Nils Feldmann takes a look at De Montfort University’s end-of-year show
The Degree Show at the Leicester School of Architecture displays an impressive selection of undergraduate and postgraduate work, ranging from exploratory and intriguing models to seductive and atmospheric visualisations.
The undergraduate projects are based in Shoreditch, and illustrate a thorough understanding of the multi-layered cultural, historic and ethnic fabric of the East End. Following a rigorous analysis of the context, shared among the cohort at the beginning of the year, students developed individual briefs for selected sites, leading to a rich mix of architectural proposal ranging from bold architectural interventions to considerate repair of the urban fabric.
Riccardo Fregoni’s Paper Art Studio is a restrained yet complex series of spaces playfully integrated into a difficult plot, while the Elite Cyclist Training Facility by Charles Smith responds strongly to both the built urban environment and the social changes of the community. Benjamin Pole’s Emergency Shelter Factory is a mature and confident interpretation of the industrial past with a strong emphasis on socially purposeful architecture for the benefit of communities across the world.
The proposals developed by the postgraduate students display a sense of intellectual rigour and clarity of thought. Many expand on the theme of community engagement and reflect their socio-economic settings, while others respond to wider global issues such as natural preservation.
Alistair Wood’s Seasonal Fish Market for the Lofoten archipelago in Norway and the River Allotments by Matthew Jones are ecologically and economically sensitive solutions for rural communities. Both students explore the potential of the relationships between land and water, and illustrate their proposals in carefully crafted elaborate and evocative images and models.
The Seed Archive in the Lowlands of Scotland by Jamie Evans and Luke Riggall’s Advanced Research and Conservation Centre in the Highland Peat Marshes demonstrate a strong awareness of their respective briefs’ cultural significance. The schemes employ thoughtful approaches to the placing of structures in the open landscape and each convincingly harnesses the qualities of its unique context.
Nils Feldmann, founder, Feldmann Architects