Rakesh Ramchurn reviews the University of East London’s end of year show
Steel, timber and plaster workshops adjoin studio space at the University of East London, reinforcing the school’s focus on materials and textures, while the proximity of the art department’s print-making studios and darkrooms encourage students to use all sorts of media in their work.
Standout unit A unit focusing on urban migration examined an illegal settlement of farm workers in Guangzhou. Students focused on creating a mixture of civic projects such as health and educational facilities, as well as housing, to address some of the key problems faced by the migrant workers. Hannah Taylor designed a scheme which not only helped to integrate migrant workers with the existing community, but which foresaw the gentrification of the settlement.
Standout student Ruth McIntyre designed an innovative Alpine spa where the built components consisted solely of a hot tub enclosed by a minimal metal mesh. In summer the open-topped spa allows bathers to enjoy Switzerland’s mild summers, while in winter snow freezes over the mesh, creating an igloo which shields bathers from the worst of the weather. Steam from the tub is supposed to slowly melt the roof, showering bathers with icy rain as they emerge. A unique project of barely-there architecture which defers to its environment, rather than fighting it.
In a word Materiality
Rakesh Ramchurn, AJ editorial assistant