Studio leader: Virginia Mannering
In this studio, students will explore the relationships that exist between architecture and its context. Here, our studies will extend beyond the usual readings of site (the current and the physical, for example) to also look at less tangible but equally present and potent layers and forces (historical, political and cultural etc) as drivers for design.
Idiosyncratic projects developed via careful readings of ‘site’ will be the fundamental outcomes.
Student projects will be situated in the Melbourne CBD, a city that might have once been considered part of the ‘unruly edges’ of the British Empire, but is now regarded as a ‘Alpha City’ in the post-global order. The studio challenges established discourse around the generic nature of global cities, but also admits the difficulty of establishing identity in urban territories that have erased or obscured their own histories, and in cultural frames that resist immediate understanding.
Using the act of digging as a conceptual and methodological driver, students will design a museum for artefacts that have been concealed/revealed via forms of urban excavation (e.g. a museum for gold, archaeological finds, forgotten infrastructures, erased topographies etc…) and a method for reading their chosen city through close scalar research methods and investigations.
The semester will require both the development, refinement and questioning of the museum typology as well as ongoing spatial research conducted through mapping, forensic reconstructions, cataloguing and narrative production. Students will explore online archives for material from outside canonical architectural resources and methods e.g. film, literature, landscape art, archaeological reports and language studies.