What makes the Small Project crits so special? Maybe it’s the high standard of work on show, says Rory Olcayto
David Kohn’s Stirling-inspired house extension would have won last year, the year before, and the year before that, such was its quality, but this year … no.
You could say the same about Phil Coffey’s Modern Side Extension, which managed to squeeze something new and elegant out of the London Victorian terrace upgrade market.
Guy Holloway’s Pobble House too: a Cor-ten, larch and cement fibre hideaway in Dungeness; and Olga Felip, who flew in from Barcelona to present Arquitecturia’s artist’s studio, had the competition not been so fierce.
And what about the Stargazing pavilion by Newcastle University students?
They designed it with locals in Kielder Park, and even used BIM to create it. Who says graduates are not ready to work?
Deborah Saunt summed it up best when she likened the speed-crit to being on a long-haul flight and getting to see a bunch of great films. It is not just the quality that makes the day great, it’s the format: a nerve-tingling two-minute presentation followed by three minutes of tough questions. A few presenters froze, forgot to click through their slides, and barely said what they needed to say in the allotted time. Tough. You know the rules.
What was my highlight? Apart from seeing Kevin Carmody and Andy Groarke pick up the top prize, it would have to be hearing David Kohn explain how his clients’ children spotted a fox in his extension’s facade design. Oh yeah, there it is. Nice!