Student at the University of Kent complains after being given assignment to design torture implement

Architecture students at the University of Kent have been asked to design a torture device as part of their course.

But the project hit the headlines after one member of the 12 strong class complained that it made them uncomfortable.

The students’ brief was to design a 'full-scale operable torture device based on ergonomic principles’. The project briefing was illustrated by a skull and a plan of a Gestapo electric torture chamber.

The task was set by course tutor Mike Richards, apparently to give students a fresh view on the realities of torture. It preceded a major project to design new headquarters for the civil rights group, Liberty.

Professor Don Gray, University of Kent School of Architecture head of department, defended the assignment set by Mr Richards. Professor Gray said: "No one has been forced to do this. The only person who has raised any objection has been given the opportunity to address the project from a different angle."

"I agree that it is a slightly shocking introduction to a very serious long-term design project. I'm neither justifying it or defending it, but that is how we are going about it."