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In review: BA (Hons) Architecture Degree Show 2017

In review: BA (Hons) Architecture Degree Show 2017

Written by Hannah Wooller, Head of Conservation and Heritage, Hudson Architects.

On Monday 26 June, the West Garth courtyard buzzed with the great and good of the Norfolk cultural scene, all collected in evening sun for the opening of the 2017 NUA degree show. In nearby Boardman House the critical mass of the Games, Animation and Architecture drew the crowds from the more traditional shows and the rooms rang with laughter and chat.

"Architecture does not lend itself to concise one-image stories and the NUA students have evidently delved deep"

Hannah Wooller, Head of Conservation and Heritage, Hudson Architects

For me, visiting the 2017 Architecture Degree Show was a delight. Having returned to Norwich to work at Hudson Architects earlier this year, it was wonderful to experience Boardman House in full swing for the first time. The new circulation routes accentuate the artistic beauty of the building and in conjunction with the bright white gallery walls, the space provides the perfect setting for the regimented graphic money-shots of the digital media courses and the complexities of the architectural proposals.

Architecture Degree Show

Architecture does not lend itself to concise one-image stories and the NUA students have evidently delved deep to birth the concepts they have been wrangling with throughout the course of the year.

This year’s projects explore Belfast and its tumultuous and tortured history. As a whole, the exhibition was fascinating in its diversity of responses to this brief.

Some personal highlights were Andrea Radford’s re-positioning of the city’s struggles in ‘The Children of Belfast’ (a re-working of the Irish myth of the swan children, The Children of Lir) brilliantly capturing the anguish of segregation in the avian forms of her drawings and photographs. Also, Isaac Read’s annotations of the battle between valour and chaos was a fine example of penmanship in early graphic exploration, providing considerable insight into the skills required of our profession.

Architecture Degree Show

Nicholas Cassidy’s well considered conflict tower, which was best seen in the scrolling video of the portfolios. This in itself was a fascinating presentation; a page by page reveal of the depth and complexity of the students’ process. The curatorial decision to set the student’s models in a central sculptural arrangement worked well, and I particularly enjoyed the sophistication of Remy Bennett-Abbiss’ model which added a lightness and exploration of materiality to his bold proposal.

Now that the BA (Hons) Architecture course has firmly established its roots in Boardman House, I’m interested to see how the building may have influenced the work of the current Year 2 cohort for whom it has been ‘home’ from the outset. I look forward to next year’s show to find out!