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Impressive work and ideas developed during Vertical Studio 2020

11 February 2020

Vertical Studio 2020
Vertical Studio 2020

Vertical Studio 2020 this year took place between the 20 – 31 January with 21 units running hands-on workshops for first and second-year BSc Architecture students.

Vertical Studio is a collaborative project run over two weeks giving students the opportunity to choose from a variety of different units, many of which are run by architects, artists and other practitioners from outside of the university.

All studios encourage experimentation and speculation, to develop design thinking in new directions. Students’ involvement in Vertical Studio is not formally assessed but by engaging with activities that go beyond the core learning criteria of our BSc programme, they have the opportunity to enrich and diversify their skills and experience.

This year’s Vertical Studio saw a huge variety of different units running, both locally and in other areas of the UK.

Students on unit ‘Bake my Wall’ (BMW) worked with Senior Architect Engineer Alexandros Kallegias in London and visited the notion of a wall through the theme of generative design and architectural computation. Their task was to produce a wall via a range of digital experiments and ‘bake’ their version of a wall for any given space.

Justyna Matuszewska one of the students who took part in the BMW unit said: ‘The experience was amazing, I learnt so much over the two weeks, it was a challenge but our outcome was brilliant and working in London gave me aspirations for the future.”

Bake my wall
'Bake my wall' students working in London

The unit ‘Make yourself at home’ was led by Dr Mhairi McVicar from the Welsh School of Architecture and local artist Chris Williams. Students were asked to make prototypes of furniture for the new Grange Pavilion, a community building in Grangetown opening in 2020. The beech wood used to make the prototypes was donated by Cowbridge based charity The Twt Beech Project, that is following and documenting the life of a much loved felled tree after it was removed. The students on this unit also had an opportunity to visit the Grange Pavilion construction site and meet Grange Pavilion CIO members and local residents.

Chris Williams said:

"The Vertical Studio was a massively rewarding experience for all those who took part in it including myself. The opportunity to work with a live project at the Grangetown Pavilion and receive feedback from clients and users was an incredibly valuable experience for the students. I look forward to seeing the furniture the students designed being used by the community at the pavilion in the near future."
Vertical Studio students working in new WSA workshops

Students on the unit ‘Futuremakers worked with Alessandro Columbano, Senior Lecturer at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design and Anna Parker from Intervention Architecture to create a series of usable and connecting play-kits or large scale toy structures that allow for users of all ages to assemble an interconnected environment; a playscape for the public. Outputs from this unit were displayed at the Vertical Studio Exhibition and were very well received by visitors who enjoyed putting the kits together.

Students play with 'Futuremakers' toy structures

Professor Chris Tweed, Head of the Welsh School of Architecture said: “I love the Vertical Studio because it brings people together to work on diverse projects. At a time of growing global isolationism, these students remind us what can be achieved through creative collaboration. We should take note.”

A full list of the 21 Vertical Studio units offered to students and further information on the project can be found on our website.

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