Concentrations of high density and high diversity in South Yarra.
This studio will undertake speculative design research in tandem with focussed fieldwork investigations into the sometimes-unexpected conditions of density and concentration to be found within South Yarra’s particular urban conditions.
We will be looking for what makes this place different to others; what are the underlying principles and parameters that determine how things are done; and what lessons can be learnt from the everyday pragmatics of contemporary building and living in a highly concentrated, dense environment. We will be looking at examples of localised intensity, identity and interaction, exploring the limits of ‘neighbourliness’. We will be studying both new and old examples – from the recent spate of high-rise developer towers to the cluster of 1930s ‘Hollywood-style’ apartments on steeply sloping land facing the Yarra River, including Beverly Hills and other local landmarks.
South Yarra is one of the most intense concentrations of recent high-rise development and apartment living in Melbourne, and will play a key strategic role in the future of the city, making up part of Melbourne’s expanded CBD. Students will be encouraged to experiment and speculate on future ways of living and urban scenarios by producing a series of experimental, speculative designs for high-density, high-diversity living on selected sites in the study area, ranging from rambling ‘mansions’ to hillside terraces to contemporary towers and vertical cities, all with an intensely localised evocation.
In the fieldwork exercises you will be asked to work as ‘urban detectives’ – looking carefully and analytically without prejudgement at what seems to be already familiar, in order to find new clues, and to re-discover things may have been previously overlooked. We will be looking with equal scrutiny at historical and contemporary examples.
In addition to individual student design outcomes, a group catalogue of drawings of local typologies, urban relationships and physical/ social conditions will be produced. This will be developed into a pamphlet and exhibition at mid-year, and will contribute a chapter to the forthcoming Housing Atlas of Australia and New Zealand.
Nigel Bertram, Practice Professor of Architecture
With Deborah Rowe, Research Assistant, Monash Architecture Studio
With critical input from Adjunct Professor Kerstin Thompson (who is running a parallel Masters studio at Victoria University, Wellington). A group of Wellington students will visit Melbourne and attend the class during the semester.
* This studio will introduce themes and research material around housing that will lead directly into a MAS Final Project group in Sem 2, 2014 (for those in M2 who are interested)