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Monash Art Design & Architecture

Rethinking Urban Space in Northcote

I
The exponential growth that is currently undergoing in almost all of Australia's major cities has brought as a consequence significant changes in specific urban programs and activities. Many of these changes have been poorly resolved from an urban, architectural, and landscape design perspective. This studio looks at this phenomenon, and presents students with the opportunity to re-program and re-design an existing site in one of the most interesting inner suburbs of Melbourne.

II
To do so, the studio asks students to implement a specific design strategy, based on challenging the disciplinary boundaries that exist between architecture and landscape architecture. With this, students will discover (and will work with) the untapped relationships that exist between these two apparently different disciplines. The intention is to offer students the opportunity to create the singular experiences and perceptions of urban space that can be produced by the ambiguous spatiality that emerges from their combination.

III
The project's site is located in the northern inner-suburb of Northcote, where an uncommon, vacant urban space still remains. The lot is adjacent to the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church, located at the corner of High and Bayview streets. This site, surrounded by mix-use and different density buildings, is characterized by a four-meter level difference between the street level and church's ground level, a topographic gap that presents a unique opportunity to explore the correlations between architecture and landscape architecture

IV
To address this level difference, or gap, it is necessary to produce a significant topographic transformation. This means that students will learn how to design with topography, and thus create a hybrid architecture/landscape architecture public space that can resolve the present topographic accident.

V
Students will also have the opportunity to formulate their own conceptualization of what a contemporary urban space might be, in particular one determined by new programs that can challenge the boundaries between interior and exterior space. With this, the studio aims at maintaining the existing open area as an exterior space, and simultaneously at re-programming the site with an internal "public" space articulated by the four-meter level difference.

VI
In this studio, third year students will be presented with the challenge of exploring the potential relationships that might exist between architecture and landscape architecture, and reflect on a site-oriented project that acknowledges the importance of the redefinition of existing programs through a strategy that seeks to emphasize the importance of public open spaces in the urban fabric.


ARC 2003
Mondays and Thursdays from 1.30 to 4.30 pm
Studio leader: Isabel Lasala

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