Skin and bones

Bachelor of Architectural Design
Semester 1, 2020

Studio leader(s)

  • Tobias Horrocks

Dissecting the mechanics of expression

In the first few weeks of this studio you will design a pavilion that defines your ‘tectonic manifesto’ - your position on the optimum relationship of form to structure, surface to frame. You will read and discuss brief theoretical texts on tectonics as background research. The pavilion will be physically modelled, to a high degree of detail, with  support and advice from a professional structural engineer. The rest of the semester will be dedicated to the design of a Museum of the City of Melbourne, on a site to the east of Federation Square. The collection on display will be the artefacts currently at the Melbourne Museum that pertain to Melbourne’s history.

When designing an institution representing Melbourne, you will need to address  concepts of representation and identity, of the city and of the community. You will also be reading and discussing theoretical texts on relationships between expression and structure. We will look at precedent case studies for both the museum and the pavilion, including the chance to visit the current MPavilion by Glen Murcutt and the NGV Commission pavilion by Edition Office.

Two physical models will be required of the museum project - one of the overall form, and one of just the structural skeleton. You will also be drawing construction details. The professional engineer will again be assisting this stage.

The structural model will be used in a brief design esquisse where you will take a fellow student’s structural design model and apply your ‘skin’, according to the tectonic rules you set up in the pavilion design. How will your surface and expressive methods respond to this pre-existing frame? Will you override the previous architect’s form, or enhance it? This was the circumstance facing DCM when they designed the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on the site of the partially constructed concrete ‘bones’ of Daryl Jackson’s Museum of Victoria, following a change of government.