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Student Shows 2012: Kent School of Architecture, University of Kent

The Kent student show strikes a balance between a structured and experimental approach, finds Felix Mara

The keynote of this year’s show was transition.  The venue was a single-story, soon to be demolished teaching block, used as a labyrinthine vehicle for the show’s ‘Peep Show’ concept, informed by Brunelleschi’s camera obsucra experiments, which provided teasing glimpses of a mix and match of projects through openings in a diaphragm wall. The show was designed, organised and built by the Exit:12 student committee.

The school is benefiting from growing numbers of highly-qualified applicants and investment in staff, facilities and research from the University of Kent and will, in November, be graced with Dan Holloway’s Crit Space complete with digital presentation gizmos resembling giant iPads.

Like the school, the show strikes a balance between, on the one hand, a structured, academic, taught approach and, on the other, independence and experimentation, with a healthy mixture of hand drawing, computer graphics and model-making.

Some of the best work was produced by non-graduating years, revealing the depth of students’ work and their consistent levels of attainment. Stage 5 MArch student Tzi Leung Man’s Paleontological Centre on the Isle of Sheppey, a polemic on architectural ethics, form and representation, stood out. Stage 5 MArch  student Louisa Clifford’s Faversham Thames Barge Restoration Centre and Gravney Boat Museum was also impressive, especially for their exploration of nautical technology as an inspiration for detailed design concepts. 

The show’s linear circulation reinforced the sense that school and its students are busily making good progress along the route into the unknown that lies ahead.

Standout unit

Not a unit structure. Best projects were MArch Stage 5

Standout students

Tzi Leung Man and Louisa Clifford

In a word


Felix Mara, technical editor, the AJ

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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