Master of Architecture
Semester 1, 2017

Studio leader(s)

c.1200 "strong-willed," from will (n.) + -fut. Willfully is late Old English wilfullice "of one's own free will, voluntarily;" bad sense of "on purpose" is attested from late 14c. Willful means "deliberate" or "stubborn." While being full of will, or determination, doesn't necessarily seem like a bad thing, the word willful is negative in meaning.

Architecture is the direction of one's professional judgement - made up also, one might argue, of one's personal judgement - to appreciate a projects conflicting demands and work productively with these, in meeting responsibilities, while finding a rightness of fit between them.

Peter Rice, a renown structural engineer no longer with us, argued that the supposed rationality of a project's genesis is simply the wilfulness of the individual architect - falling back on their standard repertoire, personal values and problem solving technique to create a design (1).

We might agree that a strong degree of wilfulness is required to generate and keep project ambitions on track. However what distinguishes wilfulness from stubbornness? The resolution of conflict can lead to a design opportunity.

This studio will interrogate these kinds of questions by engaging with various constraints - regulatory, existing conditions, neighbourly demands, - to explore a productive balance between the wilful and the negotiated in urban placemaking. Our often unconscious reasons for our choices, the resulting conflicts and the processes towards resolving these will be examined during the studio process in order to recognise the organization and mediation required to establish, rank and implement a series of design intents.

An awareness of the varied consequences of 'wilful' decision making is an integral part of ethical practice. In 'Architecture Depends', Till propositions that ethical practice means "To assume responsibility for the other" (2). The other being "all the people whose lives will be affected by the construction of a building and its subsequent occupation. The environment is included in this understanding of other. Because the other is diverse and unpredictable an ethical stance must work with, assimilate and comprehend this difference rather than resist or supress it" (3).

New Urban Professionals (NUPs) will work in pairs (2 or 3 students depending on numbers) to develop an architecture project with in a new masterplan for the old Cartlon United Brewery's (CUB) site at the North end of the Swanston Street axis. NUP's will research relevant history of the city and the site heritage overlay,and test the various past and current planning rules. You will understand the reasoning and social evolution behind the planning rules for the site. Students will be given a developer brief (hopefully from Grocon) to test a range of planning constraints. The project will involve analysis of popular urban places and some site measures of existing context to reinforce an understanding of the anthropomorphic. NUPs will construct a 1:100 card model of the existing precinct context and working in groups will observe and analyse the context, critique the existing site solutions, diagram, propose and agree a masterplan and ground plan with new planning rules for the block. NUPs will work in pairs to curate authentic precedents, speculate on future programme, explain their relevance and provide a resolved design presented in plans, section with a 1:100 model. Each building will have to negotiate with their immediate neighbours within the larger whole. NUPs will be graded on their architecture project by a jury of OUPs, and as we all are, by the aggregate quality (shown by the new 1:100 models) of the whole CUB site.

Studio Time: Semester One 2017, 10am-4pm Friday (generally)

Combined Group: Masterplan with articulated ground plan. New group agreed planning / development rules used to generate card models for the whole CUB site.

Smaller Group (2-3): diagrams, architecture plans, sections and about 6 photoshopped images of the model showing the organisational elegance, beauty and utility of a piece of the masterplan.

Refs: (1) Peter Rice, 'An Engineer Imagines'. (2) Zygmunt Bauman, via Jeremy Till's 'Architecture Depends'. (3) Boyd Series Ethics talks - Kerstin Thompson