1. Melbourne School of Design Students
  2. Subject information
  3. Travelling Studios
  4. Past
  5. 2019


USA, New Zealand, Sweden, Indonesia


Studio leaders: Lauren Adams & Alan Pert

Drawing on the rich cinematic and techno-progressive histories of Los Angeles, we will use multi-axis industrial robots and custom-fabricated robotic filming instruments to investigate the possibilities of cinema as a medium for speculative storytelling. We will instrumentalise the coordinated movement of artefacts, property, ideas, and power from one space to another. Clearly defined possessions and spatial understandings will be radically revisioned: walls will cease to be barriers; topography will become a tool. It is an opportunity to examine the ways in which architecture and urban design are complicit in the commodification of public space and the infrastructure of our cities.

This studio is a challenging summer intensive, and successful applicants are expected to commit full-time hours during January and February, 2019. Assessment tasks will require significant engagement with advanced digital modelling, robotic filming, and fabrication technologies — both in Melbourne and abroad. Students will be strongly encouraged to make use of the equipment and expertise within the MSD Robotics Lab, Workshop, and FabLab.

During a 12-day visit to Los Angeles at the end of January, we will work closely with the MAK Center for Art & Architecture to undertake a series of structured city tours by foot, bicycle, train, and automobile. There will be opportunities to work with overseas institutions (SCI-Arc, UCLA), design practices, community organisations, and colourful characters. Students with accessibility concerns are advised to contact the Studio Leader to discuss suitability.


Studio leaders: Gini Lee and Tanja Beer

This studio brings together students of the University of Melbourne (Melbourne School of Design, Office of Environmental Programs) and the University of Victoria Wellington (School of Architecture) to explore indigenous knowledge systems (specifically, that of the Tūhoe tribe) and their capacity to inform and inspire new design processes. The studio will explore how cross-cultural knowledge systems can deliver new approaches to regenerative development, including understanding how Tūhoe perspectives of place and kinship can offer new approaches to our global-local environmental challenges. This is a critical question for considering the decolonisation of our practices as designers and one that begins to question the political process and internalisation of colonialist mindsets and ‘norms’ for the co-creation of our thriving future.

The Tūhoe traditional homeland Te Urewera, situated in the eastern North Island of New Zealand, is a densely forested mountain area with fertile river plains to the north and west, and pristine lakes to the south.  Te Urewera is an entity which has been granted legal personhood, holding rights and responsibilities equivalent to a person. During your visit to this lush environment, you will have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Tūhoe history, language, culture and place. You will be hosted by local tribal communities to learn Tūhoe values and how this plays a major role across traditional and contemporary tribal life. This will include working with Tūhoe governance systems, community members and stakeholders to consider design proposals that engage with local opportunities. You will have the opportunity to respond to a number of proposed reinvigoration projects and community facilities within the villages (e.g. wellness centres, recycling and repurposing facilities, workshops, playgrounds and other recreation facilities, art galleries, Living Building Challenge home designs, village layouts, food production gardens, orchards and other landscaping).


Studio leaders: Hing-Wah Chau and Clare Newton

This travelling design studio caters for postgraduate students from multi-disciplines: architecture and landscape architecture. The theme of this studio is ‘design for ageing’ which covers age-friendly community and neighbourhood design, inclusive urban design and universal access, landscape design for health and wellness, residential aged care facility design for older adults. This studio enables students to be exposed to current design practices in Sweden and draws their awareness of the needs of older adults and the global demographic changes of ageing population, which requires improved inclusiveness in our built environment. In addition to the intensive work to be undertaken during the two-week travel in Sweden, students will participate in design studios before and after the travel for site analysis, precedent case studies, schematic design towards their final design works at the end of the semester.

This studio is in collaboration with the Centre for Healthcare Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, which is a leading research institution in healthcare and aged care architecture. Therefore, this design studio provides a valuable opportunity for collaboration with academics over there and visiting exemplary Swedish healthcare and aged care facilities.

Students are encouraged to propose solutions to respond to our society’s needs. Bringing real-world issues into design studios can draw students’ awareness of contemporary issues and enable them to equip themselves with the capabilities to formulate corresponding strategies to cope with the ever faster changing professional environment.


Studio leaders: Amanda Achmadi and Sidh Sintusingha

This studio facilitates synergies between research, teaching and practice in the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. It is built on an interdisciplinary teaching and learning approaches, bringing together the staff and students of the Melbourne School of Design, Bandung Institute of Technology (Indonesia), and the University of Stuttgart’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning (Germany), three academic institutions with established expertise on the topic of informal urbanism. The three institutions’ collective international engagements will expose students to cross-cultural and global discourses on the topic and their translations in design engagement. This exposure will assist our students in understanding and responding to informal urbanism
as a global phenomenon. In the studio students will undertake two interrelated activities:

  • firstly, a survey and analysis of key contested urban riverscapes in three Indonesian cities which have showcased contrasting developments in dealing with informal urban formations, ranging from forced eviction, relocation/resettlement, to the more inclusive in-situ upgrading;
  • secondly, a design project focusing on one of these locations.

In the survey stage, students will critically observe and map contrasting urban morphologies and conditions that are situated along the urban riverscapes of the city of Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta where formal and informal urban developments have long co-existed. The three cities are located in Java, the most urbanized island in the world and one with a long and rich cultural history. The design project will focus on Bandung, the provincial capital of West Java where intensifying urban renewal and gentrification have gained momentum in recent years. These have situated riverside informal settlements, public green open space, tourist development, and high density upper middle-class housing developments as seemingly competing urban ingredients.

The studio will then address the question “How can we envision the in-between city?” The design project will explore how a more inclusive urbanism can be created or initiated through considered spatial and constructed configurations in selected sites along the
contested Cikapundung riverscape, a prominent green urban corridor lined with dense informal settlements, by integrating architectural, urban design and landscape architecture interventions. Anticipated ranges and scales of design intervention:

  • Mixed use building (residential and appropriate commercial program);
  • Civic building (library/market/community centre/educational facility);
  • Neighbourhood activations (green and communal open space infrastructure);
  • Network of public open space and urban amenity.

All design interventions will be considered, developed, and refined as a material, social, and environmental system.The studio attracts students who are interested in urban architectural and landscape design, urban design thinking, Asian urbanism, urban informality and socio-cultural sustainability. Expertise on these aspects is not mandatory but desired. Basic information and communication of principles related to such fields will be covered in the pre-fieldwork component of the studio.

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