Re-evaluating the Riparian

Studio leader: Alistair Kirkpatrick


Designing experiential and ecological opportunities through pathways 

“Paths are human; they are traces of our relationships.” 1

Covid-19 virus has radically changed the world in innumerable ways. An observable phenomenon in Melbourne was the increased use and valuing of urban greenspace.

Landscapes previously thought of as interstitial, suddenly become heavily occupied and rediscovered. The slice of Edgars creek, to be examined in this studio, is wedged between industrial and residential land. The path networks are not formalised and bridges are absent resulting in many ‘dead’ ends. It is a complex landscape with many plant communities and many more edges.

What does ecological design look like in a Post Covid-19 recession? How do we embrace decline? Can a recession offer new methods of designing with ecological processes?

Students of this thesis course will learn design methodologies/techniques and engage with landscape theories with a focus on phenomenology. Re-evaluating the riparian offers an alternate view of designing with ecological systems, identifying the systems /processes that exist on site, using those processes to generate forms then iterating those forms.

Re-evaluating the riparian thesis studio asks students to critically engage with the role of the path in landscapes, examining their functions and opportunities as a design tool.

1 Macfarlane, R. (2012). The old ways: A journey on foot.

Landscape Architecture 2020_summer