Tamed with a Smile

Tamed with a Smile

22nd June 2013 - 29th June 2013

Dudley Zoo, Dudley


Tamed With A Smile is an exhibition and publication which will launch at Dudley Zoological Gardens on Saturday June 22nd. It showcases the collaborative work of over forty BA Art & Design, BA and MArch in Architecture students from Birmingham City University (BCU).

In 2010 The World Monuments Fund added Dudley Zoo’s collection of 1930‘s concrete buildings to its ‘at risk’ register. The 12 structures were designed by Tecton, the architectural practice of Berthold Lubetkin, and are considered to be some of the most important examples of modernist architecture still in existence. Students from BCU worked in interdisciplinary teams, recording, responding to, and ‘preserving’ the Tectons in a number of diverse ways.

Tamed With A Smile inhabits one of the two Kiosks and draws on the complex and layered history of this and the other structures. The exhibition presents contemporary approaches to the idea of documentation and preservation, and creates a new physical structure to support these narratives.

The students from both disciplines have explored themes of decay, preservation and the legacy of European Modernism in Britain. Whist there is an undoubtable romanticism associated with this decay, the students have demonstrated a rigorous commitment to understanding the structure’s origin, its history and its potential future use.

Students from across the courses have worked with a number of external partners in realising this exhibition and publication. Partners include: Bryant Priest Newman, the architecture practice working on the renovation of a number of the structures, who have provided mentoring throughout; Eastside Projects, the artist run exhibition space in the City of Birmingham, who have mentored the curatorial and marketing teams on the production of the exhibition; and An Endless Supply, a design studio and independent publisher, who have worked with a group of students in editing and producing the publication. None of this work would have been possible without the continued support of all staff at Dudley Zoological Gardens.

The academic relationship between Art & Design and Architecture students is an ongoing exploration of interdisciplinary boundaries and opportunities, led by Stuart Whipps and Mike Dring. Tamed with a Smile aims to showcase and celebrate both the architecture at Dudley Zoo and the exciting and innovative work produced by Birmingham City University’s students.

This exhibition and publication has been generously funded through the Collaborative Project scheme, co-ordinated by The Centre for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching at Birmingham City University.

Follow on twitter @TamedWithASmile


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