Florence, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Mandvi, Monterray, Nanjing, and Porto

Florence, Italy

Studio Leader: Dr. Chris Ryan

This studio will address the VEIL proposition of Eco-acupuncture within the historical UNESCO world heritage area of central Florence including the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of government to look at what is possible to do within the UNESCO/Italy laws for historic buildings in terms of new interventions to create sustainable networks, communities and infrastructure. We will look at the possibilities presented by sustainable tourism and mobility systems such as bikes etc. Real Florentines won’t go in the centre any more because it is such a theme park (a ‘Disneyland of the Renaissance’) full of people wandering round in groups. The cars have gone but there is no living community in the centre and the opportunities to reinvent a resilient community with the centre of Florence will require some exceptionally innovative design and architectural thinking.

Hong Kong

Coding for Volumetric Hyper Density

Studio Leader: Justyna Karakiewicz

This studio will be the first of a coding trilogy (three studios Hong Kong, Melbourne, and Nanjing). You are not required to participate in all and it is suitable to do the one studio. The Hong Kong studio will start by examining the question how do we read something that is not composed of letters, words, sentences, but images, streets, voids, buildings, and volumes. Is our view skewed by our preconceptions, cultural background, traditions, predigests, and assumptions? Can we read functions, aesthetics and semiotics of spaces discretely or as interwoven whole? In short, what can we do in order not to come up with false conclusions? Future studios in Nanjing and Melbourne will extend this question to other conditions.

Students from Chinese University will extend their research to Macau and students from Bartlett to London or other European destination


Documenting and Interpreting Cultural Heritage in Post-Soviet Lithuania

Studio Leader: Andrew Saniga

This design studio explores the cultural heritage of landscape and architecture in post-Soviet countries in Europe and is based on a major fieldwork component in Lithuania (LT). After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, urban expansion and redevelopment transformed newly independent cities. Symbols of the Soviet Union were removed amidst the euphoria of independence while other markers of the past have slowly fallen into disrepair or have been subject to selective preservation.

Amidst such rapid changes the cultural landscape has been thrown into question from a heritage and conservation point of view. A number of key sites have become important symbolic foci for these changes and this studio will document these sites through the process of measured drawings, and will produce design ideas for the interpretation of cultural heritage.

Mandvi, India

Retracing Indian Ocean Journeys

Studio Leader: Bharat Dave

Mandvi, a port along the Gulf of Kutch in the western Indian state of Gujarat, was a center of maritime trade in the Indian Ocean region. A large fleet of wooden ships connected the west coast of India with the Middle East and Africa, and beyond. The town reflects a dynamic confluence of cultural, material, economic, and social exchanges. The craft of building wooden ships is still practiced in a number of shipbuilding yards in Mandvi. The surrounding region of Kutch is known for its Great Desert, the traditional bhungas (round, mud buildings as an adaptive response to the local semi-arid to arid climate and earthquake activity), and excellent traditional crafts such as weaving, dyeing, embroidery, leatherwork, and pottery among others.

This studio will undertake a multi-scalar investigation of the spatial fabric of Mandvi. Based on a series of documentary and analytical exercises, the studio will seek to understand and communicate patterns of spatial and temporal growth of Mandvi. It will be followed by development of design strategies for specific design brief(s) that help negotiate between Mandvi’s distinctive historic character and emerging forces of change.

Monterray, Mexico

Occupy Mexico: Conflict, Negotiation and the Politics of Aesthetics in Mexican Housing

Studio Leader: Dr. Peter Raisbeck

This will be an intensive design studio focused on studying processes of informal housing and urbanisation in Mexico City (pop. 20M) and Monterrey (pop 4M). Students will analyse social and informal housing, community development, urban ecologies, and recycling.

The studio is suitable for architects, landscape architects urban designers and urban planners. The studio follows on and extends work completed in the 2010 Monterrey studio. This year the challenge of this studio will be for students to reconcile an emerging politics of anarchism (Occupy), modernist aesthetics with the realities of informal housing in rapidly urbanising cities.

In the studio students will gain skills in advanced architectural and urban analysis, and social and community housing design. It is hoped that the studio will expose students to various Mexican architectural studios, and schools (ITESM, UNAM and Iberoamerica). In Monterrey Students will work directly with architecture students from ITESM Monterrey. During the semester a number of video-conferences and Skype conferences will be held with our Monterrey partners and others.

Nanjing, China

Studio Leader: Dr. Marcus White

This will be an intensive design studio focused on the rapid urban renewal of Chinese cities, in particular, the city of Nanjing.

Nanjing is a growing city with a population of roughly 8 million. Nanjing (“southern capital”) is the capital of the Jiangsu Province and has a rich and colourful history having been the capital of China on a number of occasions and being the site of many atrocities during the Second World War by the Japanese.

Like many cities in China, Nanjing is undergoing radical growth and change and is grappling with challenges of retention and engagement with its ancient and recent history with the growing need to accommodate its immense population.

Though Nanjing superficially seems to be built in an ad- hock fashion with no system of rules for building heights, sizes, uses etc. a strict set of rules and codes exists. The studio will investigate these rules in a critical manner and engage with the codes as part of a generative design process.

Porto, Portugal

Studio Leader: Professor Paolo Tombesi

The Portugal studio has been conceived as an opportunity to encourage integrated learning in design and construction.

Through class briefings and discussions, group assignments, individual research and site visits, studio participants will be asked to examine the work of the Porto School - particularly that of its two contemporary masters, Pritzker Prize winners Alvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Mora - against the context in which it developed.

The design strategies, technological choices and spatial results characterising the built output of the Porto School will be reviewed across different building markets, from single family to social housing, commercial construction to public spaces, transport infrastructure to institutional complexes.

The results of these analyses will be applied to a series of small building programs located on the same area in Carlton (image above), where students will have to demonstrate their disciplinary understanding of the culture ‘studied’ by adopting its compositional logics and methods of practice and yet adapting them to Melbourne’s industrial and social environment.

See all past travelling studios

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