Archives for the month of: May, 2011

i visited the dundee school of architecture show on thursday 28th may; here are some things i thought about there…

a few spreads from dundee’s ‘level 6 portfolio’

if one was to approach the dundee school of architecture degree show from the street-out-front, the perth road, one would be embarking on a labyrinthine, almost-mountainous trek to the 6th floor of the matthew building. and that’s the experience of a person who has nested in the studios of the monolith for 5 years, such as i. sweet, aimless nostalgia radiates from me as i climb from floor to floor [is it so inappropriate to view so fondly one’s architecture school? it’s a bit sick]

it’s the first degree show context has visited; a coincidence of timings. and an interesting one – essentially the only end-of-year show i will see without the present context of other schools’ shows.

i’m interested primarily in the master of architecture exhibition – and it looks good, generally speaking – each masters unit has shown evidence of refining their portfolios down to a selection of exhibited work. this is an important thing to distinguish, that final review or final presentation displays are not necessarily an exhibition of their work, and that’s why i think the students and units have fared well in marrying the two [as far as i understand it, the work displayed in this exhibition is exactly the work presented by the students for their final exam.

some of the units [and their students] have found more elegant solutions to this final presentation/exhibition cross-over question than others. it’s becoming apparent while grazing along this scouting exercise because the drawings we are viewing are so closely engaged with their physical, experienced context; the wall they sit on, the drawing beside this drawing, the temperature of the light, the texture of the paper, the craft of that concealed suspension technique…   these things are unavoidable affecting, for better or worse, the presence of the drawings, on an individual and collective basis.

the dundee exhibition has shown it takes this show of work seriously. one example would be that it gives generous breathing space to the drawings and exhibited things, or that each unit assumes aesthetic [read ‘sensational’] control of their exhibition space. i hope to see more of this throughout this years shows. god, i’m rambling. end it now seán.

dundee has four masters units – macro/micro, urbanism, rationalist traces and material. one thing i particularly like about this degree show was the accompanying ‘level 6 portfolio’ – an a5 modest publication, a selection of drawings and written articles from students across the school. that this booklet is made off the steam of the students themselves says to me, here is a school [admin+students] proactive in constructive, peer-led criticism

“ A drawing of a tree shows, not a tree, but a tree-being-looked-at “
 as quoted in ‘The Thinking Hand’ by Juhani Pallasmaa, page 92 
[originally from John Berger, ‘Berger on Drawing’, (edited by Jim Savage), Occasional Press (Aghabullogue, County Cork), 2007, p 3]

“Context : drawing by hand / drawing by computer” is a gallery exhibition and associated events celebrating similar and contrasting studies by architecture students from across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. A curatorial and ongoing research project aimed at meaningfully interconnecting geographically-disparate schools of thought.

  1. A 2-4 week exhibition in a gallery in central London, of part ii students work [in their original mediums e.g. physical models, prints experiments]
  2. An anticipated 5 ticketed events ranging from invited guest speakers, a debate on the hands/no hands dichotomy, and prepared talks by a selection of students – acting as a framework for the students to engage attendees and promote their creative endeavours
  3. A printed publication to record the exhibition, events, students work, the curated collection, essays and transcripts
  4. An online database of works displayed