When our dear friends at Cardiff University knocked on our door and asked for some sparkling new “Vertical Studio” content, we jumped at the chance—before scrambling to our computers to look up “what is Vertical Studio?” and saw that it’s pretty cool, actually…
Students from both first and second year on the Welsh School of Architecture’s BSc courses get to spend two whole weeks going from ideation all the way through to construction and delivery. That is to say, meeting with clients, conducting their research, dazzling them with their brilliant ideas, and building ‘em!
The Architecture students got to pick from a whole host of speculative experimental Studios. So many in fact, that we could just about juggle filming three!
- Future Makers: This one was all about play kits of the future with a focus on recyclable materials.
- Access and Inclusion: A deep dive into immersive theatre for those with disabilities; assessing and responding to inclusivity within performance spaces.
- Make Yourself at Home: No space? No problem. Here they went to work designing and building space-saving multiple-use furniture for a local community hub.
Spoiled for choice…
After seeing the sheer breadth of creativity that would be on display, Mari laced her steel-toe-capped boots, dressed in her hi-vis best and donned a devilishly handsome hard hat and set about scoping out the locations for their best angles, as well as interviewing the students and lecturers taking part.
With three different Studios over two weeks, nine different locations and just one Mari, this was going to need some serious forethought. Our trusty production team, Amy and Natalie, set to it in their happy universe of spreadsheets and Airtables to ensure no site visit, workshop or exhibition was missed. Natalie even got to handle her first camera and squeeze in some novice filming!
It was great seeing the students throw themselves into varying scenarios outside the classroom, from taking part in classes run by inclusive community theatre group, Hijinx, to visiting the Grange Pavillion community hub. They were super focussed on getting those designs down, rolling up their sleeves and getting straight down to business.
We were super stoked to see the results of the Studios at the final exhibition—and it didn’t disappoint! A super slick chair with dedicated bag space underneath?! Genius. Supersized fully-recycled play kits for building (and knocking down)?! Nailed it. Colourful, perfectly scaled dioramas of fantasy animals for theatre inclusivity?! HOME FREAKIN’ RUN.