Richard Waite on an inconsistent Leeds Met show
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Leeds Metropolitan has made great strides in recent years, but the departure of influential professor of sustainable architecture Greg Keeffe a few months ago is a loss. The work on show was patchier than usual, and in places lacked the thoroughness, rigour and resolution now expected of the school. But the eco-ethos remained strong. Sustainability in Leeds, as shown through bee highways and clothes upcycling projects, is not a box-ticking tag on.
Presentation of the students’ efforts was again a solid mix of models (a huge replica of Salts Mill) and accomplished visuals, with the highlights to be found among work by undergraduates such as Joe Walton.
Tutors Dennis Burr and Sarah Mills are creating a name for themselves – once more their Part I studio boasted tactile models and the most thought-provoking work. Focusing on Bristol and Istanbul, the walls showed off interrogations of place and programme, resulting in some highly polished projects.
Among Mills and Burr’s stars-in-the-making were Ashley Ball and Sam Stalker. Ball’s decommissioning facility for military equipment on Bristol’s waterfront was gritty, practical and topped with touches of delight (including a hidden alchemist’s den). Stalker’s neo-Gothic Freemason’s lodge disguised as a radio tower was beautifully presented. Though the Part 2 work was weaker, diploma students Ben Ponsford and Joe Roper looked handy.
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