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Student Shows 2012: University of Ulster School of Architecture

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Stephen Best sobserves a show engaged in experimentation at Ulster

Being embedded in an art college and surrounded by an assortment of creative disciplines gives this school a sense of artistic endeavour. It was apparent that inhabiting the same space had led to a cross-fertilisation of intellectual culture.

As a result, the undergraduate show engaged in experimentation through video, photography and collage. It was refreshing to see an architecture school outside the clutches of an engineering school. Changing gear from an artistic undergraduate degree, the master’s was dominated by rigour and professionalism.

Standout unit

Year three (led by tutors Mike McQueen and Jim Luke) was exuberant and asked broad questions in a specific way. It considered to what extent the architect was a maker of space over form; and to what extent they were preoccupied by craft and detail.

Working with a complex brief for a Luthier, artisan guitar-maker Dermot McIory seemed to have inspired the students to obsess about materials and making. Each exploration was led by model-making and there was evidence of an enthusiastic studio culture. Most projects looked at the studio through a Loosian lens; they used the Raumplan as a device for creating compact spatial solutions.

Standout students

Third year students Hugh Magee and Emma Campbell displayed a maturity and control with their Luthier’s Workshop projects. In their dexterous models, they appear to emerge from an understanding of first principles.

In a word

Comprehensive

AJ reviews of every student show in the UK are in AJ26.07.12. Students can subscribe to the AJ for just £82.50.

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