David Hills reviews Greenwich’s end-of-year show
This is a very focused exhibition, showing off the school’s attention to detail and ambition, and held for the first time in the department’s new Greenwich base. The robustness of the Heneghen Peng building has clearly helped consolidate a strong culture within the school, and the shared teaching resources have allowed the undergraduate work to sit very comfortably alongside the best of the diploma studios.
An emphasis on drawing is evident in all aspects of the school, whether this is in the uber-surreal digital world of Nic Clear and Mike Aling’s Unit 15 or the exquisitely crafted pencil drawings of Diploma Unit 18 led by Pascal Bronner and Thomas Hillier. There is obviously a strong lineage with the Bartlett, evident in the school’s overall output, but the studios are sharply focused and well curated to allow an emerging identity. This is perhaps strengthened this year by the common themes explored by all units under the theme ‘East of Eden’ at various sites across the wider regions of Greenwich.
What is striking is the seriousness of the work, with the exquisitely crafted and detailed technical studies sitting alongside the imaginative worlds that we have come to expect under the leadership of Neil Spiller and Nic Clear. Alongside this, the engagement with landscape appears to have successfully infiltrated all studios this year, embedding the agendas of landscape and urbanism strongly within the school’s culture.
The school’s publication East of Eden, covering the year’s output, integrates the projects with engaged debate from practitioners, developers and academics. It is more than an end-of-year catalogue, and again appears to want to record the integrity of the teaching at this school
Stand out unit and students
Holding its own against a very strong MArch line-up is Undergraduate Unit 3 led by Melissa Clinch and Harry Bucknall. Challenging the masterplan with engaged ideas about placemaking, the studio produced a series of engaging and well-executed projects.
The Greenwich Presentation Kitchen by Zuzanna Jakubiak in Diploma Unit 18 demonstrated the extraordinary dedication demanded of all students in this school. It is not possible to spend long enough exploring the drawings of this palace, creating food self-sufficiency for London, which unfold the student’s imagination of place, situation and future history in the slightly dystopian era of food shortage.
David Hills of DSDHA