If you’ve taken a look at the shortlist for our “facing the floods” competition last month what’s notable is that the entries are from right around the world, and although we personally have not had to deal with flooding recently in Scotland, it was inevitable that some people who entered would have. Having topical competitions like this we have now found not only generates useful discussion, but can also give people who have actually been effected a voice. Enter 160 students from Queensland Institute of Technology, Australia.
We were contacted by Glenda Caldwell, a tutor in QUT, who was keen to set her students onto the competition but unfortunately our deadlines didn’t coincide, so we have ended up hosting a mini competition just for the students there. We were really excited about this; it’s been an amazing opportunity to connect students around the world to humanitarian issues, and encourage their students as future architects to take on a role of responding to these disasters.
I’ve personally found it fascinating to see very conceptual and nebulous designs entering our competitions, and seeing students at the same stage as me step back and think nowhere near the box. But there has been a marked contrast between entries like that and the ones which we have received from people who have experienced the floods in Australia, which have been largely more pragmatic and tectonic- a reminder that these issues are very real. There has been something very rooted in the designs from Australia, and it is readable from their graphics and attention to detail that they have seen flooding first hand.
It has been great partnering with the students from QUT, and according to Glenda the experience has been great at their end too-
“The students from QUT are extremely excited to have the occasion to participate in Tesseract’s competition as part of their assessment. This is an incredible opportunity for them; it’s not every day these students have global exposure of their work, or have the chance to voice their response to such a disaster through design.”
We couldn’t let an opportunity to share this work go to waste, and so we arranged a small exhibition with a selection of the designs, which is now up in the Old Hall, in Scott Sutherland School of Architecture. Below are some pictures from the opening on Tuesday which was augmented with compilations of news reports and footage of the floods projected on the walls along with a stormy soundtrack. Next month the pieces will be moving to a larger exhibition we will be holding next month in a fairly big shop unit at the centre of Aberdeen, which will also feature a bunch of entries from our other competitions, and some of our own projects and art. Look out for a shortlist of the best entries we had from the Australian students in the next few days, and information about the big exhibition that’s coming up too- it’s going to be awesome!
Big thanks to Scott Sutherland School for helping us host the exhibition, and of course to all the QUTers who contributed!