Foster + Partners award for architect student Ioana Giurgu

Ioana Giurgiu_SMFoF

An examination into how architects can learn from the naturally occurring cleaning and restoring of salt marshes has won an award for student Ioana Giurgu.

The Architectural Association (AA) and Foster + Partners combine to select the recipient of the annual + Partners Prize, which is presented annually to the AA diploma student whose portfolio best addresses the themes of sustainability and infrastructure.

Giurgiu was awarded the 2014 prize for her project “Uncovering the factory in nature.”


This involved an exploration of a Mediterranean salt marsh, which is being rescued from its current polluted state.

It looks towards a new understanding of nature rather than attempting to emulate it exactly, the project focuses on understanding the potential uses of naturally occurring processes.

The study examines the way in which the marsh performs the role of a factory, as natural actions suggest potential new ways of architectural construction.

 Armstrong Yakubu of Foster + Partners said: “Although Ioana has explored the typology of the salt marsh for the purposes of this study, her approach has wider applicability for a range of ecological sites – this is one of the aspects that most impressed the jury panel.

“There are many examples of architecture replicating natural growth patterns or utilising the inherent efficiency of natural forms. However, the idea that natural processes can be understood and potentially utilised in an industrial base is an interesting way of creating a new, more harmonious model of production.”

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