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Monash Art Design & Architecture

How does one deal with an architecturally significant building in the city? What does one do when the building is derelict shopfront?

This studio will explore the way we approach expired architectural remnants. It is about the city, people, how spaces adapt, and how we relate and react to social and physical environments. The studio views the city not a blank canvas, rather a collection of layer upon layer of things, with cultural narratives, changing social attitudes, and fluid demographics influencing the built environment. Through this lens, we will interrogates the value we put onto heritage and the relationship between architectural merit, programme, and the public realm. Specifically we are looking at Crossley’s building, aka the Job Warehouse on Bourke Street, recognised as being among the oldest surviving buildings in Melbourne. We will examine the force of the architectural relic, and question its relevancy in present-day social and urban contexts.

The studio asks the following questions:
What is the value of retaining urban fabric? When does it become limiting? Who determines architectural significance? .... does it even matter?

We will look at the cause-effect nature of architecture and human behavior.
We will investigate modes of occupation, the human experience and issues around preservation.
We will study architecture’s influence on the site and city, and its role as an operator in the urban realm.

REMNANTS is an exploration of dealing with heritage and urban shells. We will interrogate the role of concept, position, and approach in the design process. Classes will be structured around the translation of the written word into 2D expressions, further into 3D abstractions, and ultimately into architectural space and form. We are interested in the ‘in between’ stages of the design process where the concept begins to take a physical shape. We will be operating at the scale of both the civic and the tectonic, investigating the relationship and junctions between old and new.

The renewed programme will be a studio, office and retail space, drawing upon the history of the building and site. Schemes are expected to acknowledge the civic needs of the site and engage with the social and cultural context in which the project is placed. Students are to demonstrate an understanding of wider urban issues and demonstrate an understanding of the implications that design gestures has on users.

The culminating body of work include a series of incremental exercises which translate a concept into a tangible space,. These will continuously feed into the final architectural outcome. Writing will form a part of the design process, with reflective critical texts accompanying the process regularly.

The scale of the architectural project is medium.


with Yvonne Meng and Phil Burns

Monash University
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