Being a relatively recent graduate, my mind occasionally tends to fly away from reality towards the more optimistic and experimental skyline of the architectural academia. A place where not that long time ago I was investigating both who I wanted to become as a designer, as well as what my critical position on the world I live in should be. Without constraints such as client’s wishes, building regulations or tight budges, the student mind is free to deploy critical thinking, spatial experimentation and innovation.
I personally believe in architecture that is both propositional and critical, architecture that through its physical manifestation can communicate social and political agendas behind it. Students have a great opportunity to design that architecture. They have freedom to engage with broader matters of concern, expose assumptions and create projects that will make us think. For that reason, I am really looking forward to once again put my student backpack on and to see all the architecture degree shows that are on the festival’s repertoire.
As my personal interests lie in socially responsive architecture that commits to peoples’ everyday needs and challenges the idea of what we build and why, I am equally excited about the festival’s annual theme of ‘Community’. Perhaps there is no better place in the world to tackle this topic than London. I believe that in a multicultural city such as London architecture has the capacity to link local people, institutions, political and economic bodies. I expect the festival to gather all these entities and to open a collective discussion on the future of our Capital.
However, while doing that, we shouldn’t forget about our young architectural minds that, I am confident, will have their interesting say. In his book Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment, Reyner Banham argued that there are two ways of exploiting wood: to construct a wooden hut or to build a fire. I expect the 2016 architecture degree shows to be on fire.