Thesis Studio 06
Village Cities

[anarchical subcultures]

Studio leader: Ursula Chandler


Architecture is giving form to the places where people live. It is not more complicated than that, but also not easier than that” Alejandro Aravena

We look to propose an effective, affordable strategy that could meet the housing needs of Port Moresby.  Listed in the top 5 ‘least’ desirable cities to live, the capitol of Papua New Guinea is plagued by violence, corruption and poverty. 45% of the cities residents live in informal settlements without security of title, and access to basic infrastructure like water, sanitation and power.

As groups like the IFC attempt to step in where government housing agencies have failed, the city needs an additional 3,000 units per year to cope with growing rural urban migration.

Highly exposed to the risks of destructive climate events, new housing models are to be affordable, climate resilient and reduce energy and water consumption.

Through staged strategies, construction innovation and prefabrication, and larger urban and infrastructure planning are produce robust and long-term proposals, which expand architecture from something which is ‘artistic’ to something which attempts to address the forces that shape our environments; economics, politics, society and geography.

The task is to incrementally upgrade an existing settlement [‘anarchical subcultures’] through three structured stages;

1) Introduction of a sanitary block into an existing settlement,

2) Provision of a healthcare, education and community building

3) New housing proposal for up to 300 households.

The work covers all scales, oscillating between the existing and emerging landscape and geography of the site, down to the construction detailing and fabrication of buildings and infrastructure.

Siting addresses either;

  • climatic resilience and ecological context,
  • ‘as found’ urban & cultural patterns and conditions

Projects are located within the current cultural and construction context of Port Moresby, using simple architectural solutions to explore complex urban conditions.

Through detailed research, mapping and study of the physical and meta-physical site, we produce drawings and physical models, which demonstrate how conceptual ideas translate from a larger urban strategies down to resolved architectural detail.

Image: The archeologist Maria Reiche studying the Nazca Lines from the top of her ladder. Bruce Chatwin

Architecture 2020_winter