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Student Shows 2012: Cambridge University

Sahiba Chadha enjoys the astute design at Cambridge’s show

Wending its way through the semi-open air of Clerkenwell’s gritty Farmiloe building, this year’s exhibition of Cambridge student work may be less slick that its London-based counterparts but projects a distinct elegance. This student-led travelling show has matured somewhat over the years into a measured display of astute, exploratory design. And that’s just the undergrads. The graduate portion of the school is blossoming – the design-research MPhil programme is gathering speed under new direction and with a rigour of analysis that sets it apart from other diplomas.

Standout unit

Year 3 Studio 2 has to be recognised for its ambition in re-addressing the contentious plans for the Berlin Stadtschloss, rising to the challenge of programme-driven projects dealing with monumentality, and for its bold large format imagery supported by a wide selection of models. However in terms of wow-factor, for me, the second year displays nearly stole the show, intriguing tiny models on haphazard shelving tucked away on the upper floor.

Standout students

Jennifer Gutteridge’s stark but evocative imagery of her prefab-concrete ‘Humbolt Centre of Political Science’ deserves a mention. There was also the beautifully sensitive project of ‘Baukademie: Re-appropriation of the ground for teaching, making and display’ by Ebanie Powell, an archaeological scheme layering the heaviness of old with lightness of new. From the MPhil, Edward Barsley’s ‘Transition to a Riparian Landscape’ – a proposal for coastal defence strategy of embracing the rising sea suggests new ways of living.

In a word

Thriving

Sahiba Chadha is AJ’s sustainability intern

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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