Setting Footscray is expected to have substantial residential growth in the next 15 years with an expected increase in population of approximately 25,000 people.
With residential development sites already under construction, delivering large numbers of new apartments, open land is becoming a rarity reducing opportunities for complimentary infrastructure for this growing suburb.
The Footscray CBD contains a wide variety of activities with layers of uses sitting on top of and next to each other. Few buildings are empty and this juxtaposition of use creates a vibrant identity.
Scenario Given the expected population explosion in Footscray new education facilities are required to compliment the existing schools and university campuses. This scenario provides an opportunity to rethink Footscray as an Education Quarter.
Studio An exploration of Footscray will inform urban strategies to create the Education Quarter. We will explore through drawings the existing urban fabric and wider social, economical and historical contexts. This research will inform and integrate into individual urban strategies and building proposals for the Education Precinct.
Studio Times Mondays 1-4pm Thursdays 3.30-6.30pm
Tutor Peter Grove, BoardGrove Architects
Alisha Vasudevan, Axonometric Site Plan of Proposed Education Quarter
In an area where multiple large scale developments are planned for high-rise accommodation, potential exists for a more unique offering to the vibrant suburb of Footscray. An education quarter is proposed including an arts school, student residences and amenities and sports and recreation facilities. By occupying these bigger sites with smaller scale development, the large scale development is prevented, which is a bland contribution to Footscray. In this project, plots have been subdivided to create a network of new streets, which not only reflects the block sizes of the surrounding residential area and increases connectivity and walkability throughout the education quarter, but also make it more difficult for developers to acquire the land. A network of internal pedestrian streets connected by squares and green spaces has been set up to further improve connectivity and accessibility in the area. This prioritises walking and cycling in favour of a high quality public environment that is pedestrian friendly.
Alisha Vasudevan, Figure grounds over time
Past, present and projected figure ground of Footscray, a suburb in the face of gentrification and large scale development. From these figure ground diagrams you can see what the projected footprints of area will look like by 2025 once the developments have taken over, which is far from the finer grain and unique footprints seen in the 1895 figure ground.
Alisha Vasudevan, Modules
A series of modules which make up the art school, residences and sports and recreational facilities. The modules vary in scale depending on their function and their size is reflective of the footprint sizes found in the 1895 figure ground. They also aim to subtly reference the character, typology and materiality of buildings typically found in Footscray such as industrial sawtooth roof structures, verandas, arched windows, and masonry brickwork. The modules have then been dispersed throughout the site, mixing and layering the program. The idea is that the education quarter can grow as the needs of the students, arts school and community grow. Modules can be stacked and layered and be used to fill in the gaps of the area. This allows for a diverse and vibrant growth of the quarter which works to build on the existing unique character of Footscray and avoid the bland character of large scale developments.
Alisha Vasudevan, Perspective 1
Perspective view of pedestrian network and recreation facilities.
Alisha Vasudevan, Perspective 2
Perspective view of student square.
Alisha Vasudevan, Perspective 3
Perspective view of streetscape.
Eilidh Ross, Axonometric masterplan
This axonometric masterplan shows the overall proposal which is woven into Footscray’s centre. The Footscray Circus School is intertwined into the everyday life of the suburb, encouraging all residents and visitors to partake in the learning and teaching of circus skills. The colourful circus school echoes the vibrancy of Footscray’s diverse population. As shown in this axonometric drawing, temporary campsites have been created to accommodate visitors whilst circus structures are permanent, reversing the traditional idea of a ‘travelling circus’. The buildings of Footscray have been updated to allow for circus practice to occur alongside existing program. The clothes shops have become costume shops and pet stores have become animal-taming rings. Tightropes and flying trapezes create new connections between buildings, forcing circus skills to become part of the everyday life of the suburb.
Eilidh Ross, Section
This section cuts through the central portion of the proposal, showing the interaction between the existing condition and the new circus school. The circus school offers varying levels of difficulty and encourages learning through practice, repetition and observation. The majority of the practice spaces allow onlookers to observe, creating performances throughout the streetscape. As shown in the section, even retail areas have been transformed into practice spaces. The costume shop is equipped with apparatuses that allow performers to test their costumes before purchase. The varying heights of the interventions create an immersive experience throughout the suburb.
Eilidh Ross, Footscray Market View
The word ‘circus’ often evokes ideas of exaggeration, fun and performance. By using the geometry of the existing Footscray Market as inspiration for the circus additions, I have created exaggerated and performative learning spaces. The market houses circus equipment and practice spaces. The red extrusions hold areas where learners can practice using the equipment whilst being on display to passers-by. As shown, tightropes connect buildings and allow for new circulation routes as well as street performances.
Eilidh Ross, Footscray Market Model
The box extrusions allow for performance and observation. The performer learns through practicing and the onlooker learns through observation.
Eilidh Ross, Lion Taming View
A pet grooming salon has been transformed into a lion taming house. The original programs of each space have been amplified to accommodate for the new requirements.
Eilidh Ross, Circus Makeup Salon Model
This building currently houses multiple beauty parlours, which I have transformed into circus makeup salons. The curving purple extrusion acts as an observation deck, whereby makeup artists can observe the circus performances throughout the streetscape. The form of the deck was designed to lead the artists towards certain areas of importance in the circus streetscape outside.
Eilidh Ross, Acrobatics School Diagram
This diagram shows the process of transforming a dance school in a residential home into an acrobatics school. By exaggerating the existing rectilinear features of the house I have created boxes that penetrate the outer shell, allowing for areas of performance and practice. The boxes are connected internally with ropes and ledges, encouraging the learner to experiment with different tricks and techniques at different heights. The glass boxes encourage a relationship between observer and performer, where both parties are consequently learners.