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Welcome to the Major Project Catalogue for first semester 2010, a publication from the RMIT Architecture Program. This catalogue represents the work of students undertaking their final design project as part of the Masters of Architecture, and is the culmination of five years of study leading to eventual qualification as an architect. Students are expected to formulate an architectural research question and develop an articulate and well-argued architectural position through the execution of a major design project. The nature of the project is not set, and the scope of the brief/ site is established by the student in consultation with their supervisor as the most appropriate and potentially fruitful vehicle for testing and developing their particular area of architectural investigation. The research question and the architectural project will often develop in parallel and it is expected that the precise question and focus of the project will be discovered and clarified through the act of designing. This process is iterative and develops through weekly sessions with the supervisor. Architecture Major Projects at RMIT range from strategic urban and landscape interventions with metropolitan implications; to detailed explorations of building form, materiality, structure and inhabitation; to specialised experimentation in the processes and procedures influencing architectural production. There is no expectation that major project be ‘comprehensive’ in scope. Rather, the aim of the subject is to establish, through the completion of a major design work in a rigorous manner, a well-argued architectural experiment that has the potential and richness to engender future explorations and that will sustain the student for the next period of their architectural life. Congratulations to all exhibitors and we look forward to your ongoing contribution to our collective design future. Melanie Dodd & Mauro Baracco


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The intention of this project is to challenge the concept of the conventional type of public space in Hong Kong. Hunghom is a busy area on Kowloon with residential commercial and educational activities all dominated by a transportation interchange that divides them.

the people who are tranThis project proposes a new major transport hub covered sient within it and benefit to everyone. by a green park roof platform in order to provide a new type of public space that unites the separated activities and connected them to the waterfront. This new element serves not only the immediate residents and the users of the site but also response to

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The project is located in Digital Harbor in the Melbourne Docklands which is a new developing community on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD. The precinct master plan is looking for a development of a waterfront college and learning centre which accommodates a community hub, library, auditorium, gallery

and learning and sports facilities. The project aims to create high quality education and sports facilities with a focus on the high-tech. Both the college students and the Harbor community will share the facilities in order to encourage diversity in the site. Formally there are two sepa-

rate building volumes - the college and the learning centre. These two buildings are linked together via a scenic walk corridor that provides spatial continuity, as well as views through the building

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Our main streets have become generic, filled with ever expanding chain stores and neutral developments of retail expansion. Where once there were thriving, eclectic and local collections of independent grocers, butchers, bakers there is now a bland expanse of corporations that decide what we read, eat

and wear. The Camberwell Market provides an example of diversity that is both local, regional and universal. This proposal seeks to meld the market model within a diverse mixed-use development that encourages temporality, a reinforcement of local cultures of place and an experientially rich formal

language for living, working and interacting. The proposal seeks to intersect the urban and suburban condition within a form that reflects and transposes a regional Camberwellian/Melbournian vernacular, whatever that might be.

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Densifying and developing Footscray, whilst maintaining its eclecticism and cultural specificity, demands alternate typologies of urban planning. This project celebrates, values and nurtures the entrepreneurial and accretive appropriation of space by residents and users over time. Strategic urban and archi-

tectural typologies offer new ways of creating land on top and within the existing building grain as wrapped forms, infill, bridging or reuse of space, to create new ground planes, connect sites and open up circulation. The relationships created couple the permanent large civic gesture and the temporary stalls, the

robust shed and the loose fit shell building, the open parkland and the enclosed sports and educational facilities. It is an incremental urbanism creating an adaptable openended language for future growth yet still retains the grain and spatial uses that typify inner suburban richness and cultural diversity.

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In negotiating the world much of what we experience is constructed through our perceptions. This is not to say that our perceptions are misleading â&#x20AC;&#x201C; quite the opposite. Our bodies are excellent agents for depicting reality. While it seems that we capture everything in rich detail, when we examine

the structure of the senses, we find that they couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t possibly deliver the qualities we seem to experience. Instead, our perceptions help us fill in the blanks of a world unevenly received through our sensory apparatus. Occasionally, the system that we use to reinterpret the sensate fails, and we interpret things

differently to the way they are. This perception is shared and it is what can be called illusion. Yet illusion does not always have to be an allusion to delusion. This thesis examines architecturally created illusion as a means of counteracting the negative affects of non-place.

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Located in line with a possible future extension of the Docklands development, the scheme reacts to the shortcomings and issues inherent in the current Docklands development, chiefly, a dependence on cars, inflexible podium design, lack of social infrastructure, lack of historical reference and a

disconnected spatial arrangement, all of which contribute to a lack of a finer grain. The project combines a school, an orchard, a performance space and low density housing within an encompassing structure of which the medium scale has been extracted leaving the small scale to operate within the large.

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Arakawa and Gins believe the body is indistinguishable from its surrounds. Their architecture engages the notion that the arrangement of space can stimulate cognitive properties of the human body, enabling a radical revision of what it is, how it works, and what else it can do. The proposal applies

Arakawa and Gins theory to create a new learning environment for children from Prep to Year 6 and address how spatial environments affect the manner in which learning occurs. The project uses the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;City Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in Melbourne CBD as a case study. This unique proposition for a vertical school provides the

site and program for an exploration of density, layering and responsive environments.

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As home ownership becomes untenable for Melbournians, the pressure on the rental market resembles the situation many global cities already accept as an everyday reality. This project is an addition built over the residual land at Camberwell Railway Station, 8km from the city. Whilst only the

Burke Road frontage of the site is set for redevelopment, the unique situation and size of its discarded periphery has the potential for testing the capacity of suburbia. The scheme proposes a collection of large architectural figures, anchored by the artificial terrain that houses the transit hub.

As a model, the project explores the opportunity for integrated residential development and amenity, utilizing the vacant land that is dotted along the transport corridors. It exploits the siteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most attractive selling point - position and proximity â&#x20AC;&#x201C; towards a more sustainable city, and a 24-hour metropolis.

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A 120-metre high research centre for fashion design, overlooking the city of Melbourne, is located on the major fashion district corner of Chapel Street and Toorak Road in South Yarra. This project explored ways of thinking about architecture through fashion design and its framing of human bodies,

with particular attention to Issey Miyakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work: the proportions that vacillate between habitations and figurative sculpture, and the tensions between individual and collective, uniformity and variety. The relationship shifts between the space and the structure through parametric

spatial organization, arousing peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s awareness of the connections to each other, and to the surroundings.

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Following from statistical information that indicates the automobile constitutes 14% of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s carbon emissions and kills half a million people worldwide every year. This project, sited on the last urban wedge on the fringe of the CBD, is a case study in mitigating the automobile from urban plan-

ning strategies. It is based on the prioritised pedestrian in lieu of the traditional vehicle, in an attempt to sustain the environment, create an alternative medium density community, whilst establishing a connection between Melbourneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CBD, North Melbourne and the Docklands.

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As a response to urban growth in Brunswick and pressure to re-zone industrial land, this project promotes collisions between living and working environments. With an emphasis on maintaining Brunswickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s character and site histories, the scheme is a combination of newer insertions into the existing urban

fabric. The project is an exploration of the relationships and implications of different working and living environments within the same block. New pathways have been implemented through a common corridor, connecting the site to surrounding amenities and transport links.

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The site of the project is Cornerstone, a modest brick church in central Dandenong earmarked for development as part of VicUrbanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Revitalising Central Dandenong initiative and currently used for community-based welfare programs, including a soup kitchen, and basic health care provision. This project

engages with the threats of regeneration, and how architecture can improve the urban landscape while retaining the identity of a place, however fragile, modest and undervalued that identity might appear to be. Community engagement with local users of Cornerstone examines and speculates on

the importance of the current building and the uncertain values of improvement. The outcome is a robust and provocative scenario for retaining the old church hall, and forming a new building constructed around it, including public space and an expanded community health centre.

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This project studies the possibilities for revitalising the burnt-down township of Marysville and explores the idea of living with fire. The building accommodates facilities for a new community, conference and health centre. The site occupies a prominent location in Marysville proper and connects to

the existing and new public spaces currently having being rebuilt around it through circulation. This makes the site more vital and integrated with the community. The project offers an alternative to the government design initiative through different architectural language. The design investigates the con-

cept of massive construction that is fire resistant, such as a bunker, however, making the building livelier and culturally significant with some parts to be sacrificial.

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A nod to the history of Docklands, this open air National Water Polo and recreation centre employs found historical data as a readymade footprint and expresses a motif derived from its industrial inspired truss structure. The use, adaptation and mutation of the interwar-popular typology of

the Lido resolves several site specific constraints. Functioning as a wind barrier, while allowing for uninterrupted sunlight, the raised programmatic beam of the ‘Lido’ maintains Victoria Harbour Promenade’s waterside circulation. Via an aerial jetty – a girdling, partially-vegetated trafficable roof – the public

can use this civic interface independently in the tradition of the ‘Sunday stroll’, without using its facilities, and taking advantage of the Yarra’s views to the city and the bay.

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Existing approaches to urbanism desperately need to examine the role of architecture as an integral part of urban ecology. Issues such as pollution and global warming are normally addressed at the scale of the individual building instead than through holistic design approaches incorporating the urban

and territorial context. As urban areas increase in size and population our global agenda of sustainability needs to evolve to preserve and restore biodiversity and ecological systems. This philosophy is applied here to the Flinders Street Stationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s precinct, through the reuse of existing

spaces and addition of new landscape and architectural interventions that densify vegetation, offset green emissions, increase biodiversity and reduce the heat island effect. They accommodate tourist, educational and community programs related to Victoriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural environment..

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Responding to the population and resource demands of a future Melbourne of five million, this project is an engagement with urban/ suburban space as a system of overlapping contingencies, economies and terrains. In Coburg, the project consists of a landscaped urban ‘farm’ incorporating dwellings and

shared spaces connected to a substrate of flexible commercial street frontage. Constructed from a layered suite of low-impact materials, the dwellings are pared-down versions of the detached house. The mix of programmatically intensive and ‘fallow’ spaces is designed to accommodate new built form

and permeable functionalities over time. The scheme attempts to harmonise the conflicting socio-cultural and environmental constraints associated with residential architecture by establishing a hybrid model that challenges assumptions whilst acknowledging the cultural value of colloquial idiom.

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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Let There Be Lightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is a mixed-use urban renewal project on the Whitten Oval site in Footscray nestled between existing residencies and the elevated Geelong Road overpass. The proposal is a multiprogrammed activity hub including affordable housing and returning the oval to

an AFL standard Australian Rules Football venue, answering the call for a third major AFL venue in Melbourne to host games with crowds of up to 40,000. The project seeks to demonstrate how natural sunlight can be utilised in formal envelope generation to maximise the experiential

qualities of the stadium whilst being sensitive to amenity needs of the surrounding suburban fabric.

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Hong Kong is one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading financial centres. However, the economic gap between its populationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rich and the poor has been rapidly increasing, apparently unnoticed by government. Experiences from other urban renewal projects indicate that dilapidated low-income housing units

are continually demolished to give way to new developments for wealthy tenants. Undoubtedly this gentrification raises land value and amenity, but relocation of the affected poor residents outside their neighbourhood will further disrupt the cohesiveness of the valuable old district community. My proj-

ect adopts an experimental proposition for coexistence of rich and poor in a hyperdense place.

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This project explores architectural engagement with site opportunities and the contribution that infrastructure could make to the sustainable growth of the city. The Port of Melbourne currently occupies 510 hectares of land within a 5km reach of the Melbourne CBD. If it were to migrate, the land area could

accommodate 32,000 people at the density of the inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy. This proposition relocates and redefines the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Portâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; as a positive catalyst for change in Port Philip Bay. by means of a distributed automated freight system that is powered by natural systems of tidal and wind movement.

The project is focused on two main locations; Swan Island and Kirk Point, and four main components consisting of the Interchange, the System, the Exchange and the Corridor.

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Everyone loves a carnival! Melbourne Bazaar involves a strategic urban intervention of mixed-use program with the intention of resuscitating the ‘dead’ space along the north bank of the Yarra river and to celebrate Melbourne’s multi-cultural and humorous character. Carnivalesque methodol-

ogies involving performance and the joyful and grotesque consumption of food are explored to invigorate the abandoned site. An inherent, twisted structural system creates the initial framework for a round the clock critical mass of program; a night bazaar, wholesale fish market, budget backpackers accom-

modation, ferry terminal and a considerable allocation of raised public space. An ulterior motive lies within. A ‘dynamic billboard tunnel’ negotiates the existing railway viaduct to provide viable revenue to support this significant urban development.

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After the first Opium War Shanghai became a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;halfcolonialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; city held by western forces. Interrelationships between foreign settlements and the walled Chinese city resonate in a contemporary Shanghai that embodies globalisation. This proposed Shanghai History Museum extends the former Shanghai

Municipal Council building. A contemporary Chinese city wall is reinstated across the British classicist perimeter building. The temporary exhibition building reorients the street relationship. Ancillary buildings are altered to provide institutional infrastructure. A new auditorium and sculpture garden

incorporate elements from a demolished theatre. By overlaying a series of permeable contemporary Chinese screen systems across existing western fabric, this museum provides in-between spaces to experience shifts in scale, movement, light and time, and culture.

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Lewis Park Reserve is the site for this project, and also functions as a retarding basin for the Wantirna South area. The basin fills rapidly during flooding; however flooding is intermittent and temporary and the reserve functions mainly as a network of sports fields and walking trails.

This project builds on the local community use of Lewis Park, and proposes to protect and support the existing park activities - even during the flooding event. A string of earthworks around the existing ovals, and a sunken amphitheatre are the strategies adopted to protect the main buildings and activities.

A series of elevated hanging walkways direct crowds to the main building at the centre of the site. The project intention is to rejuvenate the park while bringing people closer to nature, making the reserve a community catchment.

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RMIT Architecture Program Major Projects Semester 1, 2010 Catalogue Program Director Melanie Dodd Major Project Coordinator Mauro Baracco Catalogue Design Chase & Galley Production & Coordination Stuart Harrison

The Architecture Program wishes to thank Thomas and Eva Butler for their continuing support of the Anne Butler Memorial Medal, an annual award for outstanding Major Projects in design.

Exhibition: RMIT Building 45 33 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria

The Program thanks the Bruns family for their continuing support of the Antonia Bruns Medal, an award for a Major Project which illustrates an exemplary investigation in the areas of architecture and film, architectural representation and visual perception.

Open to Public 21 Jun â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2 July 11am-3pm Mon-Sat

Opening Friday 18th June 6pm

www.architecture.rmit.edu.au



RMIT Architecture Design Thesis Major Project Catalogue, Semester 1, 2010