East London academics scoop second prize at an international competition

17:40 13 January 2014

The entry from the team at the University of East London

The entry from the team at the University of East London


Staff from the University of East London have won second prize at an international architecture contest.

Academics Gilles Retsin and IsaÏe Bloch have won 2nd prize with their entry described as ‘an especially creative and rooted response’.

The lecturers from UEL’s School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering (ACE) entered the Ghost Town Challenge focused on Karosta, a former Soviet military town in Latvia.

They were asked to present a vision for a multi-purpose cultural centre which would act as both a community hub and tourist attraction. The design had to acknowledge the unique urban context provided by the town’s history yet help revitalise the area itself.

Karosta translates as War Port. It was used as a closed secret military town for the Russian Empire and later for the Soviet military. As Latvia regained its independence in 1990 the military left, resulting in the population of Karosta dropping dramatically and many abandoned buildings - including a church, prison and homing pigeons station - falling into disrepair.

Gilles and IsaÏe’s vision combined heavy concrete with lighter gilded elements to integrate materials from both the Soviet-era construction and the Russian-Empire 17th Century style Orthodox Church in a controlled, fragmented way that recalls deconstructivist design methods. Their entry was deemed to ‘flip the city centre inside-out’ and illustrated ‘a radical, symbolic monument that re-imagines the coastal concrete bunker’.


Latest Newham News Stories

42 minutes ago

The mum of a talented martial artist who was shot dead has thanked the community, including those who donated money towards his funeral, for their support.

Brampton Manor Academy

More than 2,000 children and families enjoyed an afternoon of dance, music and BMX performances at the Green Street Festival.


This year’s Thames Gateway Business Awards ceremony, the highlight of the business calendar throughout east London and Essex, is taking place tonight.


Two children were rushed to hospital with their grandma following a hit and run collision yesterday afternoon.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Read more

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Read more

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now