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Student Shows 2012: University College Dublin School of Architecture

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Contextual architecture abounds at the UCD show, says Stephen Best

The school makes a deliberate attempt to understand the genius loci. The show is full of projects that emerge out of their location or at least are drawn with a graphic understanding of the context. It’s easy to see the influence of the work of John Tuomey, professor of architectural design, but this approach is also part of the school’s ethos.

UCD is Ireland’s oldest architecture school and recently celebrated its centenary – the first student having enrolled in 1911. It was marked by a series of events focusing on the formative moments in the school’s past, including a wonderful oral history, captured by master’s student Lisa Cassidy, of the events surrounding the famous 1970’s ‘Flying Circus’, an international crop of young tutors flown in to ‘save the school’.

Standout unit

The Thesis Studio Inside Outside (Sheila O’Donnell and Jennifer O’Leary) combined a fascination with architecture’s broader commitment to engage socially with the school’s ambition to embrace deeper understanding through research. Each of the students immersed themselves in conversations with the wider university body focused on reimaging the pedagogical experience, engaging with students from the UCD School of Education and the National College of Art and Design in a module called New Space for Learning.

Standout students

The Inside Outside studio also included three outstanding pieces of work: John Crowley’s Thomas Court School, which speculates on how a school and community come together; Jonathan Janssens’ work, which deals with memory and uses the existing grain to construct form; and Ray Dinh’s poetic collection of explorative watercolours.

In a word


Stephen Best, senior lecturer, DIT

AJ reviews of every student show in the UK are in AJ26.07.12. Students can subscribe to the AJ for just £82.50.

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