On the occasion of the annual President’s Medals 2015, Benjamin Ferns of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, received the SOM Foundation Traveling Fellowship. The award is given to a student who has completed the Part 2 Course of Study at a school of architecture in the United Kingdom. Benjamin received the award for his thesis project, “The Pontifical Academy of Sciences.”
“The Pontifical Academy of Sciences” was established in Rome in 1603, with Galileo as chair. In his thesis, Benjamin has proposed that the academy be relocated to the City of London, to provide a new education system to tackle the Square Mile’s lack of moral purpose. The Academy, as proposed by Benjamin, is a monochrome mass of libraries and ritualistic lecture spaces set in a landscape to induce wandering, meeting and reflection. The use of a monochrome palette within the academy increases capacity in the area of the human brain responsible for learning and perception. Although allegorical to the Vatican, the proposal goes beyond a religious or scientific typology and deliberately refuses an immediate reading.
In continuing his interest in Italian post-war architecture and the Italian Baroque, Benjamin will use the fellowship to travel to Italy to investigate the emerging narrative of a moral education.
Originally from Stoke on Trent – UK, Benjamin is currently employed at Hopkins Architects in London, where he previously completed his Part 1 year out. Benjamin’s professional aspirations include to eventually design a monumental ruin that harmonises the old and the new.