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Student shows 2013: The Bartlett, University College London

Ben Adams reviews The Bartlett’s end of year show

Architecture must begin with an act of speculation and the genius of The Bartlett is that it allows such breadth and depth in speculative points of departure for each unit to begin from. Forgive the school for its digital noodling that some students never escape from. The spirit of genuine speculative enquiry about all our possible futures is one to celebrate.

Standout units Unit 20 takes a forensic look at porous buildings with some startling fabrications that are most arresting when they capture the human form, but it is Unit 10 that best explores the tradition of the fabricated scenario and its probable architectural consequences. Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino and Salman Rushdie give us a literary basis for these explorative cityscapes, and yet their rendering in visual form is the real innovation here.

Standout students Stephen McCloy takes an alternative look at the EU with extraordinary drawings of a Paris free from ‘motor traffic’ and instead full of allotments, a roving parliamentary headquarters and beautiful panoramic views - all disappointingly under a uniformly clouded sky. Thandi Loewenson gives us ‘Melencolia: City of Sadness’, a rather bleak look into the mind of a failed explorer that is offset by incredible wall covering images.

In a word Fabricate

Ben Adams, director, Ben Adams Architects

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