Future scenarios for Monash
“Architecture is not about the conditions of design, but about the design of conditions.” – Tschumi, B. Advertisements for Architecture, 1976-1977
Monash is on the brink of immense urban change, yet the quality and impact of that change has received very little design attention. This studio aims to interrogate the future form of the city emerging in around Clayton campus by integrating design operations at urban, precinct and architectural scales.
Outside Melbourne’s CBD, the Monash National Employment and Innovation Cluster (NEIC) represents the city’s largest employment hub. Despite this, the area has largely retained its post-war suburban fabric, interrupted by ad-hoc intensification. The impending delivery of the new Heart Hospital, the first stage of the Suburban Rail Loop and the development of a global Technology Precinct represent an acute and unprecedented injection of infrastructure and investment. Rather than continue to intensify the suburbs in a piecemeal way, the Monash NEIC presents an opportunity for a new approach to city-making – through design.
Multi-scalar design opportunities
The NEIC (assembly) is an equivalent size of many European and Asian cities, representing a huge departure form the activity centre (nodal) and transport corridor (linear) models that have underpinned Melbourne’s urban development for more than 70 years. The rail loop has potential to reposition the role of Monash in the broader metropolis. Combined with the re-orientation of the University towards the new station in the north, as well as the emergence of technology-enabled knowledge industries, there is potential to redefine existing urban edge conditions and develop new precincts across the NEIC. As the underlying spatial structure of Monash transforms, opportunities also exist to re-wild and re-imagine our public realm networks. Finally, new hybrid architectural typologies will be needed to accommodate the alternative live-work patterns cemented through the pandemic.
We invite you to challenge the identity and ambition for Melbourne’s suburbs through your design experiments. Drawing and project case studies from the paired studies unit will support your multi-scalar design investigations, starting with the redefinition of Melbourne’s historical 1 x 3 Mile Grid. You will initially work in teams to explore new urban structures and identify precinct-scaled design opportunities in Monash. Building on your group’s urban propositions, you will then individually select a site and develop your own design brief for detailed architectural development in the second half of semester.