First place, Student in this year's Eye Line drawing competition goes to Chia-Yi Chou for her extremely skillful, fascinating folding forest, built on the concept of the fractal cube
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Chia-Yi Chou’s MArch project asks what happens if you optimise the surface area of forest using fractal geometry whose ‘three-dimensional fractal shapes create endless surface area, making it 1,000 times more efficient than authentic woodland for carbon capture.’ Using the concept of the ‘fractal cube’ Chou invites us into her virtual forest, but to do it requires the use of a third dimension beyond that of the traditional drawing. This is a fractal cube that seemingly unfolds and opens out ‘to elaborate on the dynamic and illusion of scale… where different scales of building elements are uncovered through the unfolding process.’
All the judges were enamoured by the evident skill and playfulness on display in Chou’s submission, which kept them wondering what was truly three-dimensional and what was not, or what unfolded and what didn’t, bringing a curious tension to the work as presented. They were fascinated by the wide-ranging Archigram/steam punk/Meccano-like conceptual references of her drawing sculptures and the consummate level of detail that had been worked into them.
‘I love this as an idea of how you can make a drawing, big in both thinking and presentation. It’s pulling everything out from two-dimensionality into three in a way that is totally engaging,’ said artist Begum. Power seemed unconcerned as to whether the it was a in fact a sculpture, saying: ‘It’s extremely skilful in terms of its drafting and use of colour, and whether it is or not, it conveys the impression of a three dimensional model.’ Shaikh also noted the image-making skill: ‘It’s a digital collage but then she’s printed it and worked in on it to create a mixed media collage and then she’s introduced the dimensional interactivity – impressive.’
‘The paper flaps enable the dynamic juxtaposition of different scales through the process, creating unexpected spatial illusions and enchanting visual effects,’ said Chou of her work – and Fernie was sold on it. ‘She’s doing absolutely everything that we want her to do. Experimenting on a climate future while referencing past aesthetics; attempting a DIY 3D approach layered onto beautiful drawings. For me it blows the other entries out of the park.’