Studio 06

Desert Futures

Charlotte Algie

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

Studio Description

'Desert Futures' will research new architectural possibilities derived from the unique qualities of arid zones.

Australia is primarily an arid continent - a climate category defined by low humidity, very low annual precipitation, and high diurnal range. Australia’s deserts are not an empty wilderness. Rather, they are a complex and contested space, with ancient history, rich resources and the powerful players of extractive industry. The desert of Central Australia sits atop a vast underground aquifer in constant flow, the Great Artesian Basin.

Time is uniquely relevant to the architecture of arid regions. To release heat from night to day, desert architectures rely on temperature control using mass. By designing mass, arid architectures can uniquely consider ideas for fluctuations and change in form.

In South Australia’s Simpson Desert, our studio will design the headquarters of a private philanthropic foundation. This foundation will draw from precedent including -in the USA- Kevin Roche’s Ford Foundation, Herzog de Meuron’s Berggruen Institute, the Getty Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Kahn’s British Art Centre, and, the Beyeler Foundation in Swizerland, among others. The challenge for students will be to devise a way in which their architecture can integrate institutional, climactic and ecological cultures.

Studio Outcomes

Students will develop tactics and approaches for composing a medium-scale brief on their own terms. The architectural brief will include: an exhibition space, an event centre, visitor accommodation, and a micro-infrastructure for fly-in-fly-out visitors. Considering drawn solids in relation to materials such as masonry, soil, earth, and rock, the studio will reference the vibrant tradition of solid/void differentiation in architectural history, exploring the possibilities for a sense of heaviness in architecture, today, and the weight of architecture’s walls, floors and profiles in drawn and designed experience.

Students will develop techniques for creating vivid representative, territorial backgrounds for their design ideas and representations, rehearsing new workflows to integrate and narrate digital territorial geologies and ecologies.

The project will proceed through a series of structured tasks where students can practise a range of new design processes to later mix, adopt, develop, integrate, hybridise or selectively edit. After completing a sequence of studies, students will quantify the various scales of the brief. Finally, students will synthesise brief with creative design exercises, to achieve a conceptually inquisitive design outcome.

The studio will encourage students to advocate for their ideas through a limited and highly curated set of key perspective views, in conjunction with a plan drawing -The plan will be the core experimental and conceptual document for this studio.

This studio will encourage students to work in teams of equal co-contribution.

Studio Leader

Charlotte Algie is a director of the office NN, founded in 2016, specialising in infrastructural, cultural and public architecture. Her completed practice projects include the Reverberation Screen for the Berlin Opera, recognized -among other honours- by the German Engineering Prize 2018, and the BDA State Prize for Berlin, 2018. Her current practice focus is a Victorian State Government funded creative research project. NN has previously exhibited at ArtOMI Newmark Gallery, dOCUMENTA(13), the Biennale di Venezia, Milan Triennale, the Yale Architecture Gallery, among other public forums.

Charlotte has taught design at a range of different international design schools previously, including Syracuse University School of Architecture, Yale School of Architecture, the UdK Berlin, and RMIT School of Architecture. Her most recent academic role was the four year tenure as editor of the Yale Architectural Journal, Perspecta.

Readings & References

  • Samia Henni ed., Deserts Are Not Empty, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2022);
  • Sylvia Lavin, Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernization Effects, (MontreĢal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2020);
  • Tess Lea, Wild Policy, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2020);
  • Felicity Scott, Outlaw Territories, (New York: Zone Books, 2016);
  • Nicholas Thomas, Landscapes: Possession and Dispossession, in Possessions: Indigenous Art, Colonial Culture, (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1999);

Schedule Mondays and Thursdays 15:15:18:15

Contact Handbook

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