CDE Studio 24
Here & Now

Studio leaders: Rob Nerlich and Kate McMahon


“Being qualitative totalities of a complex nature, places cannot be described by means of analytic, “scientific” concepts. As a matter of principle science “abstracts” from the given to arrive at neutral, “objective” knowledge. What is lost, however, is the everyday life-world, which ought to be the real concern of (hu)man(s) in general and planners and architects in particular……. (Christian Norberg-Schulz, Genius Loci)

“(design)….speaks of living and speaking places, in which habitation supports interplay between occupant and structure that leads to a particular kind of relationship. Good buildings evoke thoughts, feelings and stories. They convey stories about their location, their construction, and about the people who made them, have lived in them and use them” (Paul Taylor, Designerly Thinking).

  • The studio is a phenomenological, urban-realm and indigenous engagement approach to contemporary dwelling design, with group-based site masterplans and individual dual-occupancy “live + work” house designs.
  • The ability to critically explore architectural propositions at different scales was paramount, with group-based masterplans forming the first part of the semesters’ work and students required to understand issues of urban design, equity and indigenous engagement, sustainability and deep connection to place in our urban realm.
  • The studio then used the vehicle of an international student competition organised by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), “Here & Now; A House for the 21st Century”, with a curated theme as a small scale multiple residential project for two family houses with a ‘radical house’ focus, and a continuation of the process of indigenous owner engagement as context.
  • The site is one of pre-colonial and contemporary cultural value, a steeply sloping vacant site in South Yarra, located on the banks of the Yarra River with views to the city and to Herring Island. An area of pre-colonial natural beauty and cultural significance, the potential to critique the vernacular suburban neighborhood context and to embed traditional owner knowledge in the new built form responses together with planning and sustainability responses was heightened.
  • The intention is to understand and develop a studio-based process for traditional engagement across any architectural studio on any site; to develop cultural competency.  Here explicit responses are warranted by the intensity of the development, the value of the site, and the public nature of the “live + work” community masterplan exercise.
  • Outcomes were student-led, with all schemes incorporating some form of public realm vegetated spaces in the masterplan accessible by the broader community together with the approach to the live + work visitations. Outcomes researched both market and legislative/planning conditions, embedding responses to not only to indigenous engagement but also to market conditions, height controls and setbacks with different approaches to inclusion or exclusion of private vehicle use and sustainable design systems.
  • Encouraged by the competition brief, client profiles were developed in great detail to provide a degree of specificity to design propositions.
  • Individual esquisse house designs were developed continuing the phenomenological approach and connection to place, incorporating study exercises using repetition of tectonics as a means of anchoring, memory and cognition.

360° Masterplan Tours

Masterplan 1
View Masterplan 1: South Yarra Village (on roundme)
George Avraam, Ka Chung Lo, Adrian Chiodo and Luke Calabro
Masterplan 1
View Masterplan 2: Terrain (on roundme)
Amelia Griffin-Toovey, Bec Pike, Madeline Gundry and Shelley Mao
Masterplan 1
View Masterplan 3: The Canopy (on roundme)
Sandra Lin, Vineetha Babu, Daniel Chow and Wen Jie Lee
Masterplan 1
View Masterplan 4: The Urban Parkland (on roundme)
Zhi Yong Pe, Tianhao Zhang, Tricia Gillett, Aishwarya Pradhan and Xiaoyu Zhang

Architecture Senses Living 2020_winter