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Andrew M Clark of Redbox Design reviews a dystopic degree show at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne

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The degree show for the BA in Architectural Studies and BArch,16 June – 9 July, 9:30am – 4pm at The Architecture Building, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU

This is a heavyweight exhibition from two big years – with in excess of 120 students in the BA course and nearly 50 in the BArch course – making it very difficult to take the whole show in one bite.

The overpowering impression of the BArch show is of dark and moody schemes and a bleak view of the future. Just when you think that these students are taking themselves a bit too seriously, you discover James Bell’s scheme for an abattoir in the historic centre of Newcastle – complete with blood spattered walls and herds of cattle roaming through the city centre.

There are some outstanding projects on display. Amongst them is Lee McLoughlin’s International Centre for Conflict Research in Belfast, an especially powerful and convincing piece of work. Philip Rowden’s Edinburgh Art Centre is also a sensitive piece of sculpted architecture.

The BA exhibition includes a large number of high quality designs that deserve to be seen, but it does suffer from a serious lack of space, making viewing difficult and uncomfortable. The work may be excellent, but the design of the show itself needs some effort to do it justice.

Andrew M Clark is the Managing Director of the Redbox Design Group

Resume: Overcrowding cramped the Geordie show’s success

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