Travel Scholarship 2016 winner announced

15th June 2016

Sam Little from The Royal Drawing School in London to study Seljuk minarets in Iran as ADAM Architecture Travel Scholar 2016.

This year the ADAM Architecture Travel Scholarship has been awarded to Sam Little, currently a student at The Royal Drawing School, having previously completed his RIBA Part 1 in Architecture at Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University. Sam was selected after an interview with the judges – Jonathan Taylor, Undergraduate Design Studio Tutor at Kingston University and co-partner of architecture practice Smith & Taylor; Professor Lorraine Farrelly, Head of Architecture at Reading University; along with Nigel Anderson and Robbie Kerr, Directors at ADAM Architecture – from five shortlisted applicants.

Commenting on the Travel Scholarship, ADAM Architecture Director Robbie Kerr, said; “We were particularly impressed with our five shortlisted entries but Sam stood out as a worthy winner with a very interesting research topic.”

The Seljuk Minaret: Triumph of the tower

Sam will travel to Iran at the beginning of next year to study a number of the Seljuk towers and minarets that remain standing throughout the various provinces of central Iran. These minarets, built by the Seljuk Empire in the 11th and 12th Centuries AD, were originally constructed for cultural, political and infrastructural purposes. Spanning an expanse from India to Anatolia they marked out key points on the Silk Road between east and west, and were built at a volatile time in religious and sectarian history. During the Seljuk period the minaret functioned as a marker or indicator in the landscape, a role it still occupies today. It was during this time that a focus was shifted from the simple act of constructing a tower to richly elaborating on its size, form and decoration. Numerous examples of these towers dot the urban and rural interior of Iran standing for nearly 1000 years to defy the harsh conditions of tall slender masonry construction in an earthquake-prone landscape. The fact of their endurance being testament to the Seljuk builder’s highly sophisticated knowledge of refined and intricate masonry construction. Sam’s study of the minarets will include investigating the specificity to their site, individual traits and characteristics, their imaginative use of brickwork and construction. Also looking at how over time they have supported, cohered and informed the nature of buildings and people around them.

Speaking about the Scholarship, Robbie, who was appointed Director last month, said, “The Travel Scholarship has a proven track record of supporting students to pursue an interest, often outside of their studies, and in many cases their research has had a major influence on their career choices. I was awarded the ADAM Travel Scholarship in 2008, while studying at Edinburgh University. I travelled to Cuba and having returned many times over recent years, I have now forged relations with local architects, contractors and interested developers.”

The Travel Scholarship is now in its 11th year and has a successful track record of supporting students and recent graduates to travel abroad to carry out research and develop a greater understanding of architecture and urban design.