Student Shows 2014: Plymouth University
Philip Yunnie reviews Plymouth’s end-of-year show
First impressions are of a school that is engaging with relevant issues including homelessness, civic responsibility, regional identity and micro-regeneration. The show is enlivened by an incredible array of models and three-dimensional work that is truly impressive. This engagement begins at day one where first year students can be very proud of some beautifully crafted models. The school clearly encourages the individual development of each student, which is illustrated by the sheer variety of work on display and a refreshing lack of obsession with current styles and fads. Each of the undergraduate units was inventively and thoughtfully displayed willing the viewer on to the next enclosure.
The MArch unit has tackled an ambitious and complex urban site in the town of Cieszyn, Poland. This small settlement of 30,000 inhabitants is separated from the Czech Republic by a bisecting river and plays host to an incredible 10,000 daily commuters (primarily school children) who arrive at the town to be greeted by a desolate transport terminus which is both wind swept and uninviting. The students have fully engaged with local community and analysed the physical, social and economic issues to a staggering level of detail. The resultant proposals for this 4-hectare site demonstrate a high level of political, social and economic sensitivity and suggest how public and private spaces can be layered to co-exist and bring about meaningful change.
Joshua Cole’s Sub Syncratic System beautifully illustrates the essentially simple idea of using an existing feature, in this case the space beneath a fly-over, as the anchor for a phased intervention to unite economic, residential and social functions. The resultant multi-layered, flexible micro-community uses a clear hierarchy of elements and materials to demonstrate how locally distinctive skills and resources can form the catalyst for a vibrant and fundamentally achievable model of inclusive modern living.
- Phillip Yunnie, director, Gillespie Yunnie Architects