VERTICALISING

Master of Architecture
Semester 1, 2020

Studio leader(s)

  • Isabel Lasala

High rise schools… a new architectural type?

STUDENT IDEAS COMPETITION - Australian Institute of Architects

The exponential growth that is currently undergoing in Australia's major cities has brought significant changes in urban programs and activities. Primary and secondary schools don’t escape this situation.

As the key buildings in the fabric of most communities, schools are experiencing significant change, in particular as the population is growing at speed, and the land available is scarce and expensive.

As a way to deal with this new condition, the Australian Government has started to “think about education vertically." This translates into seven vertical schools currently being built, all in the most populated areas of our major cities.

This situation presents us with an opportunity to explore new forms of spatial organisation, and to propose different formal and spatial configurations that might eventuate into a new type of building.

This studio thus seeks to explore these new design opportunities, and provide students with the possibility to re-think primary and secondary schools.

A key challenge to address is to re-organise a program that normally requires a considerable plan size, through the following questions:

Could the iconic school courtyard be verticalised?
Given this new vertical condition, we will have to consider the image of the school in an urban situation?

Students will have the opportunity to formulate their own conceptualization of what a contemporary vertical school might be, and in particular challenging the boundaries between interior and exterior space.

The studio also asks students to implement a specific design strategy, based on challenging the disciplinary boundaries that exist between architecture and landscape architecture, through the exploration of the untapped relationships that exist between these two apparently different disciplines.

The intention is to offer students the opportunity to create the singular spatial experiences and atmospheres that can be produced by the ambiguous spatiality that emerges from their combination.

The project’s site will be located in one of Melbourne’s inner suburbs, surrounded by mix-use and different density buildings.

To summarise, in this studio, students will be presented with the opportunity of exploring the potential relationships that might exist between architecture and landscape architecture; and between interior and exterior space while reflecting on a site-oriented project that acknowledges the importance of redefining existing programs through strategies that seek to emphasize the importance of public buildings in the city.

Important dates

  • February 24th – COMPETITION ANNOUNCEMENT
  • March 11th – WEEK 1: FIRST STUDIO SESSION (online)
  • May 27th – WEEK 11: PENULTIMATE REVIEW
  • June 3rd – WEEK 12: FINAL STUDIO SESSION
  • June 15th – COMPETITION SUBMISSION
  • August TBC – PUBLIC FORUM, PRESENTATION OF SCHEMES, AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS.