Broken Water

Master of Architecture
Semester 1, 2022

Studio leader(s)

  • Georgia Nowak

In a time where our landscape and environment is at threat we must reconsider existing modes of practice, living, building and settling. The studio asks, what sorts of equilibrium can be established between civilisations and the environment in light of the current environmental disharmony that pervades us, and what role can architects play in this time? What are the futures of our landscapes, are they habitable and what types of uses emerge? The setting for the semester is the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) and the provocation is water security. The MDB is victim to decades of agricultural and farming production, consuming huge portions of land through colonisation and into today’s current climate. These vast farming practices (cotton / almonds) have relied on consistent high level water flow that is now stripping the environment bare. Water is becoming scarcer and more political, with the human hand carving dams, reservoirs and weirs to sculpt these productive landscapes. How can we redefine productivity for ecological survival?

The studio will begin by unpacking the Anthropocene and the need for architecture within these broad conversations. We will then look at how water underpins all human, animal and environmental survival. Zooming into the MDB we will start to investigate the national plan and begin to interrogate water use, consumption and trade. We will seek to disturb the existing networks through designed innovative solutions of various scale. The landscapes on earth are remarkably linked to patterns of human life and we must interrogate our own belief systems in order to dislocate the current and problematic web.

“The anthropocene marks severe discontinuities; what comes after will not be like what came before. I think our job is to make the anthropocene as short/thin as possible and to cultivate with each other in every way imaginable epochs to come that can replenish refuge.” – Donna Haraway