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Monash Art Design & Architecture

Monash University

Monash Art Design & Architecture

Designing the Sustainable House

HAB focuses on the design of the free standing sustainable house.

The inspiration for this studio came from a project produced by Paul Morgan Architects in 2008: blowhouse: Life Support Unit. This project assumed the design approach to be one of ‘terraforming’, or the creation of a survivable micro-ecology, an example being the structures built to create a life supporting atmosphere in the 1986 film Aliens.

Drawing a link to the survivable micro-ecology, HAB students will be required to design two small self-sustaining houses, on a coastal and forest site.

Initially students will undertake a series of exercises reviewing and examining experimental houses from the period 1960-1979, then designed a free standing house for both a coastal and forest location. The first part of the semester will include a site visit to the Cape Schanck House designed by Paul Morgan Architects wherein Paul will describe the inherent design processes and Jo Scicluna will give a lecture and workshop on site analysis, house siting and landscape.

Patterns in nature
The design process students will be asked to apply design processes based on ‘patterns in nature’. Mappings of the coastal site as well as the local region will generate processes: wind forces; phototropism; fractal geometry of cooling igneous rock; shapes found in sea life: caldera (volcanic activity); wave movement.

Mappings of the forest site (and local region) will generate different processes based on patterns in nature: branching theory, structural optimization, BAL (bushfire attack level modeling), contours and geological sedimentary layers.
Paul Morgan will deliver informal lectures in the first part of the semester on the subjects of the design of the single house 1960- 1979, each located within its cultural context, as well as design processes utilizing patterns in nature (including the Trunk House designed by Paul Morgan Architects).

Studio sessions will be held in Paul Morgan Architects’ practice. This gives students a unique industry insight. Different teaching and learning relationships will be explored, including a peer review session. Object making as well as drawings will be encouraged.


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