[STUDENT SHOWS 2011] ‘The design work of the degree school is connected with direct human experience and wider political and social conditions,’ says BA course leader Oliver Froome-Lewis.
The setting for the final BA project was Prague, the third years’ field trip destination. Henry Mole’s Roma Tectonic project traces the history of the Roma in the city, through of a dye factory, horse market and secret music venue in a commercial block. Music emerged from an unseen source through resonating structures.
Graduate diploma students’ projects were set in coastal locations around Kent and were attempts to engage with the local community by exploring and researching imaginative, if far-fetched, briefs. Adam Hiles, tutored by associate dean and head of school Alan Atlee and FAT’s Charles Holland, designed a network of trucks for the port of Dover that envelops the whole town.
Three of John Bell’s students stood out. The starting point for Karly Wilson’s project, set in Whitstable, was the rising sea level on the Kent coast, its depletion as a result of demographic pressure. Part of this narrative included food chains and fish farming.
Alan Sahmi explored oil expansion and the role of multinationals, postulating an alternative future with BP cast as a latter-day East India Company. Taking inspiration from 18th-century fiction, he constructed an elaborate political allegory involving a camouflaged faux iceberg for oil expeditions, docked on the Medway flats. Gary Kellett explored marine ecology and expanding ‘dead zones’ that kill off all other life forms. His proposal for averting environmental catastrophe was a gigantic matrix of oysters to reduce acidity levels in the sea.
The level of achievement of the best diploma students was very high, with some receiving honourable mentions in the eVolo Skyscraper Competition and they have clearly benefited from a great deal of freedom, granted on condition they would come up with the goods when their time was up. One senses that anything could happen at the Canterbury School of Architecture.