My first impressions on arrival at the Greenwich School of Architecture exhibition are suitably ordered, having arrived via the spectacular setting of the Greenwich Maritime Campus. There’s an immediate clarity of communication from the drawings and models, generally free of the often obfuscating graphics which dominate some schools’ work. There is nonetheless evidence of great invention and adventure in many media across the wide range of ateliers.
The first year degree programme has introduced students to many different modes of enquiry and expression, including animation and fine art, the aim of which is to develop a culture of appreciation and understanding of the arts with interesting results. In the later years this has borne fruit in some schemes full of wit and humour, as well as serious responses to brief.
In Atelier 3, degree student Francesco Belfiore’s delicate dreamlike drawings show his ‘invisible university’ as a series of boathouses lined in books hovering over the river dappled in reflected light. Pattern-making and composition are also evident in the diploma housing schemes such as James Walker’s (a part time student) recycled tower block with colourful apartment pods craned into place in their host structure.
Fifty percent of students are studying part time and some of their work is exceptional. In diploma, Ros Marlow’s study of the chapels by Danish architect Leverenz informed her burial ground project represented in beautiful drawings and models. This supported by an excellent dissertation gained her a distinction.
Ingrid Schreiber-France and Emma Fennessy both part-time degree students achieved firsts with their imaginative and well considered schemes.
The exhibition cannot fully represent all the work that has contributed to each project and discussion with some of the students exposed some flawed defence of design decisions but contributed to lively debate!
The studio atelier system inevitably produces trademark style and approach but this is all part of the learning process. The aim of Architecture is to respond to a brief bringing together theory and concept with artistry and technology. The students graduating from Greenwich will be well-equipped for their future profession.
Nina Quesnel is Senior Architect with Arts Team
Resume: Greenwich’s military air produces precise results