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Student Shows 2014: London South Bank University

Quinton Pop reviews LSBU’s end-of-year show

The discourse of architecture is littered with buzzwords: diversity, context, identity, culture. But how many architecture schools actually engage with these ideas? The recent degree show of London South Bank University proved, once again, that this low-key school is a trail-blazer when it comes to putting these principles into practice.

LSBU remains true to its long-established history (originally the Brixton School of Building) as a school characterised by its diversity; the profile of the student body captures a mix of backgrounds and ethnicities, representative of the wider community around the campus at Elephant & Castle. Within this context the Year 3 studio focused on local sites to prompt and enhance a higher level of local engagement, culminating in the final project entitled ‘Walworth Pride’, which asked students to design a civic building.

Standout units & students

Tackling this challenge, while addressing climate change, Alistair Hood’s design for ‘The Walworth Ark’ raises awareness of flood risk and prepares people for emergency response. Other notable projects – by students including Sylvia Aehle and Charlotte Shields – engage with civic concerns through projects that tackle ethnic identity, social diversity and local culture. It is refreshing to see a school of architecture dealing with real life rather than abstract issues and – in so doing – rooting itself in its own unique context.

  • Quinton Pop is part of HOK London’s education team and is working on the new International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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