Architecture students at the new GAU American University on New Dover Road in Canterbury has just had an end of term show of their work, with plans and models. Provost Dr. Linda Keen said it was a very good demonstration of the very high quality of education that the students had in their four months here.

Work on display included models, CAD plans and sketches from all the students. Scale models included the GAU building near the Cinema and Aldi site, a clinic at Kingsmead, and futuristic proposals for houses and terrace cafes. Above the models were plans to show their IT and draughting skills, essential for any architect. Sketches of old buildings in Canterbury showed the students' ability to communicate ideas to site, and laptops with displays and interiors completed the show.

Design lecturer Massimo Mozzati said that the students had come a long way in their short time here. Trips around the city and to notable buildings in Kent (eg Pugin's home in Ramsgate) had helped motivate them to give their best. By studying old buildings closely, by drawing them, had given students both sketching skills to communicate ideas, and a thorough grounding in UK and European architectural history.

Canterbury is a great city to study architecture in, said Mr Mozzati. It has so many old buildings from so many periods, we can study the past 1200 years of architecture on our doorstep, which few other cities can offer. In addition, Canterbury is world famous as a centre of religion and study, and it makes an ideal location for architects to learn their craft in.

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Technology lecturer and structural engineer Nick Fawcett said that Canterbury provided a perfect place for students to study the materials and methods to build buildings properly, and what makes a city a popular place to shop and do business. The fact that so many people come to Canterbury each day showed how successful the conservation and restoration of the city was.

With a wide variety of old buildings, partly due to a law in 1200 after a fire that all houses here had to be built of brick and tile, with no thatch, the city has survived untouched till 1942. Much is still left for architects to study and learn from. Though a modern office block in London and a Tudor house may not seem complementary, both have a frame for the structure and a cheaper infilling for walls, with a chimney or lift shaft as a structural core. Wooden Elizabethan houses were the fore-runners of our sky-scrapers!

Whilst people in East Kent may accept an old city as a shopping centre, by having so many preserved, restored and converted buildings, Canterbury is a museum of good architectural practice. Students coming to GAU can have an experience available in few other cities.

Many of the students have now returned home to Turkey and Cyprus at the end of term. GAU has students from 10 countries, and some are studying full time in Canterbury, others come from partnering universities for a term in England. Studying at GAU gives students the opportunity to see England, London and parts of Europe from a base conveniently near Dover and the Tunnel. As the students have courses to complete, they all return home at the end of their UK stay.

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