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Student shows 2014: Newcastle

Top ten architecture school shows: Paul Rigby reviews Newcastle’s end of year show

I arrived at the exhibition with great anticipation, hoping to be exposed to the creative themes that are stimulating the next generation. The experience did not disappoint. The school’s naturally investigative scholarly approach is evident in every direction; from Rutter Carroll’s featured retrospective exhibit Something Concrete and Modern, to the students’ multi-channel architectural representations that display a palpable vein of creative thinking that underpins the works. I left excited by the variety of themes on display, but wishing that more of the final year work had resulted in outputs that matched the rich theory to substantive architectural representations. However, the skilfully curated exhibition displayed the school’s strength of innovative investigation through architectural media with standout offerings at each stage.

Standout unit & students

A heavily edited overview of the BA work aggregates each of the unit’s outputs through the presentation of physical models, resulting in a clear understanding of the implications of tectonics.

Studio 1 stands out with its expressive use of light as a material fundamental to architectural expression. Moving into the cinematic representation of Stage 5’s work in Berlin, you are greeted with an astonishingly creative curiosity box housing a collection of models. The digitisation of the portfolios, presented concurrently on three screens, to a thumping soundtrack, kept me on the sofa for many minutes as I absorbed the burgeoning creativity. The array of accomplished work raises expectations for the group’s final year output!

On a high, I began to explore the final year presentations, which take the visible range of exploration of architectural potentials to another level. The five studios follow tangential themes, but all have a depth and integrity that held my attention.

Gabriella Smith’s formula for biodegradable plastic

Gabriella Smith’s formula for biodegradable plastic

Three studios stood out with work that was seriously arresting. Particular highlights included: the scientific rigour of ArchaID in which Gabriella Smith astounds with her process design to generate bioplastics; the places imagined by Strange Places group, in which Irina Korneychuk presents a mature analysis - Learning From the Metrocentre - that results in a themed place for G4S to supply public services; and The Parallel Military Geographies group which took an alternative approach to thinking about space, with Lam Nguyen representing a strategy for the ‘occupation’ of New York.

Paul Rigby, project director, FaulknerBrowns

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