Sarah Townsend reviews CSM’s end-of-year show
Students were asked to show how architecture can help bridge the socio-economic divide between the Bemerton Estate in Islington and nearby affluent Barnsbury. Both neighbourhoods have undergone significant change as a result of the redevelopment of Kings Cross and, says course leader Geoffrey Makstutis, ‘change always brings disruption’. Over the past year, students have worked with residents, the local council and other groups to develop architecture-based strategies to empower communities and help them adapt to ongoing change.
The concept of ‘situated agencies’ – the built environment as a complex integration of different stakeholders, systems and processes – lay at the heart of the students’ responses, which ranged from imaginative ways of fostering emotional engagement with place, such as horticulture project ‘The Hanging Gardens of Bermerton’, to practical solutions for raising youth aspirations, in ‘Open College Network’.
Standout students & unit
There was no standout unit, as Central Saint Martins’ exhibited the work of this year’s graduating cohort only. Standout projects included Berenice Martin’s ‘Inside-Out Theatre’ – a sophisticated and stylishly drawn proposal to transform an uninviting corner of the Bemerton Estate into a contemporary performance theatre that provides ‘a unique experience where the lines between space, performer and spectator are constantly shifting,’ says Martin.
Another noteworthy project was Jack Idle’s ‘West Library Assembly’, a sensitive proposal to link a Grade II-listed library with a Grade II-listed pub to create a new community landmark for hosting inclusive social activities, such as a book club, tea dance and Taekwondo classes.
- Sarah Townsend, publications editor, The AJ