Jim Breakey and Ivan King on the University of Sheffield
An architecture show is a strange thing: is it to be enjoyed like an art show, studied like a museum or is it a collection of job applications? Certainly all this and more is on show at the Sheffield University Diploma and Degree show. Curating the show is obviously a significant challenge in the studios high up in the Arts Tower where the panoramic view of the city vies for attention with the exhibits inside. In comparison with a fine art show the sheer quantity of student work impresses and eventually over whelms and so it is with relief that the visitor finds the prize winning work on the 16th floor and the diploma show above.
Among the prize winners Dominic Walker has rightly taken the Stephen Welsh prize in Draughtsmanship as his display is a tour de force of outstanding art, from some small and exquisite sheets to a large pencil cutaway pencil drawing of a rucksack that sums up the student experience. George Allen, RIBA Bronze Medal nomination, has the ability to work in different styles with drawings paying homage sometimes to the modern movement and elsewhere to Archigram.
The clear layout of the MA modules is relief to the visitor giving a narrative to the viewing experience. A particular pleasure within the exhibition is the Re-Activist Architecture module, a designed space that provides an exciting and engaging display.
Another module worked in Hull, where Samuel Kapasa’s The Beautiful Inevitability of Agency and Flooding was a very simple and poetic exploration of the destructive and also calming effect of water. Niamh Lincoln also reengineered the negativity of flooding with the creation of wetlands in the Wicker area of Sheffield.
Matthew Pearson’s Heart of the Machine, car maintenance as theatre, is a fun idea beautifully illustrated. Finally our prize for best project title goes to Junkun Li for the ‘Hullness’ Museum (did you see what they did there?)
Jim Breakey and Ivan King