Merlin Fulcher discovers a particularly relevant strain of radicalism at Kingston’s end of year show
In pristine first floor studios overlooking a newly revamped atrium quadrangle, Daniel Rosbottom describes ‘a sort of radicalism’ emerging at Kingston – four years after he agreed to head the school while simultaneously co-directing international competition-winning studio DRDH.
Looking around the 2012 exhibition which explores the Olympic Legacy and the wider regeneration of east London, there is a strain of radicalism that is calm, confident and, most importantly, relevant.
Adam Kahn’s and David Knight’s graduate diploma unit resurrects the eighteenth century’s façade-first approach to masterplanning as a way to question what contemporary architects’ role should be in tackling the Olympic Park’s post games neighbourhoods – drawing inspiration from Nash, East Anglia’s fairy tale Thorpeness holiday town and Shoreditch’s boundary estate.
In the undergraduate school, Timothy Smith’s and Jonathan Taylor’s second year studio explores the classical legacy of London’s Hawksmoor churches with its students proposing mausoleums including one witty one outside the Bank of England.
Jane Houghton and Steven Batey’s third year studio, meanwhile, presents a series of emotive outlines for an elderly care home in Wapping. Rosbottom’s own diploma unit – taught with Andrew Houlton – moots a new City East with the civic infrastructure needed to transform the Olympic Park into London’s third city.
Diploma unit 4 – led by Christian Frost and Rod Heyes – tackles the peculiar outcome of Olympic equestrian events which will leave no physical legacy at Greenwich Park due to its conservation status. They propose a series of strong, Palladio-inspired architectural approaches for permanent amphitheatres with some warm earthy models in rich dark wood.
Joseph Lyth in the third year for his monolithic generic urban building which received the school’s Tim Bell prize for drawing and has been nominated for the RIBA bronze medal.
In a word
AJ reviews of every student show in the UK will be published in a special issue of the magazine on 26 July. Students can subscribe to the AJ for just £82.50.