Inter-professional studies is a big fancy title which really means working with other students from different disciplines over three days on a short project. This usually means students from Architecture, Urban Design, Urban Planners, Landscape Architecture and Garden Design get thrown together to work in groups as a team. I am the only Garden Design student and part time so I would only be able to attend one session. This took place in from Monday 26th Jan until Wednesday 28th Jan 2015
The day did not get off to a good start. No information was sent out prior to the sessions taking place even though it was supposed to have been. So I had no idea when or where to get to although I knew what day it would be starting on and had a rough idea of where. Having nothing to go on I decided to get the train into Leeds for 10:00am and as Matt lives in Leeds and could get into university quicker he kept me informed as to what was happening. Fortunately I didn’t miss to much. I have to say it was a bit like organised chaos to begin with and it never ceases to amaze me how students get told off for turning up late or are chastised. Maybe that would not happen if information was given out prior to the event going ahead.
After being allocated to a group projects were then given out. I was in group 1 with one other Landscape student, Adam. The rest, Nils, Paul, Jack, Alex and one other who’s name I did not get chance to ask were studying architecture. The project was centered on a Leeds International Terminus for HS2 and a feasibility study for a ‘sustainable’ urban quarter and terminus. The prospect of this project did not thrill me as I do not know much about the HS2 development only what I have heard or read about in the news. Most of that seems to be about how bad it would be for everyone and everything so I tend to reject biased articles. I would have preferred to have worked on the Leeds Institute for Climate Research and Leeds Botanical Garden. But we can’t always work on the things we want in life so it was with some initial reluctance I tried to get to grips with the project.
The first thing to do was visit the visit the site of the proposed project, so we all trundled off with cameras, notepads and pens to get a feel for it and record any useful information.
After lunch we then talked through concepts for the project. Researching any material needed such as the length the platform would need to be and so on. It was interesting to work with people from different discipline’s. Each person had a different take on the project but fortunately there was no one person in the group who was to dominating or reticent. Some were easier to talk to than others but overall they were a good bunch who listened to what each other had to say and tried to develop a cohesive plan based on what was thought to be the best option overall.
After thrashing out ideas for most of the afternoon by about 5:00pm we had more or less got drawn on our base plan the elements we wanted to include in the master plan. The tutors were positive about our ideas for the space. These included shops, pick up and drop off points, tram terminus, taxis’ and all those facilities needed in a station complex. These would be situated underneath the platform as the rails would be elevated 9m. As the platform would be so long approximately 400m, entrances and exists would be at either end for ease of access. A central concourse and connections to the existing Leeds station were all important as well as including hotels and green space.
Having organised the space the station and entrance were close to the existing Leeds network and road connections with the hotels and other facilities to the right of the complex. By greening this space it provided a pleasant backdrop to the existing flats and provided a green boundary with shelter from noise and other day to day functions of the area. As I was not going to be in the following day the others divided tasks amongst themselves as can be seen by the master plan, sketches, section and site analysis. Having asked Adam for his email I promised I would upload and send the photos I took.
I spoke to Adam the following day who said they were getting on fine and on Wednesday in the afternoon I managed to have a look at the finished results which were quite impressive in such a short space of time. They had to present the work in the morning which I couldn’t be present for but I saw some of the students who told me that they had come second in the mini (sort of) competition which was pleasing. After my initial apprehension with the topic of the project I actually found it more interesting than I anticipated. I think I came to realise that it was perhaps not as difficult as it first appeared. I enjoyed working with the other students, I think in this particular group there was a certain amount of luck in having people who were enthusiastic, engaged, knowledgeable and unfazed by the technical nature of the project and that helps enormously. It can boost your own confidence and give you faith in your own abilities. It was pleasing to see they had included my suggestion of a green shelter belt for the flats and a boulevard lined with trees to the right where the hotels were to be located. Being present for only one day it was tempting to think that no-one would take any notice of what I might have suggested but this was not the case.
All in all an interesting project. It would have helped if it could have had better organisation but working with the other students was pleasantly surprising and enjoyable.