Monday, June 11, 2012

Modelling a fabricated dream world - University of Ulster end of year show

Each year I wander around the top two floors of the University of Ulster’s Belfast campus (the ‘Art College’) in awe of the architectural models and product prototypes that fill the floors. Wood, cardboard, perspex, trees with green fizzy foliage, trees made of wire loops. And then there are the hundreds of white plastic figures inhabiting the buildings, sometimes completely out of scale with the height of the rooms!

Last year someone had moved the Northern Ireland Assembly into the city centre and floated it on top of the roof of office accommodation on Chichester Street, while others designed a variety of multi-faith spaces.

Against the backdrop of St Anne’s Cathedral and the MAC Belfast, this year’s end of year show features plans for a Civic Forum near Belfast City Hall, an Info-Space (modern library or “multifunctional piazza urban sanctuary context”), a building entirely clad in greenery, enormous spherical lights (built around rather underwhelming low wattage bulbs), and an office block that looks to have been inspired by Enric Miralles’ window seats in the MSP offices at the Scottish Parliament.

As an experiment – though not an entirely successful one – I took some timelapse shots flying through the models. In retrospect it would have been better to take a shot ever half second (rather than every second) and to hold the last frame for couple of seconds to better transition between models. Next time ...

While blown away by the models and the creativity behind the plans that back them up, I’m always a little bemused that many of the students either fail to identify themselves clearly on the huge posters surrounding their work, and often fail to display the title of their work in a font size big enough to catch your eye as you walk over to their area of the floor.

The showcase of graduates’ work has taken over the entire Belfast campus – covering ceramics, fine art, textiles, photography, jewellery, architecture and more – and is open to the public between 10am until 5pm until Saturday 16 June (open late until 9pm on Tuesday evening). Well worth a visit.

Up the road, the QUB Architecture end of year exhibition is also underway in the Former Science Library (Chlorine Gardens). Doors open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm (until 8pm on Thursdays), running until Friday 22 June.

(The music on the video is "The Air Up There - ambient (gameboy Korg DS10") by Receptors and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.)

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