Master of Architecture Studio A/B

Information regarding Master of Architecture Studio A (Semester 1) and Studio B (Semester 2).

Studio A: 'a' is for Architecture

Laura Martires and Marijke Davey

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

David Foster Wallace, excerpt from the speech“This is Water”

This is Architecture; an introduction to architectural tools, process and methods.

People often say to architects something along the lines of, oh, you’re an architect? I don’t know anything about architecture. This, of course, is false. Almost everyone in the modern world has spent their lives surrounded by architecture—tugging on its door handles, gazing through its windows, bemoaning its shotty construction when the roof leaks or the cold outside seeps through the walls. We are all lifetime owner/operators of architecture and we know lots about it. Or take for example cooking; just because you are not a chef, it does not mean you don’t know anything about food or cooking.

So what then defines the difference between the home cook and the chef? It lies in the time taken to re-learn how to chop an onion, properly. Rigour, understanding, discipline, technical excellence, dexterity, control, a mission, a vision—a wealth of tools, methodologies and conceptual understanding that gives the chef mastery over a discipline and the choice to cook with purpose. It is much the same with architecture. It is firstly a new way of seeing what has been around you all the time. A diciplined way of, noticing, measuring, understanding, and looking with a critical eye at the day-to-day fabric that frames our lives.

In this studio, students will be introduced to architectural thinking, tools and methods.

Rather than providing a single path, this course is taught in a series of three vignettes, each encompassing a different methodology for operating as a designer and problem solver. The vignettes are structurally independent from one another, but build in their complexity, scale and the amount of architectural tools required to complete them. Each vignette provides not only a diversity of tools, but also a survey of pedagogies.

While the studio embraces that there are many ways to approach the problem of design, the sequence of vignettes will instill a strong understanding of the foundations of excellent design practice. Those foundations include;

  • Seeing the spatial and material composition of all things
  • The ability to do spatial and conceptual analysis+Attention to detail, rigour and time-management
  • Understanding of basic architectural drawing types
  • The ability to meaningfully analyse precedents and apply that analysis to new proposals
  • The ability to use digital and analogue tools with control, specificity, and for the right task
  • Agility in responding to constraints
  • Understanding of the purpose of iteration,variation and experimentation
  • Ability to work in a team and negotiate
  • Understanding of the city as construct

Lecture Mondays 17:15-18:15 in PAR- Physics South-L105 (Hercus Theatre)
Studios Mondays 18:15-21:15 and Thursdays 18:15-21:15 in MSD Rooms 124 and 213

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Studio B: Discipline

Dennis Prior

Studio B

Studio Description:

This studio is offered as ABPL90285. This is a studio concerned with the discipline of architecture.

Noun. The architectural discipline.

In this studio we will engage directly with the specificity of architectural knowledge. Through careful analysis of precedent projects students will be encouraged to come to terms with the nuanced and dense language of our discipline, investigating and working with the rules, codes, conventions, and techniques that define and support the practice of architecture. This studio will argue that creative, thoughtful and progressive practice can be achieved by leveraging the collective knowledge of the discipline.

Verb. The discipline of doing architecture.

Architecture is hard. The contemporary architect works in a complex environment of many competing demands where too often in the face of this complexity there is a reflex to the general, the vague, the close enough. In this studio we will work with rigour, repetition, and refinement. We will be careful, exact and specific. We will draw and build with intent, engaging the potential of established techniques of representation. We will be disciplined in our pursuit of the discipline.

Studio Leaders:

Dennis Prior and Michael Barraclough are directors of Object Subject Architecture.

Dennis is a Lecturer in Architectural Design at the University of Melbourne where he is responsible for coordinating design studios at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He completed his studies at The University of Oxford, The University of Melbourne and the Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands).

Michael has over a decade of experience in architectural practice having previously worked with John Wardle Architects, Lab Architecture Studio and Cecil Balmond Studio. He was educated in the United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark, and holds a Master of Architecture and Urbanism with distinction from the Architectural Association in London.

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