Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape kicked off the year with their annual design Charrette; a giant, week long project where everybody from the whole school participates!
“Don’t fluff your lines” was our theme for the week and we, as a team of architects, planners and landscape architects decided to the give the audience a look into the ‘chaotic mind of the architecture student’. Initially our ideas focused on the silly mistakes that all architecture students make at some point during their studies. Forgetting the stairs was the obvious one here.
By Wednesday, our idea had evolved. We were now a group of individual architects, who had been selected to each design a floor of a new tower! The idea here was that we would all go off and design our totally over-the-top floors, before returning to assemble them, just to find that they did everything but work together. My floor was going to be a forest – not a garden, a forest – where giant oak trees populated the expanse, and rushing waterfalls filled the space with the sound of flowing water. Clearly this was never going to work, but that was the point.
On Thursday, we were joined by Dave Sherry, an Irish artist and performer who inspired us so much that the form of our performance changed dramatically. You can visit his website here: http://dave-sherry.com/
Friday arrived and the day of our performance was upon us. A symphony of smashing glass, trippy visuals, contrasting genres of music and strobe lights emanated from the projector, making the whole room feel very uncomfortable! We tempted the audience into initiating our performance by placing a big red button on the very front of our set, with a sign that read: “DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON”.
The chaos that ensued was truly representative of the drained architecture student; 12 weeks into term, alive on caffeine alone, sleep deprived and at breaking point. We each played different feelings and emotions, represented through decorated boxes on our heads in order to further portray the chaotic mind of the architecture student. We wandered like zombies, stumbling over each other and crashing into one another, aimlessly contemplating why we chose to study architecture. As tensions began to rise, anger followed and ultimately pure destruction would bring the performance to a close. The set was torn to pieces; A1 boards lay crumpled on the floor, models smashed to pieces and our cardboard heads battered and bruised. Seeing as we were trying to recreate the ‘crit’, we let the audience write their comments on a review board.
What began as a pretty chaotic week ended in celebration. Charrette week is an incredible way of getting all students, new and old, to mix and work together.
Here’s a short clip of our performance: