After a lot of packing up and shifting of equipment, the School of Architecture finally arrived in Eldon West over the Christmas break. Even with all its problems and delays the space itself held real promise for the studios, and it has not disappointed.
Both staff and students work in closer proximity than previously in Portland building, with all 280 BA2 and BA3 students taught on the same floor, in six shared studio zones; our space works hard for us. Each bay provides working area for 24 students and it can get noisy, but the buzz of activity suits the work we do. Simple elements like shelves for models allow students work to be stored safely, and the computer bays are well inhabited. There is a greater sense of peer learning, and we now need to work on vertical contact between years, which will mean engaging with a staircase or two.
First years are sandwiched between the second and third years below and the postgraduates above. Larger studio grouping on the third floor allows multiple activities at the same time, and here the drawing boards are usually on the go. This is a light and airy space, open to the atrium and overlooking the roof terrace, although this is not getting much use at the moment! Colour accents in the furniture enliven all the studios and offset the white walls and grey floors.
The top floor is where postgraduate students work, and here the models of urban strategies tell of many local projects, and engagement with a diverse and water bound city. It’s very much a live-in space with multiple activities, students developing complex CAD drawings, model making, dissertation writing (with the headphones on of course), and there is a piano – though I haven’t heard it played much so far – to compete with the piano tunes that drift up through the atrium from the café on occasion.
The School of Architecture has had several moves in its 65 year history, this one feels a very positive step, and we will enjoy settling down and testing out new ways of working in Eldon West.
Do call in and visit us.
Head of Portsmouth School of Architecture