Designing Living Systems

Subject leaders: Professor Alex Felson and Wai Kin Tsui


Designing Living Systems examines the contemporary use of plants, soils and animals as biological materials and ecological systems for construction. Starting with fundamentals, students learn about organisms, habitats and ecosystem structure and function across a range of natural to anthropogenic environments.  Students focus on plants as a living material to shape space as a design language emphasizing form, aesthetics and ecological function. Students investigate bio-technical aspects of ecological design to manipulate the interrelationship between animal, plant, soil, hydrological and climatic conditions and inform the creation of sustainable and resilient landscapes.

After learning about plant species and exploring urban species assemblages, or food webs, students develop a landscape architectural park project for the Galada Avenue Reserve. The park is embedded in a neighbourhood and functions as part of the Moonee Ponds Creek system. It sits adjacent to the Royal Park area at Parkville. Students reimagine the site as an urban food web that can function as an extension of the Melbourne Zoo precinct, as a water management system tied to Moonee Ponds, and as a contemporary local neighbourhood park and thriving urban habitat.

Virtual site visit

This subject used 360 degrees imageries as proxies to site visit amid COVID-19 lockdown and travel restriction.

Landscape Architecture 2020_summer