Student Shows 2014: Birmingham City University
Dav Bansal reviews BCU’s end-of-year show
In its new ‘state of the art’ faculty, The BSoA has become an important part of the city’s creative and professional network - a holistic design centre where ideas and opinions are explored as well as cross fertilisation of skills and methodologies across several disciplines including textiles and filming. The projects engage with current and real matters within the city through their design studios and Co Lab initiative. Students are encouraged to become advocates for their own work and adapt a more commercial based approach, collaborating with local practitioners and stakeholders.
The arrival of Hs2 in the city is undoubtedly a hot topic and I was therefore pleased that the third year undergraduates undertook a year-long study on the theme of infrastructure and exploring the impact/ scale of architectural interventions.Through studying historical layers of the built environment and integrating ecology with communities, the manufacturing industry is reinvented to retain the city’s identity.
Keeping with the significant infrastructural scale of Hs2, a project by Maksims Uljanovs in Year 3’s undergraduate Nowtopia Studio addresses an unusual context in Parkhall Nature Reserve, just outside Birmingham International Airport. The project looks at redefining the landscape and a new housing development, which will become a necessity as high-speed transforms our perception of commuting distances. Another interesting project is by Luke Nagle. His thesis project, ‘the Guild of Birmingham Instrument Makers’, seeks to address the poor self-image of manufacture in Birmingham and celebrate high quality craftsmanship in the city. It marked an interesting shift in emphasis, from that of large-scale urban change, to sensitive, intricate intervention.
- Dav Bansal, director, Glenn Howells Architects