School Events: Concrete + Jam

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It is that time of year when students have just about finished their work for the year. Last thing on their timetable is the annual events, giving students the opportunity to work on more unconventional design tasks.

First event was a design charrette called ‘Space Jam’. Organised up by 2 of our architecture graduates who have now set up a new agency called Backpack Studio, the event is designed to encourage students to collaboratively solve a particular design challenge that spans across a number of disciplines and formats in a short intense period of time. The event was hosted by Black Tape Studios, a space recently established by another set of BCU architecture graduates. Between both organisations, they brilliantly demonstrated how they applied their skills, knowledge and creativity towards new enterprises to the new crop of students. It was exciting to see that they had also decided to base their studios in the Birmingham region and build up a network of activity here.

Interestingly, many of the challenges identified from the event were based on the difficulties faced with everyday usage of university buildings and initiatives to promote more integration between courses. Seems like things don’t go unnoticed!

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The second event was a making workshop by The Concrete Lady, a practicing architect in Manchester. Aimed at beginners, many of the objects were small-scale. Which although may not be very challenging structurally, it does allow for experiments in the quality and consistency of the material.

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Using bespoke rubber molds, fillable containers and then finally custom made casting blocks, the results showed the diversity of concrete and was useful in developing key knowledge and techniques that will no doubt remain useful for the remainder of the student’s studies and beyond.

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