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OJ Alicia Beaumont (H ’13) has given St John’s Henry Dawes Centre a glowing write-up in a first-year architecture essay at Newcastle University. In her 1,600 word review Alicia speaks about how the School’s newest teaching building “stimulated thoughts and creative energy”, making her feel more “diligent and creative in class”.
“As I traipsed down the gradually sloping, bright white, stone-paved path… I felt as though I was being enticed into the mouth of the building” says Alicia in her essay. “It appears to have been pulled apart and split in two, creating a vast, open, central glass atrium and entrance. I was intrigued by the thought that everyone is forced to use the same entrance and exit, and experience the same space every day. I wondered whether that experience had the same impact on everyone else as it had on me.”
Alicia’s brief was to review a building that she admired and knew well: her marks count towards her first-year grade. “The system and movement through the [Henry Dawes Centre] fascinated me… Every person has their own starting point from their different houses and previous activities; and their own routes to the building along different paths, approaching it from different angles like the roots of a tree.”
St John’s Henry Dawes Centre was opened in September 2010, providing St John’s with state-of-the-art teaching space, a new library and specialist facilities for design technology, art and graphic design. Alicia’s review focused on the Sixth Form art rooms, where she spent a large amount of her time at School. “I developed very strong connections to this room and particularly to my workspace…. [it] gradually built up a story of… my work and became an extension of my identity as a sculptor. This place is where I had new revelations and where I took great steps forward... It became more than just a workspace.”
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