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Monash Art Design & Architecture

Monash University

Monash Art Design & Architecture

The Idea of Architecture

This is a studio about ideas. In particular, we will concern ourselves with the transition from raw ideas to defined architectural propositions, from premonitions to material facts, from hunch to project. In search of a critical contemporary architecture each student will think widely, openly, and creatively to develop a clear and meaningful idea for their architecture, a singularity against which exigencies can be tested and evaluated. We will assume that an idea can take the form of architecture, and that architecture can itself be understood as an idea.

The above investigations will take place within the context ArchMedium’s international design competition for the new Berlin University Residences. Architectural design competitions have long been a fertile testing ground for the conception, testing, and representation of an ideas driven architecture, the results of which have often shaped the progression of our discipline. This studio will encourage students to continue this tradition and develop provocative and meaningful design propositions that both respond to and challenge the framework of the competition, and the trajectory of architecture more generally.

Set in the rich and complex district of Kreuzberg by the River Spree, and more broadly within perhaps the most politically, geographically, and intellectually contested urban environment of recent history, a city shaped and torn apart by ideas, here the proposition that architecture might be more than a response to a predetermined set of conditions, more than a clever solution to a set of functional requirements is particularly apposite. Together we will argue for the critical agency of architecture as idea, idea as architecture.

Dennis Prior is an architect and art historian. He holds a Masters Degree with distinction in the History of Art from The University of Oxford, and completed his studies in architecture at The University of Melbourne and the Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands), graduating from the former with First Class Honours and the Edward and Penelope Billison Prize for Architectural Design. His dissertation at Oxford investigated the relationship between architectural and artistic practice, and received the prestigious Association of Art Historians Dissertation Prize for graduate research in the UK. Dennis is a practicing architect, has worked at a number of leading design firms, and has taught extensively in architecture schools in Australia and abroad. In 2011 he was presented with a ‘Faculty Teaching Excellence Award’ from The University of Melbourne for “sustained performance (and) history of accomplished design teaching in architecture”.


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