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Reaching the firmament

Words:
Eleanor Young

Rising stars celebrate their moment in the sun

So the stage was set. Unlike many awards ceremonies this was a winners’ party. Lost was the unbearable tension, the knife edge of winning or losing. Instead a sense of barely contained celebration filled the space.

The inaugural cohort of the RIBA Journal’s Rising Stars, in association with Origin, had come together in a studio space alongside the dark dock walls of Wapping in East London. Each Rising Star had their supporters, nominators, referees, partners, there was even a parent. Hosting the awards the RIBA Journal’s Eleanor Young laid out how great work by design professionals could often remain hidden especially when many were progressing through larger firms as well as having the option of setting up on their own. Here both types of achievers were represented and around them each group talked among themselves.

Then, as partner and sponsor Ben Brocklesby of Origin presented them with a nominal bottle of fizz, the Rising Stars emerged, glowing, just a little, at the pleasure of recognition. 

  • RIBAJ Rising Stars 2012 with the RIBA Journal's Hugh Pearman and Eleanor Young sitting far left in front of Roger Hawkins, plus Ben Brocklesby from Origin far right.
    RIBAJ Rising Stars 2012 with the RIBA Journal's Hugh Pearman and Eleanor Young sitting far left in front of Roger Hawkins, plus Ben Brocklesby from Origin far right. Credit: Duncan Smith
  • And 'mortar boards' into the air.
    And 'mortar boards' into the air. Credit: Duncan Smith
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In the second half of the evening Roger Hawkins of Hawkins\Brown took to the stage to talk about his own career and some of the lessons he had learnt along the way. The talk came truly to life when the questions started, with chairman and editor Hugh Pearman hopping on and off the stage with great energy and the microphone to reach eager questioners. We learnt about plans and impetuosity, and the simple question of the great mistake was answered with alarming honesty as Hawkins admitted to swerving the seemingly radical recommendations of a colleague some time back. ‘Be ambitious,’ he urged the Rising Stars.

And then the finale. A group shot. As the Rising Stars gathered they found common threads, issues, problems, camaraderie, the start of friendships maybe. Lined up for the shot they posed properly before general agreement that the animation of the event needed an outlet - a moment of throwing up those imaginary mortar boards to the ceiling as they ‘graduated’.

Congratulations again to RIBAJ Rising Stars 2016: Ed Dale-Harris, Dan and Max Zielinski , Brendan Sexton , Shireen Hamdan, Philip Graham, Alex Scott-Whitby, Bethan Knights, Rhys Jones, Tszwai So, Steven Kennedy, Charlotte Knight and Eliot Postma.


 

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