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Student Shows 2012: University of Westminster, School of Architecture

Sahiba Chadha finds a diverse exhibition complimented by intellectual rigour at the University of Westminster

A well-oiled machine, the Westminster School of Architecture could well be a factory for adeptly creative graduates. A factory maybe, but by no means a cookie-cutter approach – the School’s size maintains a diversity of units, displayed as usual in an interconnected maze filling both studio floors. While Westminster remains free of a definitive ‘house style’, experiments in form and structure are evident throughout, supported by specific design agendas, usually complimented with intellectual rigour.

Standout unit

Clare Carter’s Degree unit showed a greater conceptual maturity than its peers, dealing with manufacturing and nuclear power at Dungeness. Concurrently, Andrew Peckham’s new Diploma studio launched with the reconciliation of industry and historical city in Krakow, Poland. Following the Opening Night throng, led to a bottleneck at Gordon Shrigley’s unit: ‘An Architecture of Lineature and its Discontents’. Visually refreshing and seductive, the sparse language of black and white line-drawings emphasised each student’s own hand – which is inextricable from their individual architectural languages.

Standout students

Standout projects from Shrigley’s unit include the beautifully-drawn intricacies of Tanya Okpa’s ‘Centre for Recent Drawing’ and Nicki Whetstone’s ‘The Imaginarium/University of Thurrock’. The most memorable project came from William Firebrace’s studio; James Kirk’s utterly beguiling thatched London tower – a quirky and unique take on sustainable urban regeneration.

In a word


AJ reviews of every student show in the UK will be published in a special issue of the magazine on 26 July. Students can subscribe to the AJ for just £82.50.

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