Dan Gill - BA(Hons) Interior & Spatial Design
My Final Major Project involves the conversion of a derelict arcade on the South coast of the Isle of Wight into a climate museum and community hub.
A rise in global temperatures has resulted in glaciers melting, sea levels rising and rates of coastal erosion increasing. I wanted to create a building that would contribute to the protection and preservation of coastal communities, making tourists more aware that our coastal towns are more than just annual holiday destinations, but people’s livelihoods and home.
In addition, the building also doubles as a community hub during the ‘off-peak’ tourist seasons. I wanted the space to be a hive of activity all-year round that wasn’t solely aimed at tourists, but a ‘gift’ to the town.
What was your inspiration?
Having visited the site myself over a number of years, I have experienced first-hand how much of an issue coastal erosion is, with houses and roads frequently being lost. I was determined to make people more aware of how fragile our coastlines currently are, and how this fragility could be amplified in the future.
In addition, the town was also established in the Victorian era, with the site formerly being home to a pavilion, constructed in 1896. I wanted the site to reflect some of its lost Victorian heritage, whilst serving a contemporary audience.
Explain what made you pick Buckinghamshire New University to study?
I won’t lie, it’s so I could commute. After leaving school I was unsure whether I wanted to launch straight into a career or study for a few more years. Commuting felt like a middle-ground. It’s also great being so close to London and going on various site / studio visits.
Tell us about your ‘best bits’ at BNU?
The course is better than I could have imagined. I really do feel like I have covered every base when it comes to Spatial Design. The people and studio atmosphere have also been amazing.
What have you found most challenging during your studies?
Trusting the process has been a challenge. Sometimes it can be easy to expect too much too soon, particularly within design. The degree is three years long for a reason and although it might not seem like it at first, you will look back and be amazed at how much you have developed your skills and progressed.
What has been the most surprising part of your course?
Again, how good the people and studio atmosphere have been. I have received so much support and encouragement. The tutors are also ‘practicing’ alongside teaching, so you always get a ‘real-world’ insight into your projects.
How do you think BNU has prepared you for the world of work?
Yes, partaking in a ‘professional practice’ module means you graduate with all the resources needed for employment (including self-employment).
What would you say to someone thinking of doing their degree at BNU and why?
As a fairly introverted person, you couldn’t be more apprehensive than I was! Trust me when I say it’s nothing to worry about. Every person (student or staff) I have met has been really friendly and supportive. I’m not going to tell you to study at BNU because everyone is different, but if you are interested in studying a design-related degree I would urge you to apply or at least book an open-day. The university if full of amazing, often underrated courses that I believe are some of the best of its kind.
What’s the dream after Uni?
I want to contribute to the protection and preservation of the environment. I’m not sure where exactly that will take me, but it seems to be my driving factor. Through ‘green-washing’, large companies are getting away with too much. Climate needs to start being prioritised over capital gain. We are mentally and physically reliant on nature but are quickly getting rid of it!