scattergood, who, like Karaan, graduated from Derby in the summer, having completed his Architectural Technology and Practice BSc.

Using simple construction methods integrated with modern technology, he designed a fully sustainable development, with a large bio-diverse area where nature and wildlife can develop within the Cathedral Quarter.

Reece, 22, who now works for another Derbyshire practice, Grey Richards Trowell (GRT) Architecture in Wirksworth, said: “It has been a great achievement to be commended in the AT Student Awards and have my work recognised by chartered professionals. I feel this is a great opportunity to continue pursuing my career within architectural technology, and with continued development to become chartered in the future.”

The University of Derby is recognised as a Centre of Excellence by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), and Valeria Carnevale, Programme Leader in Architectural Technology at the University, said she was “overwhelmed and very proud” of Karaan and Reece’s success.She explained: “We work closely with employers to ensure that our students clearly understand the needs of industry and stay at the forefront of developments in thinking and practice, keeping pace with the rapid changes within architecture and our cities, as well as addressing issues such as individual wellbeing and climate change.”