Javen Mao

With expanding irrigation, renewable energy and mining industries in the Mallee Region[1], numbers of seasonal and itinerant workforces have been increasing exponentially. The spurge in population is however unmatched by the availability of suitable housing provision.[2]

The recent Robinvale Housing Strategy Report outlined large numbers of workers sharing a single house with squalor-like living conditions[3]. The housing crisis, driven by the shortage of affordable and suitable tenure options, has become detrimental to the economic growth of the region.[4]

Sited in Robinvale, the thesis proposal will critique and practice the qualities of impermanence (people, material, architecture, ecology) to explore how the design of a temporal accommodation for fifty households can evolve and take shape under this idiosyncratic setting.


Housing 4.0: The Impermanence attempts to formulate a radical answer to our current demand of sustainability in our built environment that is related to nature and the anthropic landscape.

Human settlements have long modified the original landscapes to build shelters and crops. Thus, formulating the objective of this thesis proposal: the concept of “territorial reversibility”, it seeks to invert the traditional relationship between architecture and the landscape, that for many decades have characterized the act of building permanency. It seeks to challenge this violence, with gentle and ephemeral architecture that when deconstructed, leave close to no trace on the landscape.

[1] Swan Hill Rural City Council, Robinvale Housing Strategy Report (June 2019), 8, https://www.swanhill.vic.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/0387-Robinvale-Housing-Strategy-Final-Report-Working-Copy.pdf

[2] Swan Hill Rural City Council, Robinvale Housing Strategy Report, 8

[3] Sarina Locke, “Migrant workers living in squalor prompts council crackdown in some horticulture regions”, ABC Rural, November 3, 2017, 4:49p.m. AEDT, https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-11-03/robinvale-seasonal-workers-and-modern-slavery/9104440.

[4] Swan Hill Rural City Council, Workforce Development Strategy (August 2013), 15, https://www.swanhill.vic.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/WFDS_The_Current_State_-_Agriculture__Final_Aug_2013.pdf