Working with Karakusevic Carson Architects on the Meridian Water development

The challenge

Karakusevic Carson Architects were successful in its tender as part of the Meridian Water development in Enfield. Paul Karakusevic, founding partner at the architecture practice said ‘When approaching the ‘social value’ section of the Meridian water invitation to tender we could see that Enfield wanted to develop a long-term relationship with the design team that would take a longer-term view on community collaborative and inclusiveness, and with that in mind we proposed what we called a “scholarship fund’’. The practice approached the Trust to support the co-ordination and management of the fund.

What we did

We worked with the architecture team at their studio to design a diversity and inclusion programme that would have a lasting impact on local young people. The programme we developed included a studio tour, workshops, mentoring, work experience, and bursary award to support one lucky student on their journey into university.

Young people living or studying in the area were offered work experience placements and mentoring to gain a better understanding of the professional world of architecture, as well as the process involved in applying to architecture at university. We engaged with an extensive network of sixth forms and colleges across Enfield to promote the opportunities we had created. A cohort of 8 A-level students from across Enfield, all of whom were considering careers in design, architecture and engineering signed up.

Each student was paired with a mentor, to support them through the programme. The students then split into two groups to undertake a week of work experience at the design studio based in the old Biscuit Factory near Bermondsey station. During their work experience placements, the students worked on a mini brief set in the context of the project’s live site. This allowed students to incorporate their local knowledge into their design. Working alongside their mentors they experienced all elements of the design process including model making, site visits and full presentation of their work.

Students undertaking the placement programme were also able to apply for financial bursaries to aid in supporting the costs of architectural study. A-level student Naran Oyuntsetseg went on to be awarded a £6,000 bursary through the scheme to support her with her architecture studies at the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture – a huge success for the programme!

Outcomes

Paul Karkausevic told us ‘For us, this programme has been an overwhelming success and we strongly believe that programmes such as this can be emulated on all major projects in the capital!’