Studio 24

Birrarung Camps

Norman Day

Studio Description

The broad land known as Country and its custodians has existed for over 60,000 years, and will form the basis of our investigation for this studio. We will listen and learn with the traditional clans to develop an understanding and respect which will inform our design responses.

We seek to comprehend the broad reaches of the Birrarung and immerse ourselves into the culture of trails, camps and the stories that represent traditions and memories. We will produce responses which clue memories of country and people.

Studio Outcomes

We will develop and document an understanding of heritage and Country which focusses on the wealth of indigenous life and creative culture.

We will apply our understanding of context and place to produce sustainable and appropriate engagement with place alongside the development of strategies for land produced by partner landscape groups.

By way of a response, we will develop a series of designs for ‘camps’ which will be located along the river. They will respond to the creative lives of traditional people via their contemporaries and serve as discrete gathering places placed along the Birrarung where appropriate.

Students will design and document their responses, which may or may not be architecture as we know it, but will reflect on generations of Birrarung custodians and their values. They will develop their designs as 3D models which will encourage a tactile response from the community and form a credible representation of spaces located in Country.

(Rider) Our responsibility is to avoid any semblance of romanticising traditional, historic and cultural values – this is not to be a museum piece but rather the suggestion of a living, contemporary set of functional places.

Studio Leaders

Norman Day is an architect, educator, and writer operating in Melbourne and the Asian/Pacific region. He worked with Robin Boyd and Professor Frederick Romberg before starting his own practice and is a Board Member of Architects Without Frontiers.

His interest is in developing an attitude towards architecture which reflects community and lasting values not simply to do with the objective nature of buildings as commodity, but rather with intrinsic principles focussed -  where architecture becomes a constructed morality.

His commissions include the Heritage Listed Mowbray College (Melton), Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Headquarters (Melbourne), RMIT International University (Ho Chi Minh City) and Cantho University Library (Cantho City, Vietnam), PetroVietnam University (Hanoi) and Embassy for Timor Leste (Canberra).

Readings & References

  • Smith, Linda Tuhiwai, “Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous  Peoples”, Ed.3, ZED Books Ltd, London, ISBN 978-1-7869-9813-2, 2021.
  • Neale, Margo, Kelly, Lynne, “Songlines – The Power and Promise”, Thames and Hudson, Australia, ISBN 978-1-76076-118-9, 2020.
  • Page, Alison, Memmott, Paul, “Design- Building and Country”, Thames and Hudson, Australia, ISBN 978-1-76076-140-0, 2021.
  • Jones, David, Choy, Darryl Low, Ed., “Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Yurlendj-nganjin”, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK, ISBN (10): 1-5275-7017-7, 2021.
  • Kimmerer, Robin Wall, “Braiding Sweetgrass”, Penguin Books, UK, ISBN: 978-0-141-99195-5, 2020. (first Ed.2013).
  • Griffiths, Billy, “Deep Time Dreaming”, Black Inc, Melbourne, ISBN 9781760640446, 2020, (first Ed. 2018).
  • Sutton, Peter, Walshe, Keryn, “Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers?”, MUP, Melbourne, ISBN 9780522877854, 2021.
  • Pascoe, Bruce, “Dark Emu”, Magabala Books, Broome WA, 2018. (first Ed. 2014).

Schedule Mondays and Thursdays 12:00-15:00

Contact Handbook

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