On the occasion of the annual President’s Medals 2012, Rebecca Roberts of the London Metropolitan University received the SOM Foundation 2012 Travelling Fellowship Award, given to a student who has completed the RIBA Part 2 Course of study at a school of architecture in the United Kingdom. Rebecca’s winning submission for the award is entitled “Going to Town: A Gallery for Gerhard Richter in Berlin.”
As described by Ms. Roberts, ”The project exploits the potential for reuse of two existing public buildings in central Berlin, proposing a new concrete vaulted composition to envelop an 18th century baroque church and an office building with spatial disposition and character of the design derived from the interpretation of formal geometries and city typologies.” A second and parallel theme of the project focuses on the purpose of the building as a place to display art and what it means to interpret the philosophy and character of the artist. The program of the gallery is oriented around a selection of Richter’s landscape paintings, which according to the artist, were made “… to see the extent to which we still need beauty - to see whether it’s still conceivable today,”
Ms. Roberts notes that, “The influence of formal geometry, particularly the Cartesian, has been a deeply personal theme of investigation for my work throughout the years. In this project, I have finally felt the confidence to embrace my instinctual design aesthetics and discover structural opportunities using new technologies and materials.” It is from this theme that Rebecca has drawn up her travel itinerary for the next six months to visit five(5) cities with fascinating but contrasting origins, religions, ages and political history: Barcelona, Istanbul, Ephesus, Moscow and Dubai.
Originally from Mayfield in East Sussex, Rebecca now calls London home. As well as studying at the London Metropolitan University, she considers it to have been a privilege to work for Herzog & de Meuron for the last four years in both Basel and London, developing designs for the Tate Modern Extension. Rebecca hopes to continue to develop her skills in construction detailing as well as concept design, noting that, "...there is still so much to learn even though school is over!”