Eddie Blake & Nina Shen-Poblete review Westminster’s end-of-year show
London is thick with student architecture. All the schools are taking more students, there are new schools and as well as a trend now for schools across the UK to display in the Capital. Westminster still manages to shine among the maddening crowd.
There is a massive range of undergraduate units on display at the show. A particular favourite among the undergraduate units is Unit 1 who looked at the New River – it contained some original thinking about innovation and Myddleton’s pre-industrial ingenuity.
Along with some great experimental unit courses, what makes Westminster stand out from other London schools is a strong culture of making – not limited to traditional architecture models, but extending to textiles, ceramics and unexpected uses of 3D printing.
Standout units & students
Two standout Part Two units that show the range of research themes are Unit 14 and 15.
Unit 14 considered drawing in an original light. The unit is completely devoted to the language of drawing as the preliminary site for architecture – which led to some brilliant images on display at the show.
Unit 15 turned received architectural education wisdom on its head. The unit used the I-Ching - an ancient Chinese book/divination system that generates pseudo-randomised answers to questions.
This approach ironically made more honest versions of most design students’ projects. It promoted post-rationalisation, aesthetic choice and strategic thinking.
There were two new units with more conventional architectural methodologies: Tonkin Liu brought a traditional form and structure based architectural design to Westminster while Lindsay Bremmer and Roberto Bottazzi have developed a unit on more research-based urbanism, relying primarily on data.
- Eddie Blake, architectural designer, Studio Weave & Nina Shen-Poblete, architecture tutor, Oxford Brookes and associate, Store