This year the Blueprint team and a panel of 14 critics travelled to student degree shows across Great Britain and Europe. After viewing hundreds of presentations from a diverse range of disciplines, here we have compiled their findings, bringing you some of this year’s best work from the designers and architects of the future.
Click on any school name to skip to their section:
Architectural Association School of Architecture,
Bartlett School of Architecture,
Birmingham Institute of Architecture and Design,
Brighton School of Architecture,
Bucks New University,
Welsh School of Architecture: Cardiff,
Central Saint Martins,
University of Dundee,
Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL),
Glasgow School of Art,
London Metropolitan University,
London South Bank University,
Manchester School of Architecture,
University of Nottingham,
Nottingham Trent University,
University of Portsmouth,
University of Plymouth,
Royal College of Art,
University of Westminster,
Architectural Association School of Architecture
Edward Pearce, Dip Arch, website
‘The toxic garden infiltrates the iron ore resource supply chain in Western Australia, specifically in Port Hedland, in the Pilbara region. Fine iron ore dust, the primary by-product of the industry, cloaks the surrounding townscape. The proposal, a Toxic Garden, is an innovative infrastructure, parasitically leeching from existing industrial facilities. The “Toxic Garden” has been developed through a series of dust and electrical simulations, rather than conventional drawing. The architect becomes a choreographer of effects and phenomena, rather than discreet built objects,’ says Pearce.
Aram Mooradian, Dip Arch, website
Drawing inspiration from the gold trade in Australia and the Aboriginal civilisation and culture that it disrupts, Mooradian says his work, entitled ‘The Comprehensive Atlas of Gold Fictions’, attempts to ‘[examine] the pathologies that we often take for granted, the fictions that we live and shape our futures by, through a catalogue of gold objects. Gold – our most precious resource – is valued above all other things not for its material value but for an entirely virtual one.’
Samantha Lee, Dip Arch, website
The Australian mineral trade inspired Lee’s work, which intends to ‘explores the space of the mining survey as a parallel site for intervention, where I have engineered a seasonal network of mysterious dreamtime anomalies. Anchored around aboriginal sacred sites these mythic objects slowly stalk the contested territory, distorting mining cartographies to generate a new form of landscape representation. These new anomalies of points and numbers, inserted into a purely economic dataset, are the ghosts of aboriginal sacred waterholes which have dried up due to mining activity’.
‘”The Second Community” explores an alternative identity tourism that goes beyond the virtual space of online role-playing games, the open desert of the Burning Man festival and the convention halls of Cosplayers,’ explains Hellberg. ‘Spanning half a kilometer, the artificial desert of the port isolates the person in a void of imagination where the persona of an individual becomes a fugitive and creative semiotic gadget which collectively generate a public space of radical self exploration an experimentation.’
‘GravityONE: A Choreography for Militarised Airspace’ examines the airspace above rural Australia occupied by miliary aircraft. ‘The remote territories of the Australian Never Never are anything but empty. The history of these landscapes is one of nuclear testing, rocket launches and black military technologies. The skies over this red earth are scarred with the contrails of experimental weapons flights and charged with the militarised electromagnetic waves,’ explains Lugojan-Ghenciu.
Wing Tam, Dip Arch, website
‘The project is a Vertical Cloister in collaboration with Gaudi’s existing, unfinished church of Colonia Guell in Spain,’ says Tam, ‘the project is consisted of complex textures which create atmospheric spaces of mist, sunlight and sound for meditation.’ Tam’s work is super-graphically charged. From ceramics, to Barcelona to traditional conventions of plan and side view, there are some super-techno charged drawings and models displayed on a table for all to see in detail.
Bartlett School of Architecture
Bong Yeung, Dip Arch
‘The Lee Valley Super-Farm: Institute of Fresh Fruit & Vegetables in London examines the challenges of food and fuel supplies that the UK faces in economic, environmental and social terms. The project explores potential agricultural technologies that can boost productivity and environmental performance: hydroponic farming and the closed-glasshouse system,’ says Yeung. The project was communicated through exquisite hand drawing and delicate paper models that convey the depth of the complex landscape that it occupied. Yeung’s draughtmanship is testament to the power of architectural drawing.
Erika Suzuki, Dip Arch
Designed in response to the quantity of paper wasted by the City each day, Suzuki’s ‘Her Majesty’s Paper Factory’ aims to provide sustainable production and recycling of paper. ‘The new paper factory directs its attention towards recycling this paper waste, creating a closed loop within the City in which paper is recycled and reused within the Square Mile, and there is no need to transport waste to other destinations,’ Suzuki says.
Nada Tayeb. BSc (Hons) Architecture
‘Deconstructing the conventions of traditional theatre and auditorium layout, this opera house offers a contemporary viewing experience to a traditional performance; dealing with issues of communism, censorship and propaganda. Comprised of three simultaneous audiences watching a single and constant performance, the audiences intermittently circulate to subsequent auditoriums which offer entirely unique viewing experiences. The versatility of the stage and performative spaces serve a didactic purpose of “indoctrinating” the masses as Chinese theatre was believed to furnish good moral behaviour. The theatre acts as a mechanism to implicitly reinforce certain communist symbols and ideologies,’ says Tayeb.
Steven Baumann, Diploma/MA Architecture
Baumann’s work examines the disconnection between humanity and nature in urban buildings. ‘Combing the programmes of necropolis, power station, and orchard, The New London Necropolis seeks to address our relationship with life-cycles in planning the contemporary City of London,’ Baumann says. ‘The programmes intertwine to inhabit the same volume and site utilising their allegorical potential to manage the interdependent cycles of life and death, energy charge and dissipation, and blossom and decay that are housed in its fabric.’
Birmingham Institute of Architecture and Design
Paul Watt, BA Architecture
‘This project creates a solution for spending foreign aid, which can directly affect the people of Stoke-on-Trent and global refugees, within UK shores by creating a global school for 3D printing,’ says Watt. ‘The project celebrates the arrival of large automated digital fabrication; the Contour Crafter, a machine that will change the face of foreign aid, as refugee ‘towns’ will be ‘printed’ within days, not years. Local businesses will educate up to 10,000 refugees over a three-year period, teaching refugees to provide and support themselves using the contour crafter to 3D print fully customized consumer goods, creating novel businesses and social attractions, which will entice consumers and visitors to engage in Stoke’s deprived economy.’
Victoria Crozier, MA Architecture
Crozier’s project creates a possible solution to the stoppage of waste collection by Dagenham Council last year. ‘[The public] set up a rubbish collection scheme and dump waste on land at the coast of Dagenham. The risk of flooding from the River Thames is high and local people react by creating sea walls using the dumped rubbish,’ Crozier imagines. ‘The barrier is a structure which reacts of the force of the changing tide, adapting, moving and growing when a need is identified. The architecture is created based on the knowledge that local people with low skill bases and no funding must resource these found objects [which form the barrier] themselves.’
Brighton School of Architecture
Matthew Jeniec, Architecture
Concerned at the possibility of gentrification in Brixton, Jeniec attempts to create a centre that would increase social interaction and mix cultures and societies. ‘The re-imagined BHC [Black Heritage Centre] proposes a symbiotic relationship between “institute” and “existing” through the utilisation of architecture as a means to facilitate new kinds of “social situations” and experiences within the existing community,’ Jeniec believes. ‘Rentable retail spaces (as part of the Brixton Enterprise Hub) sit within the BHC’s physical territory, allowing local businesses to benefit from the institution’s footfall as well as providing a more locally sensitive means of generating profit.’
Bucks New University
James Uren, BA Contemporary Furniture
‘The Luso lounger is a modern reinterpretation of the chaise longue. It evolved from looking at redundant furniture, and reinventing it to suit the way in which we live today. The addition of a footstool means that there are a number of ways it can be used: as a day bed, lounger, chair, footstool. The Luso lounger is an interesting asymmetrical form that is versatile and makes excellent use of space. The under-frame has been constructed using American cherry; the shell is lacquered plywood,’ says Uren.
Welsh School of Architecture: Cardiff
Angharad Palmer, MA Architecture, website
This project derives a method of settlement planning from analysis of the interdependence of the living components of organic cells. The starting point of the thesis is the notion that each component of the settlement has the ability to generate, store and distribute its own energy to every other component of the settlement. What makes the project fascinating is the way that the energy symbiosis generates such rich spatial and formal pattern. The development of the project through each stage of radical up-scaling is skilful and completely convincing. Diagrams, visuals and models are used beautifully to develop the narrative, and the absence of conventional architectural renderings comes across as a strength, not a weakness.
Ben Hansen, MA Architecture
As it does, periodically, prefabrication has returned to centre-stage in the architectural debate. We turn to it reluctantly, as we know that the most valued buildings are those that define the individual character of places. For this project the buildings are university research labs and the site is in Camden. The proposal is for a very permanent sculptured, concrete plinth with projecting service cores from which the transient accommodation blocks are hung. The form of the concrete plinth is derived from existing and historic contextual lines. It is an engaging idea, one often explored before, but this particular project demonstrates better than most how simple, mass-produced forms can yield rich urban patterns, provided the stage is set intelligently in advance.
Suzanne Prest, MA Architecture, website
A popular brief with students, the health spa demands no great functional rigour, provided the combination of space and setting captures a sense of spiritual harmony. Prest’s project starts from the right place: an abandoned quarry. There should be more projects like this, as these sites are abundant in Wales, overlooked but loaded with potential. The combination of cliff-face carving and embellishment echoes the beauty of Pueblo Indian cliff settlements. The project is expertly developed from its stringent landscape analysis through to its beguiling finished presentation.
Central Saint Martins
Anne Frobeen, MA Design (Furniture)
‘Simple Line chairs were created to help open up the body during sitting, a result of a MA research thesis completed at Central Saint Martins. Entitled Kinesthetic Imagination, the thesis proposes that by engaging the body in the design process, the designer is able to “see” latent design criteria, which might be overlooked using many contemporary design methodologies that are often centered around new materials or manufacturing processes. This project is a direct critique of the way that the design industry often pushes innovation through the use of materials, manufacturing process and the aesthetic that comes along with this,’ says Frobeen.
Jan Rose, MA Product Design, website
‘The Knitting Craftsman is a response to the ongoing trend of amateur craft making and professional rapid prototyping, resuming this craft technique to see what craft can teach us in the light of the present capacities of industry,’ says Rose. ‘Craftsmanship is a valuable tool for pushing forward innovation in manufacturing process and material production, therefore material and process take the lead in design thinking. Reusing knitting as a future manufacturing process is a critique of mass production, extensive consumerism and people’s perception of materials.’
Jessika Strataki, MA Communication Design (Digital Media), website
‘The Word Machine processes sentences from a database. It then attempts to map meaning in three-dimensional space using a set of rules of interpretation. The Word Machine will place the selected sentence in an angle in all 3 axes (x, y, z), each of which has been assigned its own meaning parameter of polar opposites,’ Strataki says. ‘The X axis stands for macro versus micro, Y axis for quantitative versus qualitative and Z axis objective versus subjective. The machine measures the meaning of the sentence by adding up the total of the key words within it, which have a specific predetermined measurement. These are defined in a growing Word Machine dictionary.’
Niloufar Afnan, MA Furniture Design, website
‘Inviting Surfaces begun initially through a four year length photography research on the cultural resilience of the Lebanese people, and grew from this research the development of contemporary furniture pieces,’ Afnan explains. ‘The collection of works questions the different possibilities of medium and form that can correspond to the associations of a table and chair. It is an exploration of new possibilities to fulfill common associations such as a seat, table surface or legs. To what extent does it affect our cognitive understanding of furniture? And how does it allow us to perceive solutions for broken objects?’
University of Dundee
Lewis Benmore, MA Architecture, website
New Nature: A Shifting Paradigm challenges the disengagement between humankind and a landscape in flux. It provides the portrait of a fragile coastal region, Walton-on-Naze, as a complex environment made through both endogenous and anthropogenic influences. For centuries man has adapted to this shifting landscape however recent attempts have been made to control the natural process of erosion. The architectural response entails a series of structures comprising a seawater desalination plant, which aims to re-establish a community within the fragile ecology that exists on the site. The physical manifestation of the plant engages with the backwaters, forming a symbiotic relationship between industry and nature.
Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
Brynjar Sigurðarson, MA Product Design, website
Sigurðarson’s project consists of a group of objects designed around an imaginary hunter. The items include a stool partly made from hardened leather, which becomes rigid when it contacts hot water. Another is a backpack designed specifically for hunting. The vague animal shape of the backpack is designed to attract animals to the backpack, unaware of the intentions of the hunter. Collectively, the objects Sigurðarson has designed form a group of extraordinary hunting tokens.
Glasgow School of Art
Daniela Corda, BA Jewellery and Silversmithing
Corda works in non-precious metals to accentuate the effort of craft as opposed to the value of the material, and her use of synthetic stones accentuates this question of reality. Corda says: ’My work is an expression of my passion for philosophy, cosmology, alchemy and time. I am fascinated by the ever-thinning line between illusion and reality, and so I aim to create a realm of curious instruments that are beautifully pseudo yet undeniably wearable. The symbol of the brain is a predominant theme within my pieces and I use it to represent the evolution of the zeitgeist.’
Kristina Cranfield, BA Design, website
Cranfield’s project, Ownership of the Face, questions the modern attitudes towards identity. ‘This project is part of an explorative journey that initially stemmed from observations of my own face. During my process I revealed interesting and unexpected pathways, which explored the human face as a representation of individual identity, yet it is subject to constant change and modification according to social environments,’ says Cranfield. ‘By studying how the face is manipulated, advertised and used as an image of corporate identity, I design processes, experiments, and devices to conceptualize my investigation in real world contexts.’
Matt House, BA Design
DITTO is a series of objects that reassesses and lampoons ideas embedded in others while providing a critique of design classics. ‘Copying is fundamental to development and social interaction, yet it is viewed negatively in education and creative fields. With new media, reproduction is engrained in culture, allowing us to embrace this phenomenon. How do individuals respond when you reiterate, reprocess and reclaim their property? We are the generation that remix, parody and re-enact. Go and henceforth copy,’ espouses House.
Adam Shapland, Dip Arch
‘The scheme explores the relationship between the “event” and the city through the subversion of performance in “everyday” experience and situation. It questions the notions of theatre through thresholds between the backstage of the performers dwelling spaces and labyrinths of the school and the stage of the high wire, subverting the mundanity of the emphasised “journey to school” as an exposed event,’ claims Shapland. ‘The structure itself is projected as a device, exploring a temporal facade which dynamically shifts its state to act as a secondary blanket of performance determined by primary instances.’
Adis Dobardzic, Dip Arch
Dobardzic’s project is a therapy tower designed specifically for American author Paul Auster. ‘The tower reacts to the emotions and progress of the therapy process, which is reflected through the skin and structure of the tower. As he [Auster] journeys along the levels of the tower, he is confronted by spaces that ask oneself to dwell deep into his past, whether it be through catching ones reflection in the water well, psychoanalysis occurring in the Freudian therapy space or writing about past events in the empty room,’ Dobardzic says. ‘As the occupant discloses his past the tower too starts to shed its layers. It begins to vibrate, cables swing relentlessly from the building breaking fragments of the concrete fins, as a gust of fresh air swirls through the tower.’
Leo Robert, Dip Arch
This project attempts to find a solution to a future problem: ‘By 2050 it [the Thames Barrier] will be superseded by the Thames’ expansion as a result of global warming,’ says Robert. ‘The proposal is a series of towers that cluster around strategic flooded (or soon to be flooded) areas, concentrating on the Thames gateway. These towers respond to tidal and storm surges with a series of seawater antennas providing communication between clusters offering potential for a large scale network. The towers are operated by currents and separate seawater into salt and fresh water through a desalination and salt raking process. The fresh water is stored in a giant tank, and the salt flushed through an archive room located at the top of the tower.’
Sohail Sarwar, BA Architecture
Sarwar’s three projects tackle three very different subjects. The first is an interesting study comparing two similar establishments on Brick Lane, one a carefully arranged exhibition of artefacts, the other a shop containing second-hand goods. Sarwar assesses the oddity of two neighboring buildings that are so similar in content but not in purpose. The second project deals with designing an abstract guild for the former speaker Michael Martin whilst the third is a set of designs for a canoe-making school on the bank of the Thames.
Alex Jackson, MA Architecture
Geotrails Network has been developed to secure a long-term sustainable economic and environmental future for the Dungeness Romney marsh area. The concept focuses on principles of Eco/Geotourism, in the form of interactive education, exploration and participation. The Geotrails Network Hub provides a visitor centre and educational tool for both the immediate community, and those visiting the area. It provides the opportunity for locals and visitors to become involved with the ongoing initiatives such as research and habitat creation.
Matthew Gisbey, MA Architecture
‘Unwrapping the Cloister’ proposes a scheme to construct a Benedictine monastery on Romney Marsh in Kent. Explaining his process, Gisbey said: ‘Provision for the austere and regimented lifestyle of a monk was the primary concern when considering the design. Factors such as the scale, access and existing use of the surrounding environment have also been taken into consideration in order for the monastery to sit comfortably in its proposed location.’
Pratley and Haines designed alcohol containers in the shape of fuel pump nozzles. Their idea was to raise awareness of drink-driving and its dangers. ‘It is an issue that, as students, we are very aware of,’ the pair say. Casts were made from a nozzle found online and their bottle designs, combined with the foreboding labels, intend to ‘force the consumer to think responsibly about the choices they make.’ Pratley adds: ‘The idea is that when someone is about to pour themselves a drink, the bottle will remind them that they might have been planning to drive later on and give them a moment to pause for thought and reflect on the consequences of their actions.’
Ben Lambert and Jack Llewellyn, BA Design Interaction
Designers Lambert and Llewellyn devised their website in response to the Japanese tsunami crisis earlier in 2011. Keen to bring together as much information as possible: ‘The idea was to create an information sharing network that aims to bring together people with useful skills worldwide to create the most effective information resource possible,’ Llewellyn said. ‘The website allows contributors to add content, from Twitter feeds up to custom-designed maps, or specialist applications… Aid agencies told us that, in some parts of the world, official news sources are mistrusted by the authorities. The great thing about this site is that it’s entirely moderated by the members themselves.’
Hannah Shipley, BA Graphic Design, website
‘Brand Medals is a modern-day representation of how people value success by the hierarchy and the amount of brands they own. Brands are similar to military medals as they are worn with pride as symbols of achievement. In this case the more highly regarded brands are higher up the display cabinet and have more elaborate ribbons. This project combines wry humour with a serious critique of consumer culture, calling for us to reassess the relationship we have with material possessions,’ says Shipley.
Jonathon Warren, BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design
Warren’s drain designs were inspired by his observation that many people walking through London do so with their eyes to the floor, whether it be looking at a mobile phone or a map. Warren then tried to design alternative signposts that were not above eye level. The drains themselves mesh well with the existing London signage and suit the calls for less street clutter from London Mayor Boris Johnson.
London Metropolitan University
West Everton Community have suffered 18 pub closures in the past 2 years resulting in private drinking, depression and antisocial behaviour. The landlords were key members in the community who knew people who attended pubs and sent them home when they had enough. This no longer exists. The mobile pub designed aims to look at a new model of a public house. Designed from a readily available shipping container the pub will be transported, to the neighbourhoods of empty pub sites, where it will house an archive of local history, a hairdressers, stage, and a drink station.
Spino’s took his designs for hybrids of benches and plant beds, which he created as part of his university course, to the Milan Public Design Festival. The multifunctional pieces of furniture were formed solely from reclaimed materials in Milan and serve as a good example of eco-friendly design, which is only becoming more popular in the 21st Century. Spino was also able to gain work from this exposure, earning freelance work for a furniture shop in Milan this summer.
London South Bank University
Anurag Gautam, Dip Arch
Gautam’s project looks at how cargo airships used for transporting and constructing tall timber towers could revolutionise the way we design and construct our cities. Gautam says, ‘Modern construction methods are inefficient, time consuming and they congest our road networks. These methods formed the tall monolithic towers of steel and concrete as symbol of economic boom for the 20th century after the world became scarred by two world wars. Today we face an environmental and economic crisis and we need to revise our understanding of how we construct our tall urban icons. 21st century towers could be made from a new revolutionary timber based technology that mimics concrete: Solid engineered timber. Its financial and environmental properties could make it a symbol of 21st century construction. It has the potential to change the meaning of architecture.’
Daniel Schinagl, BA Architecture
‘The bank of the River Thames is one of the most photographed places in the world. The majority of these photos are uploaded to Google Maps. These documents together create a virtual space as a result of the observation by separate individuals,’ says Schinagl. ‘This is a collective memory, a virtual space to which anyone can have access. This is an interpretation of the Gestalt phenomenon in the physical, human environment. We do not see our environment in its whole presence, although a place or spot can be described and defined in an objective or subjective way, too.’
Manchester School of Architecture
Harry Mulligan, Dip Arch
By utilising a disused canal basin in Milan for the location of his design, Mulligan describes his work as an attempt to regenerate the Milanese canal district. ‘Integral to the scheme are a host of environmental systems including a homeostatic double skin façade admitting diffused daylight throughout the exhibition spaces,’ Mulligan said of his design. ‘The skin reflects a mapping of the current fashion institutions within Milan, creating an aesthetic derived from the fashion industry of the city itself.’
Maryam Osman, Dip Arch
A peculiar mix of an IVF clinic and a pleasure boat ride, Osman says her building ‘derived from the essence of pleasure and purpose as sexual escapism.’ Osman attempted to blend the two separate ideas without making them one singular place, including a pair of crossing staircases where for a brief moment the inhabitants of the two sections of the building are close.
Jack Sawbridge, Dip Arch, website
Denis Diderot called for ‘Liberal Art’ to learn from ‘Mechanical Art’, for making to take precedence over the made. Sawbridge’s work focuses on design through the practice of making to inform the production of the object. This project, entitled Diderot’s Workshop, is sited on the French-German border. The language of tension and tuning is represented throughout the structure by a system of looms that are weaving the countries’ flags. Sawbridge’s work was exhibited in the Architecture Room at the RA’s Summer Exhibition this year.
Marialena Tsolka, BA Architecture
‘Bensalem’s Hydra’ was selected by the Royal Academy of Arts for inclusion in the architecture room at its annual Summer Exhibition. The project proposes a hydroponic landscape embodying the crossover between architecture, geology and science, and projecting the gap between the architecural skin and the structure: a hybrid effect that becomes the common ground of nature and machine. The original drawing is more than 2m in length and took Tsolka six weeks in total to produce, first drawing in pencil, then digitally manipulating the image before rendering it by hand in ink. Tsolka drew inspiration for the work from Gaudi, Calatrava and HR Giger.
Nottingham Trent University
Joe Oliver, BA (Hons) Graphic Design, website
‘The work I displayed was for a New Scientist magazine supplement entitled Ten Scientific Objects that Changed the World. Instead of simply illustrating the objects as they are, I wanted to portray the story behind each object, aiming to keep each illustration as simple and as clear as possible… while still allowing the viewer to read the meanings for themselves. Also, I think choosing the right colours is vital, especially with vector illustrations like these. The wrong shade could prevent the whole composition from working,’ says Oliver.
Kenson Lai, BA (Hons) Graphic Design, website
‘EYE ARE GRAFIK DESIGNER-ERRR is a project of quips that illustrates some of the generic clichés and honest truths I have observed in my years of a graphic design education. It came from frustration that graphic design is a tool for communicating but instead churns out waves upon waves of visual fluff instead of inspiring and different ideas. The book humorously pokes fun of said fluff others create but also the clichés my own work suffers from. The unavoidable nature of this seemed to be universal but never voiced, which became the basis of the project,’ says Lai.
University of Portsmouth
RIBA silver medal nominees Butler and Kievenaar’s ‘Bridge of Alchemy’ project sees a number of structures built into and beneath a rock face in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. The complex buildings are stacked with Moroccan tradition and culture to entice travellers. Astounding amounts of detail are squeezed into every drawing and the effort and inspiration behind the designs are admirable.
University of Plymouth
Oliver Blanchard, BA (Hons) 3D Design
‘Together the Breakdown Beacon and Guide, aim to protect motorists with limited mobility and others in a roadside breakdown.Currently, motorists are instructed to move away from their vehicle, however for some people this is not an option. Motorists who cannot leave their vehicle are forced to sit and await rescue, leaving themselves at grave risk of a fatal accident. The Breakdown Beacon changes this. The Breakdown Beacon is an innovative inflatable warning, which allows stranded motorists to alert other road users of the potentially dangerous situation ahead. Once slipped over the window, the activation cord is pulled, inflating the illuminated beacon to a height of over 2m,’ says Blanchard.
Royal College of Art
Bethany Wells, Dip Arch, website
Following a series of interdisciplinary live projects throughout the year, in collaboration with the Transition Network, this thesis project speculates how the area around Finsbury Park, north London, could become occupied, activated, amended, infilled and embedded with a new educational network. The Fairground Collective proposes an alternative model for higher education, activating underused spaces within the urban environment, and using the high street as an informal urban campus, bridging education, design practice and community action.
Robert Ware, MA Architecture, website
‘The Repository of the Eternal Now is an addition to St Paul’s Cathedral which builds itself in real time using data from the 41 Stock Market sectors that the Church of England invests in. This data is then embodied in the physical towers, which grow in relation to the sector’s success. The repository has a stark, securocratic exterior with a dynamic interior richly adorned with intertwining iconographies,’ says Ware. This beautifully presented project balanced the politics of the C of E’s investment policy with the exploration of technologies that would allow the realisation of the repository. Ware developed a 3D printer that could represent the data he harvested as physical data objects, which in turn informed his architectural proposal.
Helen Moore, MA Ceramics and Glass, website
‘Working with the language of colour, glaze, mass and multiple, my practice aims to create a dynamic and hypnotic feast for the senses. Inhabiting the context where analytical, sensual and material intertwine, this current body of work marries simple abstract forms with the richness of ceramic surface, through visually stimulating and tactile “wallscapes”,’ says Moore. ‘Each wallscape captures a metaphysical space where scientific and poetic, tangible and intangible, logical and creative converge. Connecting the seemingly disparate facets of my own consciousness, they seek an expanded understanding of the emotional and metaphorical capacity of colour within an analytical framework.’
Malene Rasmussen, MA Ceramics and Glass, website
Rasmussen’s two projects, ‘If I Had A Heart, It Could Love You’ and ‘Fire Walk With Me’, share themes and the same level of technical quality. The juxtaposition of fine, polished ceramic flames and ominous snakes draw in viewers. Of her pieces, Rasmussen said: ‘I want my work to look like a very skilled child could have made it, clumsy and elaborate at the same time. My intention is to create compositions that have an underlying story and mood.’
Ilona Gaynor. MA Design Interactions, website
Referencing Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s ‘Black Swan’ theory on the importance of unpredictable events, ‘Everything Ends in Chaos is an attempt to artificially construct a financial Black Swan,’ explains Gaynor. ‘Positioned in hindsight, and told through a series of fragmented hypothetical narratives that have undergone various financial assessments; from investment bankers and insurance brokers to loss adjusters and risk strategists, drawing upon the practice of insurance with the means to investigate and underpin the moment at which economical fact becomes fiction and vise versa.’
Kevin Grennan, MA Design Interactions, website
Grennan’s bizarre collection of pictures examines the evolution of robotics. ‘Much current research into robotics is focused on the creation of anthropomorphic robots – machines that look and appear to behave like humans. Although there are valid reasons for this research (and a good deal of egotism), I believe that this approach is fundamentally flawed,’ Grennan explains. He says his work aims to explore the edges of anthropomorphism and ask if this approach really is the way we want to relate to future machines.
Lisa Ma, MA Design Interactions, website
Researching passengers facing extended delays, Ma tried to find a way to entertain and occupy them. Ma’s alternative is a bike ride tour around the outskirts of the airport. ‘The project creates a dialogue between the visitors passing through and local residents that were deeply affected by but rarely in direct contact with goings on inside the fences of the airport,’ says Ma. Her hope is that the experience ‘brings together two disparate communities and leaves entertaining and memorable experiences for the passengers and a new form of activism for the protesters.’
Marguerite Humeau, MA Design Interactions, website
‘Back, Here Below, Formidable’ aimed to recreate the sound of extinct animals – such as the woolly mammoth pictured here – by reconstructing their vocal tracts. The major problem is that this part is made from soft tissue and so doesn’t fossilise. Only the bones of the long-dead animals have been preserved through time. These beasts’ bellowings were recreated by extrapolation from living descendants. New larynx and vocal cords, windpipes of estimated length and diameter, and artificial breathing produced by an air compressor brought them to life again.
Alexander Groves, MA Design Products, website
‘The Sea Chair Project’, which has the funding to become a fully-fledged ‘floating factory’, aims to collect and recycle waste plastic in the ocean. Plastic, mostly 2mm diameter plastic pellets of which Groves say there are 13,000 per square mile, will sifted from the water using a ‘sluice-like contraption’, with the plastic later reformed into comfortable plastic chairs for the local fishermen. Groves and his team plan to make the chairs in time for display in Milan next year.
Markus Kayser, MA Design Products, website
‘In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw material shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance,’ Kayser says. ‘In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology,’ Kayser concludes: ‘Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and triggers dreams of the full utilisation of the production potential of the world’s most efficient energy resource – the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers, this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.
Oscar Lhermitte, MA Design Products, website
‘Over time, society has developed a complex rhythm that demands we live in an environment artificially lit twenty-four hours a day, preventing us from experiencing the natural lights coming from billions of light years away,’ says Lhermitte. ‘The Urban Stargazing project focuses on bringing back the stars in the city sky by recreating existing constellations and adding new ones, narrating old and contemporary myths about London. Twelve groups of stars have been installed at different locations in the city, and can only be observed by the naked eye at night time. The brightness intensity is so subtle that one might not even notice them.’
Liam Reeves, MA Ceramics and Glass, website
‘As technology advances, the ways that we perceive, understand, and influence the world around us are also changing. The concept of craftsmanship itself is transforming; skill in using digital media has become comparable to skill in manipulating molten glass or other materials,’ says Reeves. ‘This work uses the tradition, technique and language of glassblowing as a lens through which to explore the effect these kinds of technological advance have on the way that we interface with our environment, and ultimately their inherent transience as innovations are superseded in their own evolution.’
Neil Cooke, MA Architecture
This project aims to promote the reuse of heritage sites for touristic and regenerative use in Blackpool, as a reaction to the council’s tendency to denigrate old buildings in the pursuit of modernity. It proposes an airship mooring station at the top of the Blackpool Tower, with an elegant hotel added to the rooftop of the existing base; restoring its ballroom and circus wings and creating a vibrant ‘street life’ around a central atrium, with views straight up through a glazed screen to the tower itself. In contrast to the complexity of the tower, the 52-room hotel (matching the 52 passenger capacity of the airship) is all about legibility and clarity.
Toby Knipping, MA Architecture
‘Repurposing Ruin explores the past and future of St. Peter’s Seminary in Cardross – a modern monastic ruin. The aesthetics of decay are celebrated in a programme that brings together process involving Wood, Whiskey, Fire & Water,’ says Knipping. ‘A single malt scotch whiskey distillery and woodworking educational facility bring new layers of life and overgrowth to the brutal structure and the arboreal estate that it occupies. The project imagines a remote heterotopia where the commanding ruin acts as a backdrop to industry and activity that connects local desires with national significance that will ultimately contribute new layers of archaeology…. Space and Light becomes Substance and Shadow.’
Kenzaf Chung, Diploma Architecture, website
The idea of Chung’s ‘Breathing Platform’ is to ‘create a breathing platform which will rise with the rising sea levels, providing a possible habitation for human society in the future. The breathing platform will be a sustainable form of living, having a factory for seafood processing and a factory for container manufacturing at the highest level with dwelling spaces, growing places and social functions below water ready and waiting for use when the sea level rises and floods the town of Whitstable.
Andrew Cumine, Diploma Architecture
Cumine’s project, ‘Royal Laundry’, involved the designing of ‘a Royal Laundry facility for all the textiles and tapestries housed in Madrid’s royal palace,’ Cumine explains. ‘The laundry exhibits the monumental scale of the domestic by exposing the domestic scale of the royal. The codes and processes of cleaning organize sorting, washing, drying and repairs into viewable territories, and re-curate the royal treasures and the royal everyday.’
David Charlton, Diploma Architecture
‘Plaza de la Luna is an accidental square, the result of civil war bombing. The random disappearance of two city blocks in central Madrid exposed four ordinary street elevations to unexpected status,’ says Charlton. ‘The bomb crater created an opportunity for a 4-storey underground car park, except that the absent topography had to be artificially reinstated above its flat roof to join up the marooned entrances and rooms on the periphery… The project imagines a partial u-turn, excavating back to the car park roof as a datum for a new strategy.’
Keir Alexander, Diploma Architecture
Alexander’s work depicts the renovation of one of Madrid’s more famous squares. ‘The design thesis was realised in two parts: the first, an analytical unpicking of Madrid’s famous Plaza Mayor, an outstanding example of a grand baroque urban gesture,’ explains Alexander. ‘The project then imagines applying such urban ambitions to a contemporary setting, in the bohemian district of Malasaña. A project conceived by modern egalitarian principles rather than by the conceits of kings.’
Rowan Sloss, Diploma Architecture, website
‘Told across several books of text and images, including The PARADISE Guide to Ávila and The Instaurative House, the PARADISE project – a research hotel, a retreat, a garden – is a concrete proposal for a place that will exist in the mind as much as in steel and wood,’ Sloss says.
Thanks to our critic panel, who each year take the time to visit the shows and select the best work.
Alex Warnock-Smith, website
Esme Fieldhouse, website
David Howarth, website
Torange Khonsari, website
Alyn Griffiths, website
Paul Kelsall, website
Ajmir Kandola, website
Michael Hudson, website
Graham Modlen, website
Nelly Ben Hayoun, website
Johnathan Adam, website
Veronica Simpson, website
and Jean Wang