Felix Mara finds activist architects in Canterbury
Activism was the overarching theme at this year’s show at the Canterbury School of Architecture, part of the University of the Creative Arts.
Students are encouraged to believe that the architect is the catalyst and has an active role to play, rather than expecting to take up roles as passive agents, which may or not await them, within a rigid, immutable process.
This realistic design activism was reflected in the briefs of the distilled selection of projects at the student-curated show. For their final projects, third-year students made proposals for a string of abandoned sites in Budapest that they had visited on a field trip. Tom Bauer chose a site on a polluted river to bring improvements to the environment and James Young made an exquisite model drawing on the history of stringed instruments.
Tutors chose the year 2050 for fifth-year projects set in the future, because this falls within the scope of Unitary Development Plans. First-year students had designed furniture and perceptual devices, in one case an appendage for intensifying light from lamp posts by Hassan Sheikh, Anna Sturton, Solene Thierry and Samuel Withing. Generally, experiments were balanced by accomplished digital work, exemplified by fifth year Sean Hanmer’s Parasitic Prototype retrofit of Greenwich Power Station as a plastic recycling plant.
John Bell’s fifth year students.
Sean Hanmer, James Young.
In a word
Felix Mara is technical editor at the AJ
AJ reviews of every student show in the UK are in AJ26.07.12. Students can subscribe to the AJ for just £82.50.