• Maria Mavrikou

Week 02// 05/02 - 11/02


​OSA Magazine is a platform for documenting, sharing and publicising the varied agendas of students at Oxford Brookes School of Architecture.

Here on our new weekly update, we will be recommending arts and culture events currently open in London and Oxford. We'll also be sharing articles from our limited edition print publications past, present and future, so you'll still be able to read contributions from the OSA writers, even if the magazines are sold out.

Image of the week:

Our featured student of the week is

Shalini Gohil

Architecture Postgraduate First Year// Urban Design

Regeneration Project of Oxpens

Find more of her amazing work on instagram: @shalinigohil

OSA Field Trips:

MArchD 2// DS6

Havana | Cuba |

Havana Ooh nah nah… OxfordDS6 have definitely left their hearts there as they struggle to get back to the reality of final year….

After a whole semester of researching Cuba and the city of Havana I don’t think any of us were prepared for either the super cheap price of the rum or the extent of the food poisoning…

We arrived in Havana slightly worse for wear after taking advantage of the unlimited wine on the flight over. The look on the bus drivers face when we gave him the name of our hotel was our first clue of what the grand Neptuno had in store for us…22 storeys serviced by one barely working lift, questionable water pressure, and cockroaches on the bread rolls at breakfast. Our saving grace was the five-star hotel next door that sold decent coffee and provided a bug-free zone.

We all quickly started to feel the lack of internet presence, with one of our first activities being a group trip to a wifi spot where we could buy a scratch card that would give us either one or five hours of access to the internet. Wifi in the home is illegal in Cuba, and this is the only way that the majority of Cubans are able to access their heavily censored internet. For some members of the group this unique set-up provided a welcome break, with others very quickly experiencing extreme withdrawal.

The Old City of Havana, on the other hand, provided a treat on the senses, with the famous coloured colonial buildings and classic cars not disappointing and a real musical presence at every street corner, restaurant or bar. Members of the group really got in touch with their inner musician when we discovered the traditional instrument of the bamboo and stick, as well as the slightly better-known maracas.

The food was slightly more hit and miss. We quickly learnt to avoid any state-owned restaurants and relied heavily on Lina’s knowledge, or more accurately her book (The 500 Hidden Secrets of Havana), for navigating us to the better and privately-owned restaurants that could manage larger groups. These generally offered very similar Cuban cuisine of chicken-and-rice, pork-and-rice, shrimp-and-rice or fish-and-rice. Certain members of the group quickly learnt that pork-and-rice may not be the safest option, with one of the more serious cases of food poisoning allowing for first hand experience of Cuba’s world class health care system.

Not all our days were spent in the City. We had a great day exploring the national park Vinales, famous for its mogote hills and tobacco fields, where we spent some time on a working farm learning how to make coffee and roll cigars. And of course, drink rum like Cubans: straight. We also spent a day in the UNESCO biosphere, Las Terrazas, where we explored an old coffee plantation with a fabulous view point and then went for a swim in a lake nearby. A lunchtime vegetarian meal also turned out to be as risky as Cuban pork and we can safely say now that a few people’s diet will consist of only meat and carbs for a while to come.

Against the advice of many Cubans, we also headed out to the beach one afternoon. The sea was a gorgeous temperature for swimming and the sand provided a great platform for a good old-fashioned game of full contact, Run British Bulldogs.

The trip however was not all fun, games, and escaping architecture school. We had some very productive days collecting data and finding sites for our tectonic proposals. Part of the OxfordDS6’s brief has been to create wearable devices that collect data using our senses, as a way of researching our surroundings. We had been working up until the trip to develop the devices and ensure that they would be in good working order for their ultimate outings in Havana. Everyone agreed that we all looked exceptionally cool walking around the City in our wearables and have hopefully gained some unique perspectives on our sites and projects as a result.

Photos of people wearing their devices.

As a reward for all our hard work we made a big effort to embrace the Cuban culture of drinking our body weight in rum and dancing until the early hours. With rum proving cheaper than bottled water, this was not a difficult task.

Overall it was a fabulous trip and definitely a City that is worth a visit before it changes too dramatically. If anyone has any questions on Havana, Cuba, or the OxfordDS6 programme come find us on the fourth floor and we will be more than happy to answer any questions!

Events around Oxford and London:

Exhibitions:

The Building Centre Walkable London: Upgrading the Urban Prosperity Engine

Dates: Until 26 February

Price: Free

More Information:

http://newlondonarchitecture.org/whats-on/ exhibitions/2018/walkable-london-zaha-hadidarchitects


Talks:

The Way we Wrok

Dates: 8 February

Location: Central St Martins @ 18:30 Lecture Series

More Information:

http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/courses/our-programmes/spatial-practices-programme/lectureseries-/

Events visited by OSA members:

Maira Tzanidaki

MArchD 2// DS1

Rachel Whiteread - Casting out the negative

Whiteread’s exhibit at the Tate Britain this winter was one of the most inspiring over the last year. It included a landscape of plaster sculptures and structures to be experienced. Being laid out in an ad hoc manner, the arrangement was pleasantly playful. With casts varying in scale and materiality, some terrifying, some strangely familiar and homely, Whiteread casts everyday objects and spaces, focusing on the senses, and the story they tell us.

With little description or explanation, the exhibition is more than meets the eye. Each artifact is left very open to interpretation, with a small amount of research one can find the profound meaning behind Whiteread's cast of domestic objects. Some seem to aim at a more emotional response, such as the hot water bottle casts from the Torso series, that look almost humanely, and have a strange emotional effect to the viewer, while others are more critical and/or political. However, reading more into Rachel Whiteread and each of her work after the exhibition made me admire Whiteread for the profoundness of her work and her importance as a contemporary artist.

Whiteread’s casted sculptures often overshadow her ability to draw and plan her work. These are a crucial part of her processes.

1993’s “House” got a well-deserved tribute, separated from her other work with a series of photographs, and a fantastic movie showing the process of casting “House” as well as its demolition, 11 weeks after it was opened to the public.The film itself was an interesting documentation of the craft behind her work. With a huge impact in 1993, “House” is still more relevant than ever, and still manages to have an impact on the viewer, even from a series of photographs.

OxArch events of the week:

Oxford Jumpers

Message from OxArch:

Hey everyone, welcome back! Week 01 is almost over, and we have exciting lectures, socials, workshops and sports organised for you.

**New me, new jumper**, you can order our amazing jumpers right here:

https://www.brookesunion.org.uk/groups/oxarch/events/oxarch-jumpers-and-t-shirts-sale

You can follow the link below to the SU page where each item is displayed by colour and size, so just add the quantity you would like of each and follow the steps to the checkout.

Our jumpers are £15 each and T-shirts only £10!

!!! If you are not sure about the size, the OxArch committee members will be available with samples for you to check the proper size. We will be on the third floor bridge every weekday from 12.30-1.30 from tomorrow (02/02/2018) until next Friday (09/02/2018) when the orders close!

Have a fab week

- OSA team

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