Date of release: Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Grunewald's AthenaeumA vision of the future, with paper rendered obsolete, has won one of the most prestigious awards in architectural education for a University of Greenwich graduate.

Razna Begum won the Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing for her project Grunewald's Athenaeum at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President’s Medals Student Awards.

“The project is set 250 years in the future, in Berlin's Grunewald Forest, at a site where the Berlin British School currently stands,” says Razna, who has just graduated with first class honours in Architecture.

“The digital age has deemed the paper book unnecessary, the art of paper making, lost with it. An excavation uncovers a book, discovered in the forest by Wilhelm, a descendant of the famous folklorist Franz Xaver Schönwerth, a collector of fairytales around the same time as the Grimm Brothers.

“Further books are uncovered. Each found sealed in a plastic bag, some of which had been severely damaged. Wilhelm endeavours to salvage and preserve the books which remain, to reconnect people with the paper book. The scheme develops hugely and dominates the landscape with a vast library and a workshop, where visitors can collect pulp from the paper marsh, make the paper and then hang to dry.

“During the last two years of my studies at Greenwich, I noticed a real difference in me. I had become increasingly passionate about my course – my tutors’ influence and guidance were invaluable.” 

Professor Neil Spiller, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor in the university’s Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Humanities, adds: “This is a wonderful achievement by Razna and richly deserved. Great credit also goes to her tutors, Pascal Bronner and Caroline Rabourdin. This award is recognition of the successes we have made in raising standards and the profile of our programmes.”

The RIBA President's Medals are regarded as the most prestigious student awards in architectural education. They are awarded annually to students nominated by approximately 300 schools of architecture worldwide.

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Picture: Scene from Grunewald's Athenaeum;  

Story by Public Relations