Studio 04


Cities Without Country

Laura Martires

This studio is available to students enrolled in ABPL90142 Studio C, ABPL90143 Studio D, and ABPL90115 Studio E.

Studio Description

Rapid urbanisation and industrialisation have allowed unprecedented progress, enlightenment, convenience and economic growth. But at what cost? Soil and biodiversity destruction, disease, pollution, climate change are the biggest challenges of our time. As man-made climate change drastically reduces the world’s arable land, our food supply is jeopardised. The future of food production lies in intensive industrialised processes that make maximum use of land and other resources.

This studio will speculate on the role of the ‘Vertical Farm’ typology as an essential emergent type for the future of urban Melbourne. We will depart from an understanding of current and future food production processes or systems into how these can be verticalised and urbanised. We will be drawing on generative techniques, both digital and analogue, to extrapolate from farming and biological paradigms and to speculate on the future form of high density vertical farming and its implications.

The studio will examine the relationship between the architectural object and the urban field, and explore the role architectural design plays in mediating the tension between infrastructure and the public realm.

Studio Outcomes

Students will work in teams to establish a body of research and shared resources on the site in the suburb of Fitzroy, Melbourne. The research will focus on a range of topics with a strong focus on future indoors food growing techniques through design and modelling of systems.

A second stage will require students to work in pairs to further their research and design a series of typologies for food production with a focus on an initial understanding of the systems required and a subsequent speculation on its scaling up, verticalization, programmatic expansion and engagement with the city.

Projects will focus on speculative world building scenarios imagining how new live/work/produce typologies can reshape the way we live and use the city. These will be tested through the design, modelling, rendering and animation techniques using Unreal Engine 5.

The first half of the semester is aimed at building up research into type as well as a set of design and representation techniques in order to formulate a clear understanding about the site, the system and the conceptual framework of the studio.

During the second half, students will develop their projects focusing on the consolidation of their ideas as well as the rigorous development of immersive digital models that render these speculations. Rigorous and bold experiments will be rewarded.

The ambition of the studio is to design a series of provocative projects exploring the idea of food ecology and to visualise the consequences of this in both our individual experience of urban and architectural space as well as the environmental impact through approaches of speculative world building.

Studio Leader

As an individual I have always been interested in cities and how urban infrastructure, form or fabric can inform a certain design process. I believe architecture isn't formed in a vacuum and cities constitute an endless and rich field for research and design experimentation. These ideas have been pursued at different scales through my practices, MartiresDoyle (together with John Doyle) and COMMON (with John Doyle and Ben Milbourne). In both of these practices each project is seen as a unique opportunity to create spatial complexity from seemingly abstract notions of urbanity, cohabitation or socio-economical factors. The goal as a practitioner is always to create unique, complex and beautiful spaces that work as a connective platform between the context they're inserted in and their occupants.

Readings & References

  • Metacity Datatown, MVRDV
  • Farmax, Excursions on Density, MVRDV
  • The Omnivor’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan
  • Graphic Anatomy, Vols. 1 + 2, Atelier Bow Wow
  • Smartcities + eco-warriors, CJ Lim, Ed Liu
  • Vertical Urban Factory, Nina Rappaport
  • Blockchain Chicken Farm, And Other Stories of Tech in China’s Countryside, Xiaowei Wang
  • Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, 2017, Anthony Bourdain + Rockefeller Foundation

Schedule Mondays and Thursdays 18:15-21:15

Contact Handbook

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