Alumnus Oliver Andrew on his international award

Oliver was very proactive throughout his degree - keen to establish his name within the industry, and involved himself with projects alongside his course. He found that support from his tutors helped secure interviews but knew it was important to gain as much exposure as possible.

Whilst browsing online, he came across the Fentress Global Challenge. The international competition was advertised to architecture and engineering students, requiring applicants to submit their vision for the Airport of the Future.

International award winner

Out of the 200 submissions, Oliver's concept of LDN Delta Airport was selected as the award-winning design. The airport has been designed as a number of prefabricated, mass-produced islands situated in the Thames Estuary, downstream from London. To help relieve the airport from overcrowding, it would only be accessible via public transport, have no check-in desks and costs will be kept low by sending flight information directly to passenger's phones. The designs of the planes themselves were based on the Concorde, a keen interest of Oliver's from a young age.

The judging panel described his plans for LDN Delta as 'futuristic and environmentally sustainable' and praised his 'creative approach, response to site, sustainability and functionality.' In winning the competition Oliver received a £3,000 cash bonus and a five-week placement at Fentress Architects in Denver, Colorado with first class BA flights. His concept was also featured in American Institute of Architects magazine (AIA), and Oliver received a personalised letter from Boris Johnson.

As a global leader in airport architecture, Fentress boasts a portfolio including Los Angeles Airport's new terminal and Denver International, the second largest in the world at a staggering 53 square miles. The competition aimed to encourage the very best up and coming architects to apply innovative thinking to the fast-expanding aviation industry and, hopefully, usher in a new golden age of iconic airport design that simultaneously looks back at the glamour of the Jet Age and ahead to the economic and environmental challenges of the future.

Oliver was able to work on completing the new terminal at LA airport during his placement, and also worked on some conceptual designs. He got the chance to experience a number of other projects the firm worked on.

Now for the future

Oliver says he wants to own his own firm, an objective he believes "will come in time." In the meantime, he is looking forward to becoming a fully qualified architect this October.

"When LSBU took me on, they took a bit of a chance. I didn't have the best grades but I did have a natural passion/talent for architecture, art and design. Now I have a great opportunity to use that passion to try to make a difference to people's lives through design." Oliver has returned to LSBU a number of times since graduating to lecture current students, answer any questions and act as a guest mentor to critique students work. "I always mention to my tutors that I would always be happy to come back to LSBU to help out where I can."

Since graduating with us Oliver has gone on to graduate with a Master's in Architecture and now works at Grimshaw Architects. He's also recently been commissioned for his first built project. 

"I'm working on some very exciting cutting edge projects involving future sustainable energy technology.  I had the pleasure last week of presenting my first project to Sir Nicolas Grimshaw and it was a truly inspiring moment. He's one of the fathers of the high tech movement within architecture, and someone I really admired while studying."

Read more about studying BA (Hons) Architecture at LSBU.


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