Students from Edinburgh College of Art worked together with staff on an interdisciplinary project investigating the history of the Edinburgh Law School building at Old College.

The project took advantage of a unique situation where the students were developing their work in parallel with the extensive restoration of the Law School, to further staff and student understanding of the value of live projects to the teaching and learning experience and the use of the University Collections.
 

The four disciplinary teams facilitated different modes of learning through making, research and the curation of drawings and models.

The project was supported by a University of Edinburgh Principal’s Teaching Award.

Students were involved in a series of workshops
Image:Fiona McLachlan
Students were involved in a series of workshops

The project took advantage of a unique situation where the students were developing their work in parallel with the extensive restoration of the Law School, to further staff and student understanding of the value of live projects to the teaching and learning experience and the use of the University Collections.

The Architectural History students’ main role was in research and communication with their fellow students on the project. This involved archival work in the University’s special collections, and city and national archives and led to new insights on the architectural and institutional histories of Old College.

Illustration students considered how narratives of text and image could tell stories about the making of Old College, the renovation project and the people who now use the building. They explored possible illustrative techniques, including back-lit laser-cut metal and woodcuts, creating a design for a mural inspired by their visit to the construction site and the research materials unearthed by the Architectural History students.

Students from Design Informatics explored ideas for installations using digital media, interactive technology and motion sensors. Proposals include a digital curtain consisting of 1,500 neo pixels, displaying low resolution images that would be discernible only after a few seconds of observation and a ‘time machine’, allowing the viewer to understand the past history of Old College through a sliding viewing box.

Third year Architecture students joined the project as part of their semester of practice experience. The aim was to make sectional models through the north side of Old College at different historical periods to demonstrate the significant changes from the original 1818 (post Playfair) building to the proposed 2018 section, currently under construction. The four completed models are intended be embedded within the new staircase in the Law School when the building is completed and are a gift from Architecture to Law.

Professor Fiona McLachlan said: “Visiting the site at Old College was a wonderful experience, especially for students unfamiliar with construction. The project was a great opportunity for staff and students from different disciplines to learn from each other. ”

Students were able to visit the Old College site as part of the research stage of the project
Image: Fiona McLachlan
Students were able to visit the Old College site as part of the research stage of the project
The University's Principal, Prof Timothy O'Shea (far left) attended the exhibition opening
Image: Suzanne Ewing
The University's Principal, Prof Sir Timothy O'Shea (far left), attended the exhibition opening

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