Studio 15

Machining Aesthetics V5.0

Paul Loh and David Leggett in collaboration with Sterlarc

This studio is available to students enrolled in ABPL90143 Studio D and ABPL90115 Studio E only.
Note intensive schedule below.

There is no architecture without action, no architecture without events, no architecture without program. By extension, there is no architecture without violence.

Bernard Tschumi, 1996

Studio Agenda

Studio 15 continues to question technology and its implication on architectural space. This semester, we will shift our focus towards the relationship between event and machine. What is the nature of urban public-private spaces post-COVID19, post-BLM, post-Climate Crisis? At the same time, we are interested in the machine’s perpetual ability to generate iterative material and spatial outcomes from which, as architects, we can abstract and interpret as architecture elements, such as appetures, wall, floor, roof and stairs. We invite you to radically re-image the fundamental language of architectural components post-COVID19 and consider its architecture implications. Can machines facilitate and choreograph interactions, activities and happenings through events as a form of urban performance? What are the implications?

We will design a responsive pavilion or envelope system that acts as a social incubator, an urban lounge, a playground, a cinema, a place to rest, protest, gather, or be apart. Working in teams, students will design an architectural intervention within the new Science Gallery and Melbourne Connect. Successful projects will develop strategies to deal with dynamic changes of events through material and/or technological media and articulate the relationship between ground and envelope.

Studio Structure

The studio is divided into two phases. In Phase 1, we will examine the Science Gallery as a site to design, fabricate and automate a 1:1 structure over a three-day workshop. The workshop consists of theory seminars, drawing and making sessions – it is designed to arm the students with digital and prototyping skills. Students will develop material and structural understanding by exploring tensegrity structures and automating them using Arduino and electronic prototyping. At the end of the intensive workshop, each design team will present a proposal for an event or happening within the Science Gallery that articulate a conceptual concern (or trope) between event, space and machine. The workshop concludes with the mid-semester review.

Phase 2 allows students to further explore and speculate on the conceptual trope developed in Phase 1 into an urban intervention for the City of Melbourne. We will reflect on how technology changes the nature of events (social, cultural or climatic) in the 21st century. What does it mean to gather, to be social (connecting in person and remotely)? We challenge you to define a new model or prototype of urban architecture. How does it form part of our social network? If 'It' (the event) is a machine, can it learn from its environment? Where does it source its data? What is it reacting against? Can it be Virtual? Working in a group, students will design, and prototype their proposal at 1:1 scale to demonstrate a proof of concept - no paper architecture accepted. Students are encouraged to questions the nature of events through architectural articulation.

Drawings (axonometric drawings, plans and sections), animation (or render images) and physical models (1:25 model and 1:1 scale prototypes) will form the key deliverables as group work. Each student will produce an individual journal documenting and reflecting on his/her progress. This studio requires students to be able to use Rhino and have a basic understanding of Grasshopper.

Teamwork is compulsory and collaborative design will form part of studio assessment. Students offered a place in the studio must email a 5 page (max) PDF of your portfolio containing mostly

academic work to the studio leader: by 25 March 2021. This face-to-face studio runs from Week 5 to 12 with a 4-days intensive workshops during Easter NTW (7th to 10th April).

Readings for our seminars are available to download on the studio blog site:

Studio Leaders

Dr Paul Loh is a senior lecturer at the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne. His research focuses on the cognitive engagement of making in design practice with digital fabrication and robotics. He studied architecture at the University of Melbourne, University of East London (UEL), the Architectural Association (Design Research Lab). He gained his doctorate at RMIT University with a dissertation on Digital Material Practice: the Agency of Making. Paul has previously taught at UEL and the AA. He is a founding partner of LLDS | Power to Make, a Melbourne-based design, research and digital fabrication practice.

David Leggett studied architecture at the University of East London and the University of Westminster. He worked with Edward Cullinan Architects as Director for over ten years before establishing LLDS / Power to Make in 2011. His built projects includes the Bristol Harbourside Masterplan, Singapore Management University, the International Digital Laboratory for the University of Warwick and the Master Film Store for the British Film Institute. David teaches Master in Architecture at the University of Melbourne since 2012. He has lectured at the University of Lund and has conducted design workshops at the University of Tsinghua, Beijing. He is a founding partner of LLDS/Power to Make

Stelarc is a performance artist who has visually probed and acoustically amplified his body. He has made three films of the inside of his body. Between 1976-1988 he completed 26 body suspension performances with hooks into the skin. He has used medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to engineer intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body. He explores Alternate Anatomical Architectures with augmented and extended body constructs. He has been Principal Research Fellow in the Performance Arts Digital Research Unit and a Visiting Professor at The Nottingham Trent University, UK. Between 2006 and 2011 he was Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Artist at the MARCS Lab, University of Western Sydney, Australia and Chair in Performance Art, School of Arts, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK. In 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Ionian University, Corfu, Greece. He is presently a Distinguished Research Fellow in the School of Design and Art, Curtin University.

Readings & References


  • Tschumi, Bernard 1994. Architecture and Disjunction, MIT press.
  • Barkow Leibinger 2009. An Atlas of Fabrication, AA Publications.
  • Spyropoulos, T 2013. Adaptive Ecologies, Collerate systems of living, AA publications.

    Reiser & Umemoto 2006, Atlas of Novel Tectonics, Princeton Press.


Schedule Teaching begins 30/3
Tuesdays 17:00-20:00, Fridays 17:00-20:00
Intensive week Wednesday 7/4 - Saturday 10/4 10:00-17:00
Saturdays 8/5 and 15/5 14:00-17:00

Contact Handbook

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