ARCHITECTS IN MELBOURNE’S SUBURBS: NAKED and AFRAID: Masters Studio Proposal for Monash University
This is a proposal presented by Estudio Abierto / Open Studio to Monash University, (Melbourne, Australia), responding to their Call for Studios for the semester Spring 2017.
The proposal has two complementary parts, the Studio and the Studies Units (Seminar). The first is focused in the design and the latter in the theoretical discussion. This is a brief explanation of the syllabus.
It proposes an investigation into the contradiction of Melbourne being the most livable city and having problematic suburbs, with the conviction that the intricate nature of the entanglement between the social and the built environment needs unpacking through an interdisciplinary understanding. This challenge can only be fronted by a new professional attitude that reinstates agency to collaborate between the designers and the communities and prioritize forming the right questions versus producing formal answers.
Thrust into this complexity, the traditional Architect feels NAKED and AFRAID.
Phase 1: ‘Live’ in the Suburbs _ week 1-5
Research in-situ the nature of the problem contacting the communites, requesting for interdisciplenary advice and developing a sensitivity particular to the context. The outcome of this phase is mapping the complexity of the situation.
Phase 2: ‘Redefine’ the Architect’s Role _ week 6-7
Explore depending on the outcome of phase I, what is the agency of an architect to help the situation. Defining the new urban professional is the outcome of this phase
Phase 3: Project ‘Strategic Visions’ _ week 8-12
Provide architectural scenarios (not formal answers) encompassing the complexity of the problem in a strategic framework able to host community feedback and interdisciplinary synergy.
Pico Colectivo (Venezuela), Elemental (Chile), Assemble (UK), Rural Studio (USA), Recetas Urbanas (Spain), Orte für Menschen (Austria)...
The Studies Unit
This part is structured as a series of dialogues between the tutors and the students deconstructing ways in which the context (social, political, economic, environmental, intellectual, physical) frames the production of urbanism, and particularly suburbanism, which in turn recreates the context. Understanding of this interconnection is key to be able to ask the right questions and strategize an effective answer in the paired design studio. Due to the inherent complexity of the context, the Studies Unit will invite speakers from different disciplines to lead a specific discussion based on the finding coming from the design studio.
Studies Unit explores:
A parallel comparison of urbanism between American and European contexts.
Understanding the history and theory of community participation in urban design.
Developing empathic thinking as an urban design tool.
JACOBS, Jane: The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961
DUANY, Andres; PLATER-ZYBERK, Elizabeth and SPECK, Jeff: Suburban Nation. The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, 2000
BRUEGMANN, Robert: Sprawl: A Compact History, 2006
RIFKINS, Jeremy: The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, 2009
GEHL, Jan: Cities for People, 2010
LA CECLA, Franco: Against Architecture, 2012
ORLOV, Dimitry: Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkit, 2013
LIEBERMAN, Matthew D.: Social; Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect, 2014
ARAVENA, Alejandro: Reporting from the Front: 15th International Architecture Exhibition, 2016
ARAVENA, Alejandro: Elemental: Incremental Housing and Participatory Design Manual, 2016
KOOLHAAS, Rem and FOSTER, Hal: Junkspace / Running Room, 2016