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Student Shows 2014: The Architectural Association

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Anthony Boulanger reviews the AA’s end-of-year show

Upon exploring the labyrinth of the Bedford Square buildings one is struck by a diverse range of research and design taking place, both in scale and quality, and spanning from Foundation to the several Graduate School disciplines. On show is an assortment of digitally and manually generated drawings, models, fabrications, films and books. There is a general preoccupation in the Diploma School with relatively unconstrained large-scale design strategies responding to global, urban and environmental matters. Fortunately this is contrasted by a selection of units directly challenging more explicit circumstances for intervention.

Standout units & students

Diploma Unit 11 examines the “City as Playground”, challenging students to derive counter arguments for the regeneration of Central London. This was initiated by a series of playful 1:1 toys that infiltrated the city to test existing conventions and inspire new visions of urban space. A collection of sampled urban fragments combined with 1:5 scale concepts for furniture makes an enjoyable composition of drawings and models on display.

Intermediate Unit 2 student Joshua Penk’s work stands out for his take on “the collected” and his wonderful model of plaster cast components and hand drawings depicting a house for the elderly in Bloomsbury. Also diploma Unit 5 student Regina Shi Qi NG for her beautifully drawn project for an amphibious fleet of simple hybridised constructions made from salvaged parts of ships abandoned by pirates on the Somali peninsula of Ras Hafun. The collage of travelling structures, built by ex-pirates, is employed in costal villages creating a changeable infrastructure for local activities and large public festivals.

  • Anthony Boulanger, partner, AY Architects


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