Nikola Yanev

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Year 2 has posed many challenges that even seemed insurmountable at times, but it has most of all taught me to persevere. The incredible amount of work that we were to produce definitely pushed my time management skills to the limit and taught me how to think and work strategically – what types of drawings and information I need to gather about an extended site and a programme in order to creatively respond to it.

All three projects have developed my understanding of how the context of each site can be celebrated and can inform certain characteristics of my design. Moreover, I have acquired specific knowledge about the design of a small-scale artist’s studio, a theatre and a housing development through rigorous iterations in order to achieve a desired result. The use of hand-drawn techniques was extremely beneficial to the development of each project because it taught me that I need to consider every little detail by drawing it out first. Something that might go unnoticed were I to use only computer aided design. The best results yielded through such iterations can be seen in the symbiosis of hand-drawn and computer-render techniques as expressed in P3 and I hope that here you can see my gradual development from just finishing Year 1 to a confident architecture student ready to embark on the his final year of the degree.

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P1: A Printmaker’s Studio:

Being the first project of the year, P1 was a predominantly prencil-drawn and challenged us to design
a small-scale building in a rural environment. The main aspects that needed thorough consideration
were the response to a wider context and the specific programme along with an informed view on
technology and a strong theoretical position.

My specific brief was to design a printmaker’s studio in a site located in Padley Gorge, in the Peak District.
Main space requirements:
     Evenly lit drawing spaces for 3 individual printmakers.
     A shared printwork studio to accommodate all the required equipment.
     Archive storage for etching plates, inks, papers and other consumables.
     A shared admin space.
     Public Gallery and coffee stop for 10 people with views into the studio. 
     A small boot and wash room.
     ‘Off-grid’ solution to heat, power, waste.             


P2: A Community Theatre:

The second project of the year encouraged us to put forward a design proposal for
a small community theatre in one of three neighbourhoods in Sheffield.

My site was in Sharrow, so it was paramount to understand the sublteties of the context
from the initial neighbourhood study in order to develop a strong response to the brief.

It was essential to consider two main elements of the theatre – front of house and back stage.
They would facilitate the operation of the performance space by providing rehearsal and
live performance spaces of theatre productions, along with minor set construction and
other technical requirements, and would also ensure the theatre’s strong link
with the community and the wider context.

P3: Housing Development:

Being the only project in Semester 2, P3 allowed me to explore the notion of dwelling
and being part of a wider community through the design of a housing development.
It was required that it could accommodate a mixture of families with children and
other domestic groups. We were also encouraged to develop a position on the idea of
‘shared space’ as well as to consider how our proposal addresses the street. 

Situated in the suburb of Heeley in Sheffield, we needed to unpick the various layers
of the neighbourhood. This initial base information was gathered through two sub-projects.
They allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the site, and housing precedents in the UK.
All this informed my own manifesto about what kind of development the site and
the neighbourhood need.