Ben Adams reviews the University of Brighton’s end of year show
Brighton based this year’s endeavour on ‘The Public House’, an honest celebration of the pub as meeting place, social space and common denominator of public life. Whether this simple basis can sustain an entire school for a year is a question worth debating, as the more successful units are those that stray furthest from the pub as point of departure.
Standout units Studio 6 takes us to the Isle of Slingers (Portland) to wonder ‘where next?’ for the stony island. Here, David Caldwell’s beautiful model suggests a new research centre for sea plastics. Studio 11 tooled off to East Tilbury for a look at Bata-ville, a social utopian experiment in 1930s Modernism from Tomas Bata. Bata-ville began with a shoe factory and expanded to include the Bata farm, a social club, Bata library and working houses. The town has lost its purpose since the shoe factory closed, and the studio explores future scenarios based on education, research and ‘testing’.
Standout student Sofia Andrews reimagines Bata-ville through a testing works dedicated to the creation of new composite materials and a ‘multidisciplinary cycle of material use and information’. Regeneration through entrepreneurial innovation is fair enough, but it is her pathos in celebrating the ruins of the town that resonates most.
In a word Reflective
Ben Adams, director, Ben Adams Architects