A flair for smart design

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  • Azra Smith with her design for the laundromat and coffee shop combination

    Azra Smith with her design for the laundromat and coffee shop combination "Sip and Wash". Ms Smith is one of five Bermudian architectural and interior design students featured in the IBA's Student Design Showcase at the Washington Mall (Photograph by Scott Neil)

  • Bermudian architectural and design students Ayo-Oluwa Salwu, second from left, Azra Smith, and Kevin Simmons are flanked by Duncan Simons and Krystal Rodrigues of the Institute of Bermuda Architects (Photograph by Scott Neil)

    Bermudian architectural and design students Ayo-Oluwa Salwu, second from left, Azra Smith, and Kevin Simmons are flanked by Duncan Simons and Krystal Rodrigues of the Institute of Bermuda Architects (Photograph by Scott Neil)

  • Ayo-Oluwa Salawu with his design work, which is featured in the IBA's Student Design Showcase at the Washington Mall (Photograph by Scott Neil)

    Ayo-Oluwa Salawu with his design work, which is featured in the IBA's Student Design Showcase at the Washington Mall (Photograph by Scott Neil)

  • Kevin Simmons with his design work, which is featured in the IBA's Student Design Showcase at the Washington Mall (Photograph by Scott Neil)

    Kevin Simmons with his design work, which is featured in the IBA's Student Design Showcase at the Washington Mall (Photograph by Scott Neil)


Combining a laundromat with a coffee shop and making many of the internal mechanisms visible through smart design throws up many challenges.

But a young Bermudian architectural design student has shown it can be done, in theory.

It proved to be an intriguing university project for Azra Smith, 21, who is about to enter the final year of an architecture design bachelor’s degree course at Temple University, in Philadelphia.

Her laundromat and coffee shop vision is included in a showcase of work done by five Bermudian architectural and interior design students, which was unveiled last night at Washington Mall.

The show is hosted by the Institute of Bermuda Architects and is on the first floor of the mall. It is open to the public until the end of this month.

Ms Smith is a former Berkeley Institute and Bermuda College student. Before going to Temple University she had considered studying civil engineering, but decided to pursue architecture design as it was more aligned to her interests and talent.

“It fits in with the logical and creative aspects of my personality,” she said.

She came up with the concept for a combination laundromat and coffee shop after being set an assignment at university to pick two non-related environments and combine them into a single design project.

She proposed the “Sip and Wash” laundromat and coffee shop for an eco-village in East Kensington, Philadelphia.

As it was a purely hypothetical project, Ms Smith gave her imagination free rein and designed a multi-floored building where dry cleaning circulates from floor to floor before being collected at street level. The ground floor is also dominated by laundromat washing machines.

A coffee shop on the top floor delivers beverages to customers in Thermos containers that shoot through a pneumatic tube system. So there is no need to go to the top floor to collect your order.

It sounds fun and there’s more. The pneumatic delivery system’s tubing is see-through, so the delivery process can be watched. Meanwhile, exposed hot water, cold water, drain and grey water pipes are visible throughout the various mezzanines.

Grey water from the washing machines is filtered through a central “green wall”. Using perspex for the pipes and for the “green wall” means customers can watch the process as the grey water is naturally filtered to be reused in other areas of the building.

When she has completed her bachelor’s, Ms Smith intends to go on to study for a master’s in architecture and earn her architecture licence. She said she was happy to have chosen architecture design as her field of study as it fitted her strengths and interests.

In 2015, she was a joint recipient of the IBA’s Stanley G. Kennedy architectural scholarship award along with Kejon Sampson, who has now completed a master’s in architecture at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. Mr Sampson is another of the students highlighted in the design showcase at the mall.

The other students featured are Ayo-Oluwa Salawu, who is studying architecture and environmental engineering at the University of the West of England, Madeline Brash, who studied interior design at Humber College in Toronto, and Kevin Simmons, who has completed a master’s of architecture at Oxford Brookes University in England.

This is the second year that the showcase has been staged. Duncan Simons, president of the IBA, said it was an opportunity for the association to work with college students and to foster greater awareness of the profession and Bermudians who are engaged in it.

The IBA visits career fairs and schools to speak to students about the opportunities offered through design and architecture.

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Published Jun 16, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 15, 2017 at 10:45 pm)

A flair for smart design

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