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Student Shows 2012: University of Bath Department of Architecture

Sahiba Chadha is surprised by the maturity of Bath’s output

In recent years, Bath has been criticised for its restraint and lack of exploratory ‘mess’. Now in its fourth year the show, based at Candid Arts warehouse, exhibited vestiges of this purported restraint but by no means to its detriment; the work was well-considered with a refreshing clarity. The School’s self-branding as ‘treading the line between the poetic and the practical’ was indeed evident.

But this blanket competency made it difficult for projects to truly stand out. The exhibition was defiant in its simplicity; the work spoke for itself with the degree being rated top by the Times Good University Guide 2013.

Degree and master’s students were given a regional context and brief to explore their own identity. This resulted in a sense of ownership and surprising maturity. Master’s students looked at an analysis-led design project based in Redcliffe in Bristol and the BSc brief, ‘Somnambulant City’, asked students to ‘re-enchant’ the dormitory town of Salisbury.

Standout student

Among the profusion of ruralist degree projects, Ben Holmes’ timber ‘Biomass Energy Centre’ encompassed the brief’s semi-rural themes, while remaining responsive to the landscape of biomass crops.

In a word

Elegant

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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