Top ten architecture school shows: Lyle Chrystie on the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
On first impression, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture’s (ESALA) degree show makes a statement of quality and intent. It is mounted in Edinburgh College of Art’s sculpture court, the principal exhibition room, and is lent an atmosphere of substantive quality by this impressive space. There is a very strong emphasis on model-making, and throughout the school there is an array of high-quality concept and figurative models supported by some very beautiful drawings.
Away from the impact space of the sculpture court, the degree show work becomes a bit patchier. ESALA was formed by the merger of the architecture schools of the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 - and there remains a slight feeling of two different institutions still figuring out how to work together.
In general however, the work is of a high standard, and perhaps appropriate for a city built on hills, there is substantial exploration of the section, both at city and at building scales, across almost all of the work.
Standout unit & students
The tutors of the Tokyo/New York - New spatial Practices in Architecture (and Art) studio seemed to have helped their participants’ imaginations flourish. The stated aim of this unit was to open the boundary between architecture and art, and explore the cusp between the two.
MArch student Usama Al Kindi bucked the trend for sensitive neo-Miesian studies and delicate models with an intriguing reconstruction of memory lane in Tokyo. Based on the idea of scent as an architectural tool, this is a joyful and quirky look at a collection of very tiny spaces comprised of yakitori eateries, where many restaurants are just one bar and a few seats. Pavlina Stergiadou and Liam Bonnar of the Terrain Vague unit explored the themes of juxtaposition, slippage, density and scarcity. The duo prepared a joint presentation of a series of interventions on the riverside in Lisbon. The beautiful, delicate drawings and heavy cast models genuinely convey the atmosphere of the places they intend to make.
Lyle Chrystie, director, Reiach and Hall Architects