Charlotte Peters participated in the Prince's Foundation Summer School in 2016. We catch up with her to discuss what appealed to her about the course, its highlights, and why she’s passionate about traditional architecture:
I participated in the Summer School whilst I was completing my MArch Architecture course at Kingston University. I applied because I was preparing to write my dissertation, which was based around the history of traditional building techniques and materials in the UK and knew that this opportunity would provide invaluable insight regarding the topic. Having worked on design projects inspired by Unesco World Heritage sites and designing within conservation areas, I was very conscious of the significance of the historical environment and the loss of heritage involving traditional crafts over the years.
What were the highlights?
The first week in London was quite a relaxing experience for me, as we participated in life drawing, geometry lessons and walking tours to sketch the local architecture. I found it incredibly interesting to learn and understand the principles of geometry that have heavily influenced architecture and its evolution. We also visited the BRE Centre in Watford where the Prince’s Natural House is located. I was impressed with the traditional design that was accomplished using natural materials and was inspired to write about it as a case study for my dissertation.
We then went to Scotland, where we had hands-on tutorials with craft professionals in the fields of stone masonry, pargetting, lime plastering, carpentry and thatching. This was not something that I had done before, however it helped me to grasp the time, care and skill that is required to carry out craft work on a larger scale. The final week was spent in teams, designing a band stand that was to be built on the estate at Dumfries house at a later date. After having gained inspiration from the previous live build projects on the estate, the combination of ideas from crafts people and designers made the competition thoroughly interesting and fun.
What will you take away from your time with us?
I had an amazing time throughout the course and was able to meet a lot of new people from varying backgrounds and work fields. Not only did this course allow me to gather vital information for my dissertation, but it also helped to affirm my interest in regeneration architecture, whilst giving me the confidence to pursue this further.
Why would you recommend the programme?
As an architect, I feel that there is often a disjointed relationship between designers and construction specialists. The hands on nature of the course and all of its elements helps both parties to empathise with each other and share relative experiences. I now have a more in-depth acuity of the field that I want to build a career in and the craft history that has shaped the built environment in the UK.