Royal College of Art.
Edward was named joint winner of the tenth and final Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2022/23.
Edward is studying for an MA in Architecture at the Royal College of Art, London. In his studies he has consistently engaged in the manipulation of natural light within space at both urban and room scales, having had longstanding fascination with the theatrical nature of architecture. More recently his attention turned to artificial light with his project “Batteries Not Included”, a reimagination of the Blackpool Illuminations that takes an inventive and critical approach on the use of energy and lighting, generating, and storing the electricity through kinetic structures and kinetic architecture. The project underscores a serious and urgent concern for our fuel dependency and a need to fundamentally shift that relationship, with a poetic and joyous response to the cultural heritage of Blackpool through the use of light and colour.
The scholarship will be used to support Edward in starting his own spatial design practice, where he hopes to further explore design of a more provisional nature that encourages adaptation; and supports ways of behaving that are more in line with addressing the climatic situation we find ourselves in today.
Examples of Edwards’s Work
Samuel was named joint winner of the tenth and final Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2022/23.
Samuel is studying architecture at Coventry University. Passionate about light since secondary school, and a self-confessed near obsessive regarding sustainability, Samuel has a particular interest in the topic of light pollution. His work explores how, both environmentally and economically, celebrating darkness is crucial to tackling this issue, while designs that employ subtle lighting and use contrast to shape space and experience still enable us to deliver the positive emotional and social impact light can bring.
The scholarship will be used to support Samuel in his ambition to work with professionals in the industry to set up a platform that aims to educate, inspire, and motivate students, designers, and anyone that is interested in design, astronomy, and sustainability around the topic of lighting, and the benefits that designing well-lit spaces can have on our health and the planet.
University College London.
Chen Weiting is studying for his Part 2 at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Chen has been intrigued by architectural lighting since his undergraduate studies, using light in his projects as a medium to describe and express spaces that are invisible to the human eye, and exploring how light is an essential element of our spatial experience.
Jade Atkins is in her final year of her BA (Hons) Architecture degree at Northumbria University. Jade is fascinated by the way in which lighting influences our emotional and psychological responses to spaces. The Commendation award will help develop her podcast, Archipod, which facilitates honest and open conversations about sensitive topics in the industry including supporting learning difficulties in architecture and designing for a better future. It will also support her continuing education in learning about lighting design’s role in climate neutral and socially-sensitive architecture.
University of Michigan.
Jingwen Song is studying for a MSc in Digital and Material Technologies at the University of Michigan. Jingwen is a spatial/ architectural design researcher,
with academic and professional accomplishments linked to inclusive design, computation, lighting, and fabrication. She intends to use the Commendation bursary to enhance her skills and knowledge in programming and lighting design, including organizing a workshop that explores the integration of coding in lighting design to create more inclusive and accessible environments.
Ernest Chin Yang
University College London.
Ernest is currently studying architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture. He has a long-standing fascination with light, describing it as “a fundamental pillar of human experience” and the thing that “makes (or breaks) a space”. His impressive portfolio of conceptual designs and exploratory pieces include a final year project that centres on ice, investigating the dialectic relationship between light and this unique material. After graduating, Ernest plans to work for the Housing Development Board in his home country, Singapore, where he can see an opportunity to make a meaningful difference. By introducing a specific focus on lighting design to the architecture, he hopes to improve the living experience and transform the way everyday Singaporeans interact with their home and city.
The scholarship will be used to support Ernest in his final year of architectural studies, helping to pay for more extensive model making and testing of his ideas, as well as setting up a mini production studio including a 3D printer for rapid prototyping. Many of Ernest’s projects are documented in film, and these can be viewed at www.ernchy.com/work.
London Metropolitan University.
Laura was named joint winner of the eighth annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2020/21.
Currently studying architecture at London Metropolitan University, Laura has a first degree from Politecnico of Milano, following which she spent one year working as an architectural assistant. Having understood very well the power of light to affect aesthetics and atmosphere, during the course of her research she found herself increasingly curious about the importance of the biological and emotional impacts – on people’s moods, performance, productivity and many other aspects of daily life, even body temperature. Her future plans, to be supported by the scholarship, include further studies and research into the role of light in creating responsive and adaptative architecture that improves emotional and physical wellbeing.
University of Cardiff.
Lawrence was named joint winner of the eighth annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2020/21.
A student of the Welsh School of Architecture at the University of Cardiff, Lawrence’s undergraduate degree work evidences his clear passion for the poetics of light and form. Having spent some time working for DaeWha Kang Design – a firm who specialise in wellbeing and human oriented design and who collaborate with professional lighting designers – he has cultivated a deep interest in the psychological effects of light. Returning to his architectural studies, Lawrence’s Masters dissertation explored how biophilic aesthetics affect emotional wellbeing. It is this research that he would like to continue into the future with the support of the scholarship, with the aim of informing his own design work and aiding the general understanding of the emotional effects of lighting within architecture.
Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
Krina was named joint winner of the seventh annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2019/20.
Krina is currently completing her second and final year of postgraduate RIBA II studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Her interest lies in how lighting can redefine spatial experience, exploring the idea that light as a building material is able to transcend an architectural space beyond its physicality. During her practical work experience with Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Krina designed a light system for a façade in Shenzhen, and also created a responsive skylight system for a technical dissertation. For her final year project, she has explored the primary role that lighting might assume in future mixed reality domestic environments, both from an immersive standpoint and as an interface. She believes that within this new paradigm, the role of light will surpass its traditional use in delivering visual comfort or mood creation and become an essential cognitive tool for perceiving and navigating space. Krina plans to use the scholarship to further develop her thinking and research in this emerging field, using it to fund a 1:1 experimental model of the future home where she can explore the role of lighting in a physical environment that is overlaid with multiple virtual ones through emerging augmented and virtual reality technologies.
Stella Destephanis Murray
Penn State University.
Stella was named joint winner of the seventh annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2019/20.
Currently in the final months of studying for an MSc in Architecture at Penn State University, Stella will graduate with honours in Architecture and Architectural Engineering in May 2020. Whilst studying as an undergraduate, she interned at Buro Happold Engineering as an electrical engineer, and participated in the biennial outdoor ‘storytelling’ lighting competition, both of which influenced in her decision to pursue lighting design as profession. Her Master thesis explored the role of light in the Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul and the importance attributed to it by the Qur’an. In lighting design, Stella believes that she has found a profession that will enable her to deliver on her childhood dream to shape the world, and one that will fulfil both her creative and analytical interests. Following graduation, she plans to use the scholarship funds for three purposes: to become a WELL Accredited Professional; to attend the IALD Enlighten Europe conference; and to assist with her living expenses as an intern with the lighting design firm Horton Lees Brogden in Boston.
Meryem is currently a second-year student on an ARB prescribed BA (Hons) Interior Architecture programme at Northumbria University. During her studies she has developed a deep fascination for light as a creative tool and its effects on the perception of form, proprioception and generation of atmosphere. She plans to use the commendation bursary to further her education in lighting design.
Examples of Meryem’s Work
California Polytechnic State University.
Sydney’s work integrates elements of social justice and provocative dialogue into lighting and the built environment, seeking to understand how we can better create conditions for all people. Her thesis examines political intersections of immigration, surveillance, and urban-cultural landscapes of borders, and specifically investigates how light as an important historical, cultural, and social marker can play a significant role for social action. The commendation funding will support her continued study.
Examples of Sydney’s Work
University of Michigan.
Apoorva was named joint winner of the sixth annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2018/19.
She is in the process of completing her second Masters degree, in Architecture, Design and Health at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Having undertaken the lighting Masters program at Wismar, she further deepened her passion for lighting design with an internship at Office for Visual Interaction Inc. in New York City. Her interests lie in the psychological aspects of design, and her current research aims at a deeper understanding of proprioception (the perception of the position and movement of the human body in space), and the tacit knowledge of a space, by exploring how lighting design elements, visual aesthetics and kinesthesia affect our mental health, including mood and stress. An important aspect of her work considers how the perception of lighting might affect mental health conditions such as autism, dyslexia, schizophrenia and migraine. To culminate her thesis, Apoorva is assembling a kinetic experience space and the scholarship will be used to assist with the costs of creating this.
London Metropolitan University.
Merethe was named joint winner of the sixth annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2018/19.
Merethe is studying for a Professional Diploma in Architecture RIBA Part II at the Sir John Cass School of Architecture, London Metropolitan University. Her passion for lighting was cultivated as an intern at 31/44 Architects, working on, amongst other projects, the lighting of the Barbican Frobisher Rooms. Merethe believes nuanced lighting is critical to enabling any built environment or habited space to function comfortably and enjoyably. However, her deepest passion lies with the transformative, immersive and interactive aspects of light that enable intuitive connection and communication with people. Her final thesis project is highly topical – an installation to light an exhibition of a sperm whale skeleton, designed to educate viewers on the detrimental effects of plastic in the ocean. For the project, animated light will be used to simulate the effects of the plastics through 3D scanned environments and artefacts, creating an immersive VR environment. Sensors will respond to visitor movements with floating projections designed to increase the emotional impact on visitors. The scholarship will be used to fund this thesis project.
Queen’s University, Belfast.
Katie was named joint winner of the fifth annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2017/18.
Her passion lies in rediscovering the ‘alchemy of light’, a term she uses to describe a rich understanding of how light evokes mood and influences the experience of space – something she feels has been lost in our obsession over light levels and performance. Her exploration has involved modelling a scene from a seminal Ingmar Bergman film, in an effort to deconstruct the lighting composition, distilling the relationships that produce the mies-en-scene and give the film such character. She has studied the work of James Turrell and Luis Barragán and the way in which they carefully control light and use it to manage the effect of a space on people. Her final thesis concerns the design of a music school centred on light, landscape and views, sited on the north coast of Ireland where the light is grey and even.
Katie plans to use her scholarship to help with the costs of completing her Masters, and in particular to create the models necessary to portray her ideas of the project.
Azadeh Omidfar Sawyer
University of Michigan.
Azadeh was named joint winner of the fifth annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2017/18.
She has a focus on architecture that is highly integrative in design and performance, and her studies focus on how we can improve our approach to daylighting design, to balance occupant comfort and interest with sustainability concerns. Her Masters thesis was completed at Harvard University, using advanced modelling technologies to create integrated ornamental façade designs that increase indoor daylighting. Her techniques showed a 35% reduction in energy use compared to ASHRAE standards, and her paper won the Daniel L. Shodek Award for Technology and Sustainability at the GSD. For her doctoral work, Azadeh’s perspective has shifted to people: exploring the relationship between the objective quantifiable characteristics of daylight and the occupant’s subjective visual impressions.
Azadeh plans to use the scholarship to travel to visit the buildings she has modelled as part of her work, to gain further perspective in comparing the simulated results with the actual physical environments.
Royal College of Art, London.
Eleanor was named joint winner of the fourth annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2016/17.
Her passion for light stems from the belief that unique conditions of light are responsible for how we engage and experience our surroundings. Her post-graduate work explores the idea of colour perception as a consequence of light reacting to surface formation and shifts in observation. Most recently she has designed a theoretical museum in which Exhibition Road, South Kensington becomes itself the exhibit. Visitors following the trajectory of the street dwell in zones of curated light – both natural and artificial – that create a ‘flow experience’, revealing colour through architectural structure, façade materiality and lighting design.
Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
Martyna was named joint winner of the fourth annual Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2016/17.
She believes that light is both a generator of atmosphere, and highly influential to the human condition. During the course of her studies to date she has focused on the contribution of light to wellbeing and health, including a competition winning entry for the Hospital Extension in Poznan, Poland. This project maximised the use of natural light in order to improve both healing and mood, achieved by the use of light wells and a customisable light filtration system of metal shutters. Her designs also focus on unique narrative and experiential spaces. Her latest work uses light as a vector in design, via time based self-regulating light sequences that interact with form and materiality to create atmospheric moments.
University of Sheffield.
Charlotte was named the third winner of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2015/16.
The judges were impressed by the maturity and sensitivity of Charlotte’s application, which conveyed her passion for the potential within architecture and lighting to tackle large social issues such as inclusivity, crime prevention and community cohesion. As Charlotte explains: “I believe good lighting design should be accessible to all, being designed and provided for all members of society, from school children to the homeless. Each of my architecture projects at university has tackled different issues of lighting, including crime prevention and inclusion, the tyranny of commercial supermarket lighting and the role of lighting in creating spiritual environments at the end of life.”
John Roake, Chairman of the JSSF commented:
We are delighted to present the third JSSF scholarship to Charlotte Eley. We all agreed that Charlotte’s work is representative of a growing movement in the fields of architecture and lighting design, where priority is given to considering ways in which designers can help dramatically improve the lives of those who often do not have immediate access to well thought-through, practical and sustainable solutions. It was her social responsibility which shone through which we thought made her deserving of support and encouragement.
Cashel F. L. Brown
Edinburgh Napier University.
Cashel was named the second winner of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2014/15.
Chairman of the JSSF John Roake spoke on behalf of the Trustees of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund:
We are delighted to have made this second award. Whilst the selection process was every bit as demanding as our inaugural award in 2013, it was a unanimous decision to offer a scholarship to Cashel Brown. As a graduate architect who is now engaged in a postgraduate course in lighting design, Cashel absolutely represents the quality and type of student this award was originally aimed at. We have no doubt that the financial support will help him immensely as he makes his way in his chosen profession as a Lighting Designer.
Cashel Brown commented:
“I feel extremely privileged to have received the second Jonathan Speirs Scholarship, and intend to use the opportunity to fuel my passion for lighting design.”
Parsons The New School For Design.
Alex Stewart was announced the winner of the inaugural Jonathan Speirs Scholarship in 2013/14.
He comments: “The benefits since I received the scholarship have been numerous and varied. The recognition through assorted publications has provided a platform for conversation with lighting professionals, and an opportunity to engage with the profession in very unique way. The scholarship money has provided an incredible boost, not just in terms of financial loan mitigation, but also in assisting with material and model exploration. Because of this, I have been able to take on a prestigious internship without the burden of financial concern.”