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Student shows 2012: Welsh School of Architecture Cardiff University

Felix Mara is impressed by the level of competence at the Welsh School of Architecture’s show

Forget London, Cardiff is where it’s at, or so the Welsh School of Architecture’s roll call of inspirational tutors, featuring Peter Salter and Richard Weston, might lead you to expect. But crossing the school’s threshold for the first time, for the opening of the end of year show, I was struck by its varsity feel, borne out by its impressive research programmes, international links and recently boosted staff numbers.

Each unit had its own studio, with ample space for students to display projects on a grand scale. Much of the work had a dramatic quality - bold, monochromatic and big - in the case of technical drawings sometimes too big for its content. But the level of competence was impressive, as was the school’s environmental and social commitment, with a swathe of low-energy projects in the Valleys, envisioned in their entirety by one student as a vast hemp-growing region. Louisa Barfoot’s psychedelic work couldn’t have failed to stand out in its context, especially in
Peter Salter’s Infrastructural Urbanism Studio.

However, the show’s highlights were from Peter Thomas and Andy Roberts’ unit, featuring MArch student Briony Paul’s printed nylon model of her [Aqua]nomy urban fish farm. Professor Richard Weston captured the year’s flavour when he said if 2009 was the year of the gourd at Cardiff, 2012 was the year of the pylon.

Standout unit

Peter Thomas and Andy Roberts’ Economy Unit

Standout student

Briony Paul

In a word

Ecodrama

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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