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Student shows 2013: Queen’s University Belfast

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Stephen Best reviews the Queen’s University Belfast’s end of year show

Belfast is abuzz: for the first time in a generation, a serious architectural culture is developing. Led by the city’s schools, and in particular Queen’s, nascent interest in the built environment has the potential to transform attitudes towards the urban context. This year, Queen’s stands out. The show is a tour-de-force that eschews the narrow confines of the profession and speaks to a broader audience. A fascination with precedent seems to underpin all the work; each brief includes physical engagement with typological examples through extensive high-quality model-making, not merely through representation and image.

Standout unit Situated in the seaside village of Portrush, the third-year studio is a hit. Elsewhere the MArch thesis studio, which was stretched along the river Shannon hinterland, is a powerful display of production and intelligent space-making. The array of projects demonstrated a high degree of completeness across the board.

Standout students Urbanistically, Rachel Delargy’s ‘Picture House’, a delicately articulated freestanding tower in Clones, is a stunning success, and exhibits a high degree of skill and ambition. Jennifer Cromie’s ‘Attitudes to Human Scale within Landscape’ shows how architects can and should engage sensitively with a rural setting.

In a word Paragon

Stephen Best, senior lecturer, Dublin Institute of Technology

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