Benjamin Smithers Architecture

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|  achievements and awards

AIA Henry Adams Medal for top GAUD student 2021.  M.Arch Distinction (GPA 3.95)

Shortlisted | BeeBreeders Iceland Cave Tower international competition

Finalist | Non Architecture ‘Reviving Mines’ international competition

Honorable mention, Pratt Institute School of Architecture Climate Crisis Prize and Post-Anthropocene Prize
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Awaiting the next violent refuse

Architecture in the age of the Great Acceleration | re-using old mines | Shandong, China

This project was also a finalist in the Non Architecture Reviving Mines competition
Pratt GAUD Studio 05 | Professor Ferda Kolatan | Teaching Assitant Angela Huang | with Luz Wallace |
This project speculates on the architecture of an existing mine abandoned once exhausted. Through this speculation we explore the nature of architecture, and of nature itself, in the age of the Great Acceleration; beginning in the second half of the 20th century, when humans’ impact on the planet increased in extent, magnitude and reach. It is no longer credible to say there is any part of the globe that humankind has not altered in some significant way; everything has become architecture.
This should alter our conception of nature. We cannot maintain the premise that we are separate from nature, looking on as mere observers of an untouched wonder, nor can it be seen as an outside resource for our exploitation.
As an alternative, the studio explored how architecture can engage with a new kind of nature, edited and altered by humankind, but nevertheless engaging with and encouraging critique of our previous ideas of nature. In this way, architecture can help contribute to a desire to acknowledge and engage with this new reality.
The project itself focussed on understanding the rich qualities that already exist in the site we hybridized from real abandoned mine conditions. It sought to express the material qualities and agency of the existing condition and to explore the full extent of strange conditions produced by the architecture of the anthropocene, above ground and underground.