Thesis Studio 10
Inten(d)sity Ballarat

Studio leader: Dr Ammon Beyerle


St Andrew’s Kirk site has been central Ballarat’s most iconic medium-density residential development site for over a decade. At ~15,000m2 it comprises a gothic Cathedral, manse, community hall, large unkempt carpark, rubbled-grass, motel, former Loreto College and burnt-out St Josephs School building. In the early 1990s, Postcode 3000 transformed how people thought of central Melbourne, as a place to live – demonstrating how urban change brings cultural change.

Forward to 2020, this studio imagines Postcode 3350 – the opportunity to rethink regional city centres, as places to live. Ballarat – the capital of Western Victoria has little to no inner-city medium-density housing, and like most regional Victorian cities, powerful community representatives guard ideals of low-density urban fabric, affordability, and car-accessibility with aesthetic notions of heritage. Fringe development is proliferating, dis-integrating community, destroying the environment, and drying up the economy.

Can we explore another intensity?

Ballarat expects to double to 200,000 by 2040 and intends to maintain a “10 minute city”… Unsolicited, a consortium of architects and progressive developers have teamed-up with the Council and State Government to imagine an exemplary housing project in the centre of town. The selected site is walking distance from a 59min train-ride to Melbourne, and 200m from the new 1000-job GovHub and library Civic Hall Site. Urban intensification, via a wave of economic change is coming to the regions.

Through masterplans and design of public and private spaces, students will be challenged to investigate how new experiences of the self, the social, and material ecologies might be enabled and enhanced. Can fundamental urban design principles of density, permeability, and ground-floor activation transform a city? This studio considers concepts of difference, tension and agency in architecture to explore living in regional cities, restitching loved places into lived ones.

Architecture 2020_summer