Matt Williams Architects 122/53 Vernon Tce Teneriffe 0410 232 939 www.mw-arch.com.au 02 March 2014 UQ 5th Year Design Studio Coordinator Dr Silvia Micheli ‘City Life’ Project, Milan, Italy TUTORIAL: MASTERPLANNING PROCESS AND APPLICATIONS OVERVIEW Masterplanning and particularly site renewals is a wonderful way to improve and transform the quality of our lifestyles and public spaces. Projects provide either an incremental improvement on our built environments, or radicalise our lifestyles with technology, innovative design approaches or unique design intelligence. The over arching goal of Masterplanning and Urban Design for Architects, is to improve the level of social amenity attributed to a Project. Projects may be transformative in terms of the broader social agenda of improving access to housing, or amenity and productivity factors of the contemporary workplace, improvements to the public domain or the way in which we interact. FOSTER UAE PROJECT They might also or provide an opportunity to regenerate and renew otherwise diminished natural assets as part of the process of revitalising public space, including riverfronts, waterways, ecological corridors or existing open space within the city frame. RIVER OF LIFE PROJECT Individual building projects that follow the masterplanning process have an enhanced opportunity to implement the masterplanning vision. A quality masterplanning process, delivering a robust and relevant set of design parameters, forms a strong basis for individual buildings that will follow. POTSDAMER PLATZ & RENZO PIANO BUILDING Masterplanning can also greatly increase the commercial yield for a particular site or combination of sites. Often these processes are transformative and undertaken in consultation with the local Planning Authority to assess what is an acceptable level of development for a Site or Sites. BARANGAROO Masterplans can be considered over long spans of time, considering project timelines that extend beyond the expected lifespans of most buildings. This legacy planning considers how the site is transformed over multiple generations or cycles of use. LONDON OLYMPICS Masterplans may also renew parts of the city as a consequence of significant changes in patterns of use or urban trauma. CHRISTCHURCH CITY BLUEPRINT DESIGN SCOPE The purpose of the Masterplan is to control bulk and scale, and set the vision and character for the Project Site. It will do this by setting controls for the development of individual lots within the Masterplan, as well as the construction of public space associated with the Project. There are a range of outputs that will be generated by the Architect and the Consultant Team during the Masterplanning Phase, including: Vision statements; a document that captures the design intent of the Masterplan Planning and Design Controls; these are written documents that capture in words the logistical intent of the Masterplan. Volumetric controls; limiting the scale, height and bulk of the building envelope for individual sites within the Masterplan Site Yield, Cover and Plot Ratio calculations; these also control the bulk and scale of the building on the site and are used to provide greater flexibility for the built outcome ⎯ Setbacks and Volumetric Limitations; these establish connectivity and the form and scale of open space throughout the Masterplan, ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯
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⎯ Zoning and Land Use Arrangements; designating the anticipated uses for various sites within the Masterplan, ⎯ Infrastructure arrangements; including Road Sections that establish zones for services (drainage, sewer, power, data, telephone, lighting, irrigation), and zonings for major plant within the Masterplan, and possibly key approaches to supply of power and cooling to the site, ⎯ Sightline controls; to establish the network and connectivity of key design and heritage elements within open space networks, ⎯ Traffic management and Logistics; Road Networks, parking configurations and volumes, individual site access, logistics (waste and goods management), and ⎯ Water Management; including flooding and storm event catchment studies, site drainage and overland flow. Works packages that arise from the Masterplanning Phase will provide for the construction of site preparatory works including contouring, water catchments and drainage, roads, services and transport infrastructure, parks and open space, bridges etc as are required to make available to development the various sites included to the Masterplan. However, this phase of work is not included to this Design Studio. THE DESIGN TEAM During the Masterplanning process, Architects interact with a range of Stakeholders to develop the design approach and vision, resolve the technical design issues and sign off the agreed Masterplan. The key stakeholder is the Client, who can be either a Private entity or a government agency, and is usually responsible for providing information about the site and the initial brief. It is important to understand both the express and implied content of this Brief – often, a Client’s actual requirements may not yet be realised by the express terms of the brief. Therefore it is important during the design phase to understand what it is the Client is really trying to achieve, and allow design innovations and challenges that follow to build on and enhance this intent. Private clients tend to be interested in maximising commercial returns to the project against statutory controls, while not disinhibiting project values through excessive density or bulk; design can be a lever by which project returns can be enhanced, and sometimes quite significantly. Government clients tend to be less interested in the commercial outcome of a project (although are more recently recognising that this is a part of their procedural remit), but overall will remain interested in the level of improvement to public amenity in completing the project (which often directly relates to its political capital than any analysis of the site or opportunity). The consultant team is also very important to implementing the Masterplan Vision and can include: ⎯ Town Planner: To develop Planning Instruments as are relevant to statutory controls for development, and also to control development of individual lots as required by the intent of the Master plan ⎯ Traffic Engineer: Traffic Management, Design Vehicles and Vehicle Movement, Parking Design and Setout, Vehicle Movement Controls ⎯ Landscape: Pavements and Paths, Soft scaping, Irrigation ⎯ Security: Site Security Controls ⎯ Logistics: Waste Management and Goods Loading ⎯ Geotechnical Engineer: To develop an understanding of soil types within the site as is required to progress the Structure Design ⎯ Civil Engineer: Road Design and Surfacing, Kerbs and Channels, Site Drainage (underground and overland), water catchments, connections with existing mains infrastructure, site retention and site levels ⎯ Electrical Engineer: Site Power, Data, Lighting, Solar and alternative power sources, electrical distribution and infrastructure design ⎯ Hydraulic Engineer: Water Supply and Return (Potable, Grey), Sewer and Treatment ⎯ Hydrologist: Water Tables, In Ground Water Flows and Hydrostatic Pressures, Flooding and Flood Catchments DESIGN PROCESS - ANALYSIS Design work for the architect, will mean undertaking a range of analysis about the site to ensure that the design opportunity and constraint is correctly interpreted and understood before design options are generated. Working with this first principles approach ensures that there is a solid framework of logic that underpins the design process, and provides a set of key principles that allow various options that will arise to be evaluated. Site analysis can include: Site Levels and Topography Site Drainage; Overland Flow, Flooding, Catchments, Release of Water from the site Site Geology and Stability; in ground soil and rock conditions Existing Remnant and Substantive Flora and Fauna, or Ecological Networks Microclimate; Sun angles and Paths, Ambient Conditions (Temperature, Humidity), Local Winds Fire Hazard; for example Bushfire Existing Structures; either to be demolished or retained, can include heritage elements to which special controls might relate Existing Linkages; either within or at the edge of the project Site, and including the larger framework of connectivity to which the Site must relate ⎯ Existing Infrastructure; Transport (car, bus, train, pedestrian, bicycle and other), Engineering Services ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯
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It is also useful to undertake an analysis of opportunities associated with the site, which might then integrate to the design proposals to be developed. This Site Opportunity analysis can include: Infrastructure Improvements; Future, committed infrastructure developments Existing facilities; proximate and relevant existing facilities that might integrate to or be in synergy with the Masterplan Vision Planning Changes; Draft or Anticipated updates to Statutory Planning Controls that may benefit or hinder the Proposal Partner Projects; proximate or adjacent, separate projects, either commenced or planned, that might integrate and enhance the Masterplan Vision ⎯ Ecological Factors; that might, if enhanced or protected, contribute to improved site amenity ⎯ Site Legibility; existing site or local ‘markers’ that enhance legibility and orientation for the site, or perhaps relate to and enhance the intended identity of the site under the Masterplan Vision ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯
Now that we have this analysis, we have effectively set up a range of design ‘assets’ that can be used to improve communications to project stakeholders. This stage of analysis is very useful in terms of setting the stage for the creative phase that will follow. I personally believe it is a good idea to do the analysis first as it allows the creative part of your brain to work with the constraints and opportunities of the site. If you can hold off from generating ideas through this analysis stage, and keep an open mind, I believe the ideas that follow will be better informed and more relevant to the actual site constraint and opportunity. The design phase is a mix of rational analysis and liberalised thought. We do need to exclude certain controls to achieve some possibly competing objective, and we can be quite hard headed about what is important and what is not from a design point of view – ultimately we as the Architects are the arbiters of quality in the public realm. It is important during this creative phase to allow all ideas and design opportunities an equal voice and not exclude any because of perceived doubts or concern an idea might be ‘stupid’ (What I mean here is don’t be too self conscious at this point – allow the ideas to flow). Collaboration with peers and obtaining a second opinion is a useful way to provide critical review and feedback. One process I have more recently tried to engage with, as part of this creative process, is to try to write in a few short, easily comprehendible sentences, the entire design intent of the project. It has to be in very simple, clear and well phrased language, such that someone who has just been introduced to the project, does not understand design or technical issues associated with masterplanning, might read and very quickly gain an understanding of the intent of the design proposition and, perhaps more importantly, believe it. It might be necessary to return to this design statement a few times through the process, and eventually it becomes the starting point for anyone new to the design. It is quite normal during the masterplanning process for a range of project participants to be introduced to the project at many different times during the design process; having this statement on hand improves clarity of the design proposition in a way that a stakeholder might better understand it, and also forces the designer to be quite clear and transparent about the design objectives being followed. DESIGN PROCESS - THE BRIEF Projects tend to come to life long before the architect is involved. For commercial clients there may be a long process of site acquisition and negotiation that precedes the actual design phase of the project. The Developer may have considered the idea for the Project for quite some time before the opportunity to commence design is apparent. For Government Clients, there may be again a similar and long-winded process of managing land use and acquisition, and the bureaucratic process of legislating, articulating and empowering various project options as part of the government’s executive strategies. Therefore, it is usual for a project vision to be already articulated to varying levels of accuracy and relevance, before the architect is engaged. Often the architect will receive a brief that is quite specific to the project requirement. The project may require certain development targets in order to become feasible as an investment decision. One thing is for sure, what is not known at this point is what design is going to mobilise all the visioning, feasibility and public agenda requirements for the project, that exist before the architect becomes involved. In the case of this City Life project, we would like you to consider the brief for the project as part of your design process. What is a good use or set of uses for the site? What particular issues of site amenity and site facility need to be considered as part of the Masterplan proposition? What is an appropriate density and level of development? What ration of open space to developed land, and how do these development requirements output to building heights? We are leaving this up to you, as it is always necessary to understand and control the Brief for your Project. DESIGN PROCESS – QUALITY METRICS Finding metrics to assess urban quality is not always straightforward. Land values, rents, turnover or site visitation is usually key to private clients. Government clients are varied in terms of their expectations. One theme I find interesting to contemplate as an overarching project value is the level of accessibility; not so much in terms of disabilities and controls for those, although this is an important part of it, but more in terms of who feels comfortable to access or use to a place or a locality, and then how broadly that inclusivity is felt through the community. I think designs that are approachable and amenable ultimately are better performers and are more robust than those we would consider as cutting edge or trendy design. What is indisputable is that design will have a significant impact on the relative success of a masterplan project. It’s not so much about the ‘style’ of the proposal, than it is about structure, the social structure that the design either imposes or enables. I think it is useful to hold these social themes in mind when starting to visualise or articulate the design proposal.
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Sometimes users themselves take control of and adapt spaces to their requirements and this improves their level of accessibility. The laneways project in Melbourne is an example of a broad stream of society making their city more liveable and accessible and this is starting to happen in Brisbane. Thankfully the policy makers down there were amenable to these changes and now the city enjoys the benefit of these collectivised urban renovations. QUEENSLAND PLACE vs ACLAND STREET MELBOURNE BOONDAL vs FED SQUARE DESIGN PROCESS - VISIONING There are a range of methods that can be used to start the process of visioning or articulating the design. It is useful to document this process and ensure it is included to the final presentation. ⎯ Word-smithing; using words to generate a sense of the project, either in terms of meaning, or spatial quality, textures and materiality, etc, whatever might be helpful to describe in order to better articulate the designer’s requirements for this design proposal, ⎯ Precedents; looking for similar or inspirational projects that can be used as a referent to the Project. Where referent projects are used, it is important to be very clear about what is relevant about the referent project to the Design, it is not possible to emulate a vibe or sensitivity, rather the process of articulating the relevance of other projects is a way to enhance an understanding of the Designers aspiration’s for this Project, ⎯ Key Images; can be drawn from a range of sources but describe a potential and particular quality, amenity or functionality opportunity for this Design Proposal, ⎯ Formative; using gestural or abstract expressions, through drawings, paintings, digitisations, or other artwork, to convey a desirous quality of this Design proposal. Equally existing artworks or even literature can be used to draw out ideas as might be relevant to this Design proposal, ⎯ History; using site or other components of history as can be inferred are relevant to this Design Proposal ⎯ Context; as per history looking at the site context to draw out issues or ideas that might be relevant to this Project, and ⎯ Theory; using contemporary or historic design or social theory to generate a narrative for this Project (I note that sometimes this ‘policy-making’ replicates the thinking that may have already been done by a Client, and sometimes constrains rather than enables the creative process). DESIGN PROCESS – KEY DESIGN ISSUES There are a range of design issues that should be considered as part of any masterplan, and these are: ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯ ⎯
Site Mix and Functional Zonings Site Dimension and workability for Proposed Uses Structure of the design proposal; links and nodes Height and Mass Traffic Flow and Management Strategies Road Widths and Road Hierarchy by Type Site Infrastructure Design Control Heritage Elements and Context Open Space network Existing Context and Networks Key Views and Site Orientation and Legibility Artworks and Flexible Spaces Health and Lifestyle factors Solar access and Breezes Walkability and Permeability Privacy and Personal Amenity Scalability of Spaces and Accessibility Factors Security and Casual Surveillance Acoustics, Reflectivity and Shading Effects Water Management Waste Management and Loading Alternative Energy Sources Green Roofs and Permaculture Ecology and Green Space Amenity
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We can use top down or bottom up principles to guide our creative thinking and analysis; top down processing generates holistic schemes otherwise known as ‘grand ideas’ around which ideas and requirements can consolidate; or we can use bottom up processes where we generate a set of instances or individuated design scenarios that are then aggregated up form a consolidated whole. DESIGN PROCESS - DELIVERABLES Once the creative process is complete, an idea has been settled upon and developed, and the design proposition is agreed with the Client, Consultants and Stakeholders, it needs to be set down and communicated to the Client and Stakeholders. What we are documenting here is the design process; the story of the design. This phase needs to be carefully planned so that the design effort is made as efficiently as possible; where time is carefully managed and the most important and best parts of the design are ‘brought to life’ as part of the presentation. Deliverables for this Studio as part of the conclusion to the Masterplanning phase are outlined in the Unit Synopsis. We have left this scope reasonably flexible given your seniority within the University System and our understanding that you will know how and what you would like to present. We can work with you through the course of the semester to determine the appropriate deliverables and scope for your final presentation. Some discussion on the deliverables for this Masterplan Phase is as follows:
Urban analysis: the Site in context. How does the site relate to its surrounding environment, and show a range of planning analysis diagrams undertaken as part of the site analysis and opportunity phase. Brief for the Masterplan: meaning the summary document that has been administered through the Masterplan phase of this Studio that provides a written description of the design scope of the Project Proposal, including project Vision statements, proposed uses and zoning, areas and densities calculations (including open space), car parking requirements, and other as may be required to quantitatively describe the Project. Site Plan: It is possible to show the Masterplan as either including roofs of proposed buildings, or ground floor plans at a schematic level of design. The drawing should include roadways, showing building footprints (floor plan or roof plan) kerbs, lanes and widths, drop off and set down locations, intersections, roundabouts, driveways and site access points, show vegetation and pedestrian networks, clearly demarcate services zones, demonstrate building height and setbacks, building footprints in a realistic format, and provide a sense of the Masterplan in some level of reality without needing to design every building in detail. It is important to consider the proposed use of individual sites within the Masterplan against the proposed lot dimension; we can discuss in more detail as design progresses what this means. Shadows are an effective way to convey relative heights of buildings within the scheme, but can only be used when showing roofs for the various buildings. Site Sections: Taken at key lines through the project to demonstrate key relationships between building, building heights or open spaces. Key Views: At the discretion of the Designer where these are taken and how many are completed. Always be careful to be very conservative when committing to a number of key views to be included, often it is better to choose less to ensure that each view has time to be developed to properly demonstrate the design idea. Other initiatives that might be adopted as part of this Masterplanning Phase and design output might be, Detailed Precinct Plans, Road Sections, Programmatic Overlays and Structure Overlays (Pedestrian, Open Space, Arts, Amenity etc.), Solar Studies, Alternative Infrastructure Concepts and ESD, Zoning Plans, Volumetric Analysis by Isometric or Axonometric, Building Typologies Studies, etc. CONCLUSION It is up to you to find a process that works for you, your Client, your Consultants and your Stakeholders. It is true that Architects have a special role within the process of land development and, while it might not be what you expect is still a unique, enjoyable and rewarding role to fill. I personally believe that the major contribution architects can make to the land development process is one of ‘lateralisation’; where, through a process of creative thinking and analysis, a much more rewarding outcome is arrived upon, than what otherwise might have been envisaged without the architect.
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Published on Mar 15, 2014
Matthew gave this presentation to Architecture Students as part of the Final Year Design Studio, led by Dr Silvia Micheli.