James Pallister feels the Brutalist heritage of the T Dan Smith era in Newcastle’s show
After a long absence from the capital, Newcastle University Part 1s and 2s put on a two-venue show, starting in the The Toon’s Hancock and Great North Museum and then travelling to London’s Truman Brewery.
With the get-up-and-go crucial to securing a job today, students took responsibility for the production and transport of their shows. They exhibited a healthy mix of realistic, ‘grown-up’ buildings and a hint of playful experimentation.
The school has loose research groups rather than units. The Brutalist heritage of T Dan Smith-era Newcastle looms large in the city’s psyche, and in turn that of Part 1 students such as Joseph Wilson and James Macpherson, who produced striking, ghostly work entitled Afterimage inspired by Owen Luder’s now-demolished car park.
As well as giving support to formal experimentation, the school issues reassuringly grounded briefs. This can be seen in Part 2’s ‘Thinking and Making’ Unit, tutored by Graham Farmer. Amy Linford experimented fruitfully with materiality, coming up with a convincing resolution for timber-wool panels in her designs for a birthing centre as part of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, with honorable mentions to Hannah Benihoud’s men refuge on the roof of Eldon Square Shopping Centre.
In a word
James Pallister, AJ senior editor