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Student shows 2013: University of Ulster

Stephen Best reviews the University of Ulster’s end of year show

Embedded in an art school, the show is lively and energetic. The undergraduate work is a pageant of playfulness - each of the three years appears engaged in the discovery of creative ideas through craft and physical production. It is an approach typified by the third-year studio, which is presented almost entirely through model form. The second year also catches the eye; the Calvino-esque adventure into imagined places is entertaining yet pertinent. The MArch work in contrast is a model of professionalism. In fifth year, the students start with an enquiry into the power of architecture to bring people together in Derry/Londonderry, and follow on by looking at how lessons learned by IBA in Berlin could be translated into Belfast’s hard-boiled context.

Standout unit Year six, the thesis studio. The students’ endeavours here are convincing and reveal architectural ideas that have both clarity and depth.

Standout students The comprehensive display of models and drawings by Joanne Smyth for her thesis ‘The Belfast Lough Lookout and Orientation Centre’, a delicate 10-storey tower wrapped in a filigree cloak, perched at the end of a promontory above the water. Also of note are the haunting images of Laurence McGowan’s ‘Hall of the People’, which are etched onto plywood boards.

In a word Gutsy

Stephen Best, senior lecturer, Dublin Institute of Technology

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