University of Greenwich: End of Year Summer Exhibition
I ended my journey through this year’s Festival by visiting the Annual End of Year Summer Exhibition by the Department of Architecture and Landscape at the University of Greenwich. For the second year in a row the Department of A&L have held their summer show in the Sterling Shortlisted building designed by Hennagan Peng. It was a great display of the history, theory and technology taught by the school’s MArch Postgraduate Architecture, BA Architecture, BA Landscape Architecture & MA Landscape courses.
As Max Dewdney, Senior Lecturer and BA Architecture Design Coordinator, explained to me; the modular exhibition display systems are CNC cut to slot together with a series of precise and reconfigurable joints. The panels were designed to be used as individual studio partitions with a series of plugin components such as desks and shelves, as well as allowing multiple ways to display work whilst in exhibition mode. Almost like Cedric Price’s Fun Palace, in which a role of the immediate ad hoc designer was given to its users and could, at any moment, facilitate change. A key part of this exhibition was the way in which students could occupy and take over the given space. This approach gave the exhibition quite a coherent and well-curated framework while each student had the freedom to customise an individual module to their own needs.
All the units seemed to be dealing with a set of current socio-political issues on various scales of speculation. From chasing new frontiers of identity whilst rethinking our relationship with the ever changing climate, nature and technology to a series of hands-on projects implementing temporary and community-led action as a valuable strategy and the initiative to become a long-term permanent intervention.
Another thing that I really enjoyed about the show is the fact that the Department of A&L has hosted, as an extension to its exhibition, a series of Pecha Kucha’s on the festivals theme of community. That was a great opportunity to hear both recognised architectural practices such as AHMM, Wilkinson Eyre, Piercy &Co, Threefold, Flo and Barr Gazetas and the school’s students and alumni.
Architectural practitioners have the knowledge to execute and deliver projects. At the same time, fresh and unconstrained student minds have the freedom to engage with current matters of concern, expose assumptions and create work that challenges what you build and why. For that reason, it was a great pleasure to stroll around the majority of the Summer Shows London has offered us this June and see what may be in our Capitals future.