Young student-architects around the world are conceiving amazing projects during their final year. Their design creations are providing ample of scope for renowned established architectural firms around the world to ponder on issues raised by these creative youngsters. Many renowned and senior architects have appreciated zerobeyond’s sincere efforts to present the younger generation with the much needed global platform to showcase their creativity, while expressing their genuine concern about human-greed crisis, popularly known as Climate Crisis.
Reflection of Textiles
The GEN Z Series travels from Greece to England to meet an amazing oung Bulgarian architect Konstantsa Kostadinova, who graduated with a 1st Class Honours’ degree in Interior Architecture & Design in July 2022 from the University of Portsmouth, England. Konstantsa reveals, “I was born and raised in Bulgaria and moved to England at the age of 8. I have been always been interested in arts and painted a lot from my early childhood. During my High School, I was focused about being an architect and interior designer.”
Introduction to Donation Station
An ambitious and enthusiastic designer by nature, Konstantsa comes across as a very articulate individual. She loves to grab the opportunities given to her with both hands. She enthuses, “I am an easy going person, who loves discovering new things and am open to the world. I enjoy travelling the world, cooking and going for walks in nature (smiles).” Johnny D talks to Konstantsa Kostadinova to explore her interesting journey in the architecture field, her views on interesting topics and final year thesis ‘A Reflection of Textiles’.
Plan – Ground Floor and Axonometric Diagram
What was your childhood ambition? Did you always wanted to become an architect?
One of my earliest memories as a child of interior architecture was when my father talked about converting our loft to a giant play area. I remember imagining the space and even trying to create a plan, even though I had no idea at the time what that was (smiles). From a young age many things influenced my passion for interior architecture, only to connect the dots in my High School years and perusing it as a career.
I come from a creative and pro-active family. I remember how I used to always express myself visually and even in my mind speak through images (smiles). My childhood home was built by my family. Throughout the construction, I saw a lot of thought, care and planning were put for our home. Architecture was my ambition. However, I like the creativity of interior design; the psychology and detail of design that influences a person’s day-to-day life. Our land is sacred and limited, which gives us a motive to think before we build.
How has architecture influenced your life as a student?
Where do I begin – Simply, diving into one’s shoes and appreciating the design details and context! It is a given that when we approach any design idea we are provided with a written brief, but to challenge yourself and think beyond words is different and interesting. I like to design with the thought of the present and future functionality, thereby creating ease for users as well as sustainability by creating a design for long term use.
Donation and Coffee Station
Furthermore, in my studies I have come to appreciate the unseen details that make a difference in space, even if it means simply the hardship of the material. Equally, it has been an eye-opening experience to see how the change of context can create changes to a design. Understanding the site, the locals and the history as we know plays a significant role.
Donation Station Frame
Please write about your University and the Course.
I studied Interior Architecture and Design at the University of Portsmouth for 3 years. Honestly, my experience was quite different from a normal student due to my case in my first year, when COVID came to surface and took away the liberty of having the full experience. As many of us were forced to switch to online studying, we missed the opportunity to focus on details that were crucial for design. However, one thing I admire about the University of Portsmouth is how smooth the transition was. Moreover, in my second year due to those circumstances, I did not go far from my comfort zone of design that is why I took a chance to experiment in my final year, whilst I had the chance to be as creative as I can be.
Textile Designers’ Workshop
Briefly describe the significance of your project.
In my final year I created a design that offers creative jobs in the textile business, which will encourage the public and professional community to incorporate recycling, re-purposing and remaking unused textiles/garments during their visit, thereby creating a sustainable and community friendly environment. The inspiration of my design comes from the idea of “threading” through the rigid existing structure and playing with shadow and light, and further developing it to colour and pattern. My thesis ‘A Reflection of Textiles’ aims to create a circular system and zero waste overall.
Section of Donation Station
Which National or International architect has inspired / influenced you? Please specify as to why?
My inspiration is not necessarily coming from a certain architect or artist. I love to keep myself open to the possibilities and allow myself to find new inspirations as I grow. However, one of my favourite architects Kengo Kuma has had a big impact in my design creations. His passion to play, engage and challenge the materials we know is powering. He respects traditions and wants to offer the world a new alternative and perspective of design.
As an Intern, what is the most important lesson(s) you have learned from senior architects, while being a part of a project?
Although my work experience did not last long, I was quite astonished with the great level of respect I have gained towards my fellow hard working senior colleagues for achieving their positions. It challenges between different industries and staying up to date with the deadlines. As simple as it may sound, the process of achieving it requires a lot of practice and hard work.
Cities are getting inundated in a massive proportion due to flawed drainage and sewage systems apart from Climate Crisis – Your views about flawed urban planning and remedies to rectify to make cities flood-proof.
I must admit that I do not have much knowledge about this topic, as it was never in my field. However, I do believe we can learn from Mother Nature. The population is ever growing and to live in harmony between nature and technology is what I believe we are all working towards. We have a lot of plastic pollution that is not being managed in the correct manner, which often ends up in drains and blocking up the flow of drainage, so perhaps zooming into the larger picture can help us change the solution. Therefore, it is crucial for us architects/designers around the world to communicate and combine our knowledge to help each other and to shape a better world for all of us.
Which significant aspects of the global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ did you like the most, and why?
I admire that ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ reaches out to designers giving them the opportunity to express themselves and showcase their creativity.
Elevation and Parabolic Pattern
Local charm of cities has diminished due to Modern Architecture as every city looks alike and similar. How should architects / urban planners / landscape architects modernize cities, while maintaining the local charm intact?
This question remains a topic I think of often. I recently visited my home country Bulgaria and noticed brand new buildings that seem to overshadow the old historical buildings. There are many beautiful examples of how buildings can be preserved with new contrasting infrastructure being injected in. Even if the buildings are not touched, taking design inspiration from the local design, small details like the form of the window, the materials, I think can harmonize both the new and the old.
Public Craft Zone
The world is ever changing, it is intertwining with different cultures and taking inspiration from a basic historic shell and creating a twist can prove effective. Colour is fantastic, but in busy cities it can be mentally draining, so that is why consideration of context is also very important.
Accessibility for All
How would you elucidate the Modern Bulgarian Architecture from the Ancient?
In Bulgaria, you will notice various beautiful architectural styles. It is common to find one street having completely different styles going across. It is, as if there is an irony within this concept, since you can find a very old house that is followed by a brand new building next door. The main significant styles are from the revival style, socialist style and modern minimalist. The revival style is typically thick stone ground floors with wooden upper floors and wooden carvings decorations. In contrast, during socialism brutalist concrete blocks were built up.
Rooftop Exhibition and Open Sit-out
In the present, we have a mixture of both. There are mass built colourful / neutral plastered blocks and wealthier new homes that replicate the form of the revival style, but in minimalistic style. Another important feature we have is large outdoor spaces or balconies. Our four-season weather allows us to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year, like gardening and preserving foods (smiles).
Honours and awards related to architecture, if any.
I was nominated to participate in the 2022 Interior Educators awards and exhibit my final year work in the Oxo Tower, London. Additionally, my project was featured in a Deezen article as part of my university course.
Moment of Pride
Image Courtesy: Konstantsa Kostadinova