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Student shows 2013: Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University

Phineas Harper reviews the Welsh School of Architecture’s end of year show

If ever there was a school that disproves the populist allegation that architectural education has become irrelevant and out of touch it is the WSA. A no-nonsense pedagogy rooted in craft, place-making and research has allowed it to carve out an impressive reputation in recent years.

Standout unit This is the first year an intrepid group of WSA master’s graduates have launched an exhibition in London, confidently taking on the London schools at their game of glamorous summer shows. The quality of draftsmanship and architectural detailing in the exhibition was astonishing. Projects were complex, beautifully presented and quietly purposeful. Curatorially, the show felt like a first draft. Tactile timber installations from Kate Darby’s ‘Tectonics, Form and Place’ unit, which might have made an enticing entry point, were hidden away in a corner while beautiful hand drawings such as those by Rory Hume seemed lost against vast white walls.

Standout students Lee Marable’s hut made from 180 identical spruce planks (the byproduct of thinning trunks for lumber) was specially rebuilt in Brick Lane. Not dissimilar to Thomas Heatherwick’s 1994 RCA graduation gazebo, but with a clear green strategy, Marable’s work made a delightfully Welsh coda to the show.

In a word Formidable

Phineas Harper, The Architectural Review

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