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Student Shows 2012: Northumbria University

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Steve Parnell finds a phenomenological and poetic ambience to Northumbia’s show

Northumbria’s part 2 course is relatively new and small and is not split into units, but rather has a number of projects that the students can opt into. Many new architecture schools concentrate on the technical aspects of architecture, but Northumbria’s projects deal with historical and regionally social concerns – in other words, context in time and place (the “as found”, or “genius loci”).

There is a phenomenological and poetic ambience to the show that might be viewed as nostalgic modernism by the more “progressive” schools, but actually differentiates it from most, especially now that full, and almost invisible, use of computer technology enables drawings and models of the highest quality.  Northumbria is already punching well above its weight.

Both part 1 and part 2 demonstrate an affinity for the perspective section with a colour gamut ranging from sepia to charcoal – the overall effect is one of sobriety, seriousness and consideration and the occasional splash of primary colour is a welcome relief.

Standout studio?

The “as found” studio that included Matt van Geffen and Joe Crinion.

Standout student

The student who particularly caught my attention was Matt van Geffen who matched the unemployed young of the area with the need for a recycling plant. His numerous hybrid pencil and computer drawings of this industrial neo-Brutalism completely seduced me with their restrained conviction.

One word to sum up the school’s work


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.

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