Studio 16


Inner House 2.0

Joel Benichou

Studio Description

In the age of instant media, volatile trends and effortless global interaction, designers are exposed to a deluge of architectural imagery and content. Shallow adoption of ideas based on this content is widespread, often leading to stylistic imitation and the homogenisation of design output. The pressure on architects to produce innovative and popular schemes has created a new mode of rapid cultural appropriation and promoted a scenographic approach to building design.

Increasingly, contemporary residential projects are required to present the public with an amplified brand and be presented as a marketing object. Clients are looking for the viral ‘Insta’ shot or gimmick that will sell real estate and architects are obliging in an effort to sedate the client and grow their practices.

As designers, we should strive for an architecture that pushes back on shallow façadeism and objectification. The most important elements of architecture do not translate into imagery and a projects architectural identity should not be found online. Buildings need to be rooted in their geographical and cultural context and highlight the uniqueness of the region and the users. The experience, sensation and feeling of space is what remains once the pornography of airbrushed architecture fades.

Studio Outcomes

Studio 16 will provide students with an opportunity to develop a housing project that counters the superficial aesthetics and objectification of contemporary architecture. The studio will explore alternative design drivers such as time, place, experience, ritual, tectonics and culture. Inner House will focus the design attention to the inner workings of the dwelling with the ambition to uncover a practical and refined architecture that is beautiful in its simplicity.

Throughout the first part of the semester, students will be exposed to some of the conceptual and technical foundations required in residential design through a series of curated exercises. Working from a human scale and expanding outwards, a humanistic approach to design will be promoted. The work of masters such as Alvaro Siza, Peter Zumthor, Louis Kahn and Carlo Scarpa, among others, will be investigated and will form a part of the initial research component of the semester. This will provide a solid conceptual framework moving into the second phase where students will develop their proposal for Inner House.

Studio Leader

Joel Benichou enjoys an inherent curiosity of the built environment and a passion for seeking solutions through design.

Joel is owner and principal architect of the practice Benichou Architects. Joel studied architecture at the University of Western Australia completing a Master of Architecture degree, focusing his independent research on modular pre‐fabrication and residential design.

Joel has had experience with some of the leading residential design practices in Australia working on a wide range of projects and has also contributed to the architectural discourse having led Architecture and Interior Design Studios at the University of Melbourne, RMIT and the Australian College of the Arts.

Joel is currently registered as Architect in Victoria under the certification of the ARBV.

Readings & References

  • Boyd, R (1970) Living in Australia
  • Frampton, K (1983) Towards a Critical Regionalism
  • Heidegger, M (1971) Building Dwelling Thinking
  • Pallasmaa, J (1992) Identity, Intimacy and Domicile
  • Pallasmaa, J (2005) The Eyes of the Skin
  • Sowden, H (1968) Towards an Australian Architecture
  • Szacka, L & Patteeuw, V (2019) Critical Regionalism for our time
  • Zumthor, P (2006) Atmospheres

Schedule Mondays 15:15-18:15 and Thursdays 12:00-15:00

Contact Handbook

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