Aspiring architect up for national award thanks to Coventry ring road development design

Wednesday 22 August 2018

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An aspiring architect’s design for a development next to Coventry’s ring road to bring students and the community closer together has seen her nominated for a national award.

Coventry University architecture student Maria Moruz created the plans for the patch of land near the Belgrade car park for her final year project.

She wanted to design a building that could be used by students and local residents and build links between the city’s communities.

Maria, 22, was also keen to address the problem of the ring road as a barrier in the city.

Maria Moruz's design

She has now been nominated for the Architects’ Journal’s AJ Student Prize 2018 – and her work has been featured on the organisation’s website

The three-storey building she designed reaches the height of the ring road, as well as going under the highway; creating a breakthrough towards residential areas, such as Radford.

It features exhibition spaces, gaming rooms for both students and residents, restaurants, community facilities, mixed accommodation for students and residents, as well as outdoor space that could be used for public events.

Maria Moruz

It also includes a hostel, providing cheap accommodation for students and visitors to the city to stay during autumn, winter and spring, however during summer, when there are fewer students, this hostel will be changed into a nursery for local community needs.

Some parts of the building change their layout and functionality depending on the time of the year so as to benefit both the student population and local people and businesses.

As well as a nomination for the AJ Student Prize, her project also won her the Design Prize for architecture at the Coventry University degree shows earlier this year.

The winner of the Architects' Journal award will be announced at a ceremony in London in September.

Maria, who is originally from the Republic of Moldova, has secured a job as an architect for an international company in Romania, working on UK projects and will start work next month.

architecture student, said:

I think I was the happiest person in the world when I found out about this award nomination as it happened a few days away from my wedding day. It’s very exciting as I did not expect it at all.

I wanted to design a new gate for the city that would engage both students and the community, helping them to feel part of the city again. The ring road is a massive barrier, and so I designed the building to go underneath it. By creating a climbing wall, internal game rooms and a skatepark under the highway, it does not feel as much of a barrier anymore. The ring road will actually become part of the new proposed development.

I wanted the building’s uses to fluctuate depending on the season so that it would not be empty when students go home. That’s why I thought a hostel and nursery would be helpful during the summer. I wanted to make sure it had something for everyone, at anytime of the year, and it will always be something new to be discovered there, every time you come back.

I’ve really enjoyed my course – it’s been a pleasure. The knowledge of my lecturers, including Peter Kokins and Sebastian Hicks has really pushed me forward and I’m so pleased to be starting a job as an architect soon.”

Maria Moruz

Senior lecturer in architecture, said:

Maria’s project was of an extremely high quality and it’s fantastic that she has been nominated for this award.

Her project has challenged the barrier and issues created by the Coventry ring road; a dominating piece of infrastructure that many people in the city have strong views on. Maria took account not only of hypothetical scenarios but also real life issues, and conducted rigorous research and engaged directly with site-users.

Peter Kokins

For further press information, please contact the press team at Coventry University, on 02477657788 or email press.mea@coventry.ac.uk.

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