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University College London - Bartlett School of Architecture

A fizzing creativity is a little restricted by the forms at the Bartlett student show

Confined within the contours of the site models and the lean linearity of building forms, this show has an explosive creativity. The work seems eager to burst out of the constraints of what is probably the best UK venue to put on a degree show, the Slade School of Fine Art.

The highly artistic work of this year’s UCL flock – some of them, perhaps, wasted as architects – does not disappoint. From the first corridor, showing first year work, the show unfolds as a sensory experience of sound, film, light and textures, executed with both discipline and whimsy. Each layered model and drawing expresses a labour of love.

Michiko Sumi

Michiko Sumi

The Bartlett has positioned itself in firm opposition to schools where RSI-inducing CAD clicking is encouraged. Hand-drawing and an intimacy with materials is fostered, creating a feeling of ease with design.

Third-year student’s work Tamsin Hanke runs with the remit of Julia Backhaus and Pedro Font Alba’s Unit 5 ‘Pioneers’ studio to ‘reinvestigate conventional drawing techniques’. Her striking plans and sections
with layered acetate represent the spatially compelling Bartlett tradition.

While some student’s work suffered by trying to adhere too closely to this tradition, the work of fifth year diploma student Michiko Sumi, stood out. Her extrapolation of lines from landscape creates beautifully textured representations that send the eye darting. The refreshing lightness of Sumi’s drawings, under the tutelage of Niall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou’s Unit 17,whose sites included Gatwick Airport and a site in Cape Town – reveal a hidden world of axonometrics and plans beneath a plethora of lines.

Michiko Sumi image

Michiko Sumi’s fifth year work

This year’s exuberant show, which former Bartlett professor Peter Cook says is ‘the best in years’, is compelling from the beginning. The rich artistry in representation guarantees its status as a must-see exhibition, and one that more than measures up to its setting.

India Wright is a Part 1 graduate of London South Bank University

Resume: An accomplished, artistic display adds to the Bartlett’s reputation in this field

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