Johnny Rodger senses a strong base of reality in Strathclyde
A promenade around the Strathclyde exhibition shows how this school builds an accumulative awareness of how architects act on their environment: what architecture can do. Thus if the first year starts off with a basic engagement with the world through single events: sheltering, dwelling, settling; then through the years as we go up the school, we see in turn a more complex engagement with local, regional, national, international and global events and issues.
There’s a strong base of reality in Strathclyde, with the upper school taking that step from a physical ‘how’ we do it, to the social, political and economic ‘why’ we do it. This means that in the fifth year, when the students pick an ‘issue’ with which to engage, they really come into their own.
In the student show, the range of issues chosen for engagement varied from creating free play zones for children across the city, to the question of how people would colonise the desolate cities after a predicted collapse of the global economy in 2017, to the wonderful drawings of Dandelionopolis, a series of 160m tall techno-towers in Singapore by Chi Yoon Ming that would digest waste and produce energy.
Perhaps the most comprehensive and delightful project was John Kennedy’s eulogy for the uncertain future of the book. Ariadne’s Thread. As per the title, this project set a labyrinthine textual collection in the tortuous urban landscape of the backlands in Old Town Edinburgh.
In a word
AJ reviews of every student show in the UK are in AJ26.07.12. Students can subscribe to the AJ for just £82.50.