Testing Grounds

Bachelor of Architectural Design
Semester 2, 2017

Studio leader(s)

  • Ella Gauci-Seddon
  • Joseph Gauci-Seddon

This studio aims to develop a methodology of understanding for the interpretation of uncertain landscape conditions. From flora and fauna, to ground and atmospheres, and historical processes, the site portrait generated through the studio will be a multilayered operational tool. While the final architectural proposition manifests as a site device in the form of an interpretive centre, it's purpose is to test hypotheses and manifest the overall method of interpretation.

Testing Grounds will require students to engage in multiple, rigorous, on-site explorations and testings. Current methods of understanding site (site analysis) are often over simplified, undervalued (Corner, 1999) and used as a way of justifying a predetermined perception. Testing Grounds will investigate the hypothesis that by employing rigorous and specific techniques it is possible not to be restricted by preconceptions, instead revealing readings of the site that would otherwise remain hidden.

Through understandings of site developed through intuitive investigations, students will create instruments for testing and interpreting site conditions. Throughout the semester, these instruments will be developed and scaled up ultimately manifesting in the final studio proposition, an interpretive center. While this is the final propositional component, the primary aim is to develop a new methodology for reading and interpreting site. Findings from each stage of the semester will help to establish a feedback loop enabling a dynamic and active process.

The site is an accessible inner-urban green corridor located along the Merri Creek. It is home to the contrasting ecologies of opportunistic weed communities and a highly regulated revegetation program. Importantly the site is a place of significance for the Wurundjeri people. Since colonisation, the site has had a complex history as a quarry, a landfill site and subsequently an urban park.

1. A Series of Observational Instruments and Operational Devices
Bridging the empirical, phenomenological and subjective, these instruments will reveal, amplify and examine the existing site conditions. Furthermore, devices will alter, adapt and manipulate these conditions.

2. Proposition for Centre for Interpretation
A constructed environment for the observation, examination and interpretation of specific site conditions.

3. Exhibition of Critical Observation
A culmination of different techniques and lenses for examining site. A variety of observational and representational tools will be presented in a class exhibition.

monday 1330 // thursday 1800