Beyond the Mall

Master of Architecture
Semester 1, 2021

Studio leader(s)

  • Katherine Sundermann
  • William Priestley

I am often called the father of the shopping mall. I would like to take this opportunity to disclaim paternity once and for all. I refuse to pay alimony to those bastard developments. They destroyed our cities.

Victor Gruen

Beyond the mall

What is the future of the shopping centre in the post-COVID world? With conventional retail in steady decline, shopping centres are beginning to be dramatically reconceptualised into mixed-use ‘living centres’ complete with co-working hubs, build-to-rent housing, entertainment and cultural destinations. Can these monofunctional car dominated edifices become a spontaneous city - shaped by its users, adaptable and resilient, never complete and capable of ‘growing’ with the city?

The future of Geelong

This studio will seek to explore these questions with a real-world focus on two sites within central Geelong - Market Square and Westfield. These sites are currently being reviewed for redevelopment potential and offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future of central Geelong. This studio will introduce students directly to the key industry groups and stakeholders such as DELWP, City of Greater Geelong, Lendlease and Scentre (owners of Westfield) to understand the opportunities and challenges as well as an international field of architectural firms including MGS Architects (VIC), SITELAB (USA), and BURA (Netherlands) to gain a holistic understanding of best-practice shopping centre and urban regeneration projects.

Designing at varying scales and over time

Students will be expected to design at multiple scales throughout the semester capturing an understanding of contemporary urban issues affecting the region down to the architectural response of the individual building. Students will work in groups to propose a vision and urban framework for this redeveloped precinct of Geelong that responds to real world needs of the city before further refining their work individually in the second half of the semester into one or more architectural interventions within the precinct.

This Studio will include excursions to exemplar projects in Melbourne and Geelong.