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A new zine gives frustrated young architects a voice

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The Unpublishables aims to create a platform for young architects and designers, writes James Pallister

One’s twenties, for many who have been through architecture schooling, can be a liminal phase; no longer in formal, full-time education, not yet sure and set in one’s way of living. It can also be an intensely productive time. A new zine The Unpublishables aims to create a platform for designers and practices yet to win their first big jobs and the attention of other media. Editor Zoe Berman writes that it was founded ‘following our own frustrations with the difficulties young architects face getting their writing and personal projects into the press’.

In the preview copy, I saw there was a selection of essays from a wander through Dungeness to a piece by Amanda Rashid about the council housing designed by the Camden Architects Department between 1965 and 1973 – aptly timed given the local authority is building its own council housing again for the first time in decades.

Giles Smith writes a smart article, which drily lampoons the divisions in architectural education. He points out that in the messier, complex world of ‘robotic bricklayers, crapjects and ubiquitous computing’, a more sophisticated engagement between craft and computing is required.

The mag’s visual tone and typography is conservative, even under-designed, and it’s interesting to observe that in their intent to create a new space for the young, they have opted for a straightforward graphic style which won’t offend the sensibilities of many – and perhaps is equally unlikely to thrill – rather than make the most of the freedom afforded them by occupying space outwith the demands of paid-for magazines. Having taken the step of getting together a magazine and publishing it, perhaps they’ll be filled with the confidence to pursue, in their own terms, what it is that their generation of designers and writers think are matters of urgency in a space of their own, rather than aping media which they may not need to mimic, or define themselves against, as much as they think they do.

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